Future Animals: Science, Art & Imagination: Dr. Jacqui Mulville at TEDxCardiff 2012
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An early interest in zoology combined with exposure to the thrill of archaeological discovery led Jacqui into the world of zooarchaeology -- the study of human:animal interactions in the past. The result was a career in archaeology that has spread to work on material throughout Britain and across time. Now a Senior Lecturer at Cardiff University she leads the Cardiff Osteological Research Group and is most famous for discovering the first 'Royal Corgi'. Outside of the lab Jacqui has run a number of fieldwork projects with a particular focus on the archaeology of the British islands (the Outer Hebrides and the Isles of Scilly), and in particular the human response to these often challenging environments.
Archaeology encompasses the entirety of human life and as such provides a focus for broader discussions on the human condition. Public outreach has been a focus of archaeological excavations for some time but Jacqui is committed to providing both physical and intellectual access to the entire range of archaeological activity, from scienctific analysis to social theory. To do this she has created a series of events that speak to different audience groups.
Future Animals: friend or food?
Jacqui led the project: Future Animals: friend or food? in 2010, offering young people an insight into and an exploration of artificial selection -- a key aspect of Charles Darwin's research into the origin of species by natural selection. The project was a creative engagement event that used the archaeology of domestic dog to encourage broader debate and discussion on the place of humans and animals in the modern world.
Based on their evolutionary investigations the group produced with their own designs for the animals of the future, aided by archaeologists and scientists from the University and by award-winning artist Paul Evans. In addition to offering hands-on creative challenges and experience, the project offered scope for ethical debate about our past, present and future relationship with animals -- is it right, for example, for us to change the way that animals look and behave, just so that we can eat well or have a cute and cuddly companion?
The project is an initiative between the Schools of History and Archaeology and Biosciences along with external partners Amgueddfa Cymru -- National Museum Wales, Techniquest, and artist Paul Evans
Building on this success Jacqui has developed Guerilla Archaeology, a collective that delivers outreach and engagement events to new audiences, for example at music festivals, and engages audiences through interactive challenges.
Back to the Future
Human and animals have walked the earth together for millions of years. In response to climatic and social changes our relationship over time has evolved from minimal intervention to complete control, from wild and hunted to domesticated and farmed. The developments in our relationship are written in the bodies of our four legged friends and can be traced within single species from the wild wolf to the handbag Chihuahua, from the mighty aurochs to the domestic cow and the wild boar to the miniature pig.
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