The AEGIS Research Network focuses on cultural responses to global climate change, the poetics of place, and relations between human and nonhuman animals through interdisciplinary research.

Established at RMIT University in 2006, AEGIS includes researchers from other universities and independent scholars responding to two broad fields of enquiry: the arts and environmental humanities, and the natural sciences.

One of the central aims of the network is to facilitate cultural practices engaging with ecological issues: from current urban environmental politics, cultural geography and the social construction of space, to the cultural communication of science; extinction studies; biosemiotics and multi-species ethnographies. 
AEGIS also investigates how environmental history, Traditional Knowledge Systems and other histories of the longue durée bear on the affective connections between human and nonhuman ecologies.

As such, AEGIS enables interdisciplinary dialogues on how cultural practices might contribute to knowledge of nonhuman species and contested global ecologies of cities, agricultural domains, oceans, forests, deserts, mountainous regions and other cold climates.

AEGIS is based in the School of Art at RMIT University.


EXHIBITION: Fish wife (marrying the Baltic Sea)

30 April - 16 May, Tinning Street Presents
Exhibition details

Fish wife reflects the uncertainty of my ancestry and its entanglement with the ecology of the Baltic Sea. This work started in Lithuania, where I dyed and made a wedding dress and married the sea.

Fish wife is the marriage house. A ceremonial structure inspired by an abandoned listening tower near the Lithuanian/Russian coastal border on the Curonian Spit. The bones of my wedding house are iron.

Alongside the house are shrouds made of hand-dyed natural textiles. The symbols and colours reflect several elements. Yellows and triangular shapes are amber. This washes up on the Baltic shoreline – fossilised tree resin from forests that stood during the Eocene. Dusty pinks and the curve are the dunes along the Spit at sunset. A circle is a ring. Blue and greys and the straight line are the sea and its calm horizon.

Image: Marlaina Read, My house was swept away by the sea, 2019, Fabric, natural dyes, etching, performance, photography.

EXHIBITION: Sing - Debbie Symons

13 March – 9 May, Bayside Gallery, Brighton
Exhibition details

A group of hanging woven nests
Incorporating 100 handwoven pendant nests containing individual speakers emitting bird calls, Sing evokes the delicate and intricate connections found in remaining ‘wild’ rainforest environments. 

Debbie Symons is a multi-disciplinary artist who uses a range of mediums to communicate central themes in her work, including the complex relationship between humans, animals and the natural environment. This exhibition follows on from an influential art residency which Symons undertook in 2018 in one of the last remaining ‘wild’ spaces in the Amazon, Brazil.  

This project is supported by the Copyright Agency’s Cultural Fund.

EXHIBITION: The smallest measure - Jessie Boylan

19 March – 3 April, Castlemaine Goods Shed, Castlemaine State Festival
Exhibition details

Slow emergencies are forms of harm and damage that are not acute but occur gradually and imperceptibly to most of us — like climate change, environmental pollution and radiation. Yet despite remaining largely unseen over time, the effects of slow emergencies are palpable, their relative invisibility rendering the harm they wreak all the more entrenched and difficult to address. How can we recognise and respond to the slow emergencies that are threatening life on earth? In The smallest measure, Jessie Boylan proposes that we stop to deeply honour that element that we rarely see and take almost entirely for granted: air.

This project is supported by the Australia Council for the Arts, Regional Arts Victoria, La Trobe University through the Care Project, and RMIT University School of Art.  

Sound design and composition by Linda Dement, Genevieve Fry & Jessie Boylan.