Enhancing eco-literacy through temporary event space: an evaluation on TLP ability to transfer ecological knowledge to its users.

This research project forms part of a series of subprojects associated with The Living Pavilion, a temporary festival that aims to illuminate Indigenous and ecological knowledge of past and present, foster collaboration across disciplines, and share and celebrate the uniqueness and potential of ‘place’.

Research team

Zena Cumpston
Kirsten Parris

Project Objective

This project aims to evaluate how The Living Pavilion contributes to the transfer of ecological knowledge and understanding of urban ecological systems to students and the broader community.

Key research questions

  • Did the re-established endemic species on the site inform understandings of Melbourne’s ecology (and if so, how)?
  • How did the invocation/representation of the hidden stream increase awareness of the ecology of the site?
  • How can the revival of endemic species deepen and promote people’s understandings of place and sense of belonging?


The construction of cities changes ecological systems, disrupts ecological processes and transforms landscapes. Though urban development has significant impacts on biodiversity, cities remain important places for conservation and for human-nature connection. This sub-project will explore how The Living Pavilion project has increased understanding of the ecology of the site and hence, a sense of connectedness to place. The research method will consider the construction of the pavilion and associated spaces, their existence and the programs and performances they will host.

Why is this research important?

Improved understanding of the ecology of cities will help people to recognise and value our native biodiversity. This will create a greater appreciation for the resources that plants, animals and fungi require to thrive in altered landscapes. It will also help people forge a stronger connection to nature in the city, which may contribute mental and physical health benefits.