Listening for Coastal Futures

The Conservatory conducts arts and humanities research with coastal sciences in order to deepen possibilities of cultural engagement with dynamics of coastal change. Working with the Long-Term Ecological Research project at UVA’s Coastal Research Center, the Conservatory develops complementary lines of inquiry from arts and humanities and then interleafs those knowledges with sciences through practices and events that stimulate integrative understandings of environmental change.

Why call our project a Conservatory?

Sharing a semantic root with “conservation,” a conservatory usually means a school of music or a greenhouse. We think we need a new kind of conservatory that draws on all three meanings: a school of music that teaches participants how to listen to and compose with the living world, a school of science that connects conservation with culture, and a school of living that cultivates a wide range of cultural capacities to respond to changing Earth.


What does it mean to listen for coastal futures?

Listening is a form of inquiry that can be ecologically immersive and epistemically integrative. The Conservatory organizes collaborative inquiry around listening in two basic ways: is is an embodied exercise in which all our researchers participate and also a guiding metaphor for integrating multiple ways of knowing the changing coast.