The Rescue Project

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Copyright: Miller, Gretchen
What is the experience of being a rescuer of damaged landscapes and broken creatures, at a time of environmental crisis in Australia? How do individuals and grassroots communities go about small acts of rescue, and how do they maintain the courage to do this work? The Rescue Project is practice-based research. It includes a public digital storytelling site of 51 text-based rescuer story contributions, alongside a podcast of four episodes, plus an exegesis providing critical reflection and analysis of the creative practice and the resultant thematic threads. The digital site was constructed in partnership with the non-government, volunteer-based, land regeneration organisation Landcare Australia. This practice and exegesis contribute new thinking to the scholarship of environmental communication by considering the meaning of rescue, providing insights into the affectual themes of acts of rescue, articulating rescue relations, and introducing and developing several key terms: ecosonics, homeground, and citizen storytelling. The themes which emerge from this project reveal the emotional affects and effects of undertaking rescues, and suggest rescues take place within three related and iterative overarching themes. Firstly, the theme of humility that is required to begin an act of rescue. Secondly, the theme of attunement that builds resonances with both sentient figures and non-sentient features of homegrounds. Finally, the theme of courage to undertake rescue activities, and courage’s iterative outcome, encouragement. Further, this practice and exegesis contribute to environmental communication through foregrounding listening and hearing, the spoken word, community storytelling, and the ecosonics of the more-than-human world. In giving space to the methodological processes of my creative practice, this exegesis offers environmental communication practitioners new ways to go about their work. It also responds to current calls within this scholarship for a listening modality: for too long we have been deaf to the sounds of the more-than-human world. The Rescue Project is a demonstration of how we might humbly hear these worlds speak. To explore the digital space, please visit:
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PhD Doctorate
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