Whale songlines: past, present and future

A unique art/science collaboration that aims to build awareness of the effects of climate change on Sea Country in Australia, Antarctica, the Pacific and beyond.

Whales are a key indicator for the health of our oceans and, like the canary in the coalmine, their health reflects the future of the planet. For thousands of years, First Nations people have recorded whale knowledge in stories, art and music, creating a deep time archive of human survival through previous climatic upheaval. First Nations knowledge systems are increasingly recognised as a key tool in the response to the global climate emergency, offering culturally informed approaches for the protection of Sea Country in a post-Anthropocene world.

Bringing together First Nations cultural knowledge, whale research and extended reality (XR) technologies, Whale Songlines explores the crucial role of whales in planetary survival and celebrates their ancestral kinship connections to humans through art and science, stories and song.

The team 

  • Guy Freer (ASSH)
  • Margo Neale (Community Partner)
  • Matt Poll (Community Partner)
  • Marie Geissler (ASSH)
  • Catherine Moyle (WIC)
  • Emily Yap (EIS)
  • Katharina Peters (SMAH)
  • Barbara Bollard (SMAH)
  • Yang-Wai Chow (EIS)
  • Nathan Wright (Centre of Excellence for Australian Biodiversity and Heritage CABAH)
  • Peter Hewitt