Event: Heeding the Messenger on November 6, 2020

The Jackman Humanities Institute Program for the Arts presents:

Heeding the Messenger

Songbirds and the Scale of Climate Change

Friday, 6 November 2020

The Jackman Humanities Institute Program for the Arts is pleased to present Heeding the Messenger: Songbirds and the Scale of Climate Change in cooperation with the IHPST, Victoria University, and Cinema Studies Institute.

Heeding the Messenger is a one-day interdisciplinary event inspired by, and culminating in, a screening and round table discussion of Toronto film-maker Su Rynard’s 2015 documentary film The Messenger. Echoing the mythical role of birds as divine messengers, the film sets out to discover what we should learn from the recent and rapid decline of migrating songbirds around the globe. In concert with scientists, naturalists, activists, museum curators and concerned citizens, Rynard follows the migration routes of songbirds to critical points of observation–from downtown Toronto to deforested Costa Rica, drought-ridden Turkey, and Manhattan’s 9/11 memorial–seeking insight into the ecological and environmental causes and consequences of songbirds’ decline.

Heeding the Messenger brings together STS and sound studies scholars, participants in Rynard’s film, and the director herself to explore the themes and issues raised in the film and by the plight of songbirds in general. Engaging local and global perspectives, speakers and participants will speak to multiple aspects of contemporary climate change, offering a multivocal and multifaceted account of affective and ecological dimensions of the Anthropocene.


Birds in Flight

10:15  Welcome

Iris Montero (Brown University)

      Into the Archive of Trans-species Migration in Greater Mexico

Kristoffer Whitney (Rochester Institute of Technology)

      Migratory Birds, Shifting Habitats, and the “Lost” Science of Phenology

Rachel Mundy (Rutgers University)

      Song at the End of Modernity 

12:00 Lunch Break

The Messenger

13:00   Screening of The Messenger, a documentary by Su Rynard

15:15   Roundtable Discussion

      Su Rynard (Film Director)  / Bill Evans (Old Bird, Inc.)  / Michael Mesure (FLAP) /

      Chris Guglielmo (Western University)  / Alejandra Martínez-Salinas (CATIE) /

Çağan H. Şekercioğlu (University of Utah)

      Bridget J. Stutchbury (York University)

17:30   Conclusion

All events are free and everyone is welcome.

Please register here: https://www.eventbrite.ca/e/heeding-the-messenger-songbirds-and-the-scal…

to receive the link to the online event and documentary screening


Event organized by Lucia Dacome, Angelica Fenner and Rebecca J.H. Woods in collaboration with Oana Baboi and Sarah Qidwai.

Lucia Dacome is an Associate Professor and Pauline M.H. Mazumdar Chair in the History of Medicine in the IHPST. Angelica Fenner is an Associate Professor in the Cinema Studies Institute at Innis College and in the German Department of St. Michael’s College. Rebecca J.H. Woods is an Assistant Professor in the Department of History and in the IHPST.