Communicating with Plants: Exploring how First Nations perspectives intersect with futuristic biotechnologies

To celebrate National Science Week, join Henrietta Baird (Kuku Yalanji/Yidinji), Carriageworks First Nations Fellow and Sakkie Pretorius, Professor of Biotechnology for a lively and imaginative discussion on why we should listen to plants, how First Nations cultural practices encourage deep listening to Country and whether futuristic biotechnologies can help humans ‘communicate’ with our leafy friends.

This is a free event.

Wed, 17 Aug, 5:30pm
Track 12, Carriageworks

Henrietta Baird is a multi-award-winning interdisciplinary artist and Kuku Yalanji woman from Far North Queensland. She is the inaugural recipient of the First Nations Fellowship at Carriageworks where she is developing Plant a Promise, which considers both Western scientific studies and First Nation’s cultural perspectives and is inspired by the devastating 2019/2020 bushfires. Henrietta’s choreography and dance is informed by the process of collecting, preparing, and applying traditional plants to make medicine.

Sakkie Pretorius is internationally recognised as a pioneer in molecular microbiology, biotechnology and translating research outcomes into innovative industry applications. He is obsessed with yeast and its fermentation capabilities, even bringing the international Yeast 2.0 project to Macquarie University in 2014. The ground-breaking project involves creating the world’s first-ever synthetic complex organism and will open the door to more eco-friendly biofuel production and better targeted medication.

The panel will be moderated by Co-founder and Editor of SYNTHESIS magazine, Jestin George.

Presented in collaboration with ARC Centre of Excellence in Synthetic Biology.