Dark Botany: The Herbarium Tales

edited by Prudence Gibson, Sigi Jöttkandt, Marie Sierra and Anna Westbrook

  • Published: forthcoming
  • ISBN: 978-1-78542-136-5
  • PDF ISBN: 978-1-78542-135-8


Climate change has affected herbaria around the world due to damage to biodiversity, habitats, evolution, seed survival and bushfire tolerance. It has also changed the way humans approach and relate with plants. This has resulted in both bad and good outcomes. Problems include poaching, over-consumption, biosecurity and other instrumentalist relations. But these issues are countered by exciting developments in genetic science, seed care and restoration. The Herbarium Tales Seedbook offers critical new perspectives on how plant science and plant information affects all of us.

With contributions by Giovanni Aloi, Matthew Beach, Tamryn Bennett, Edward Colless, Nicholas Koenig, Chloe Dechery, Prudence Gibson, Ryan Gordon, Anna Lawrence, Verena Kuni, Sigi Jöttkandt, Rebecca Mayo, Vanessa Lemm, Anna Perdibon, Aunty Deirdre Martin, Anna Raupach, Georgina Reid, Heather Rogers, Betty Russ, Erica Seccombe, Marie Sierra, Christina Stadlbauer, Anna-Sophie Springer, Bart Vandeput, Juliann Vitulle, Anna Westbrook, Maya Martin-Westheimer and others.

Dark Botany: The Herbarium Tales is an OHP Labs Seedbook. More at The Herbarium Tales

Editor Bios

Prudence Gibson is author of The Plant Contract (2028), The Pharmacy of Plants: Janet Laurence (2015) and The Plant Thieves: Secrets of the Herbarium (2023) in addition to trade books, essays and peer-review papers. All her work is informed by theoretical concepts of plant studies, eco-feminism, sustainable art+design and post-human theory. Her work extends to scripting and producing video art, narrative projects and curatorial approaches to plants inspired by new aesthetics and new plant science. She is Lead CI on the 2020-23 ARC Linkage grant Exploring the cultural value of Sydney’s Royal Botanic Gardens Herbarium collection using an environmental aesthetic. In this role she has commissioned artists, poets, sound designers and micro-fiction writers to collaborate with her and with expert scientists at the Royal Botanic Gardens, in order to revalue their collections.

Sigi Jöttkandt works at the intersection of literature and psychoanalysis. She is Associate Professor of English at the University of New South Wales, and co-founding Director of Open Humanities Press. The author of Acting Beautifully: Henry James and the Ethical Aesthetic (2005), and First Love: A Phenomenology of the One (2010), and The Nabokov Effect (2024) she also edits S Journal of the Circle for Lacanian Ideology Critique. See http://lineofbeauty.org/.

Marie Sierra is the Dean of the Faculty of Fine Arts and Music at The University of Melbourne. She has a 30-year career in the arts, specialising in fine art. Her research, which takes the form of non-traditional research outcomes through exhibitions and traditional research outputs such as academic journal articles and book chapters, explores the intersection of art and nature, the agency of art, and ethics in the creative arts. More at http://www.mariesierra.com/.

Anna Westbrook is an interdisciplinary queer feminist storyteller, critic, creative producer, poet, and freelance educator. Her debut, Dark Fires Shall Burn (Scribe; 2016), is a literary crime novel exploring the impact of the real-life unsolved murder of a young girl in Newtown in 1946. She has been shortlisted for The Australian/Vogel’s Literary Award and received an Australian Society of Authors’ Mentorship Award. Anna has been anthologized in Herding Kites (Affirm Press) and online in The Disappearing (Red Room Poetry), and published in harlequin creature (USA), The Bastille (France), Voiceworks, Slit, Scum, Cuttings, Pony, and WQ (Australia). More at http://www.annawestbrook.com.au/.