The Sci-Files – 01/17/2021 – Kelsey Merreck Wagner – Elephantine in the Anthropocene

Chelsie Boodoo and Daniel Puentes

Kelsey Merreck Wagner with an elephant
Kelsey Merreck Wagner with an Elephant

On this week’s The Sci-Files, your hosts Chelsie and Danny interview Kelsey Merreck Wagner. Wagner is a printmaker/painter/textile artist, environmental activist, and second-year Ph.D. Anthropology student with certifications/specializations in Gender, Justice and Environmental Change, Human-Animal Studies, and Community Engagement. Wagner has her B.A. in Studio Arts from Western Michigan University (2013) and her M.A in Appalachian Studies: Sustainability (2017). Her research focuses on human-elephant conflict and elephant ecotourism in Southeast Asia and incorporates community-based art to raise awareness, spark discussion, build capacity, and reimagine a more socially and environmentally just future for all species on the planet. Wagner’s research is insistent upon participatory processes that include community members and marginalized voices, respect for humans, animals, and the environment, and radical creativity to solve problems. She has worked around the world in various community arts and education contexts, most recently in Siem Reap, Cambodia at Fauna in Focus’ Nature Discovery Center, where she worked as the exhibitions coordinator, designing and creating exhibits, activities, and text for their natural history museum. She also makes her own environmental art that draws on anthropological theory on capitalism, species extinction, and human-environment relationships, and has exhibits about human-elephant relationships, bats, and plastic consumption/reduction. Wagner looks forward to getting back to Southeast Asia to see more elephants and engage in further community-based arts and environmental work.

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Kelsey’s website

Current art project with plastic

Upside Down/Downside Up

Plastic Project

Tree of Life

Elephantine in the Anthropocene

From Bangkok to Boone

Collective Vigilance: Speaking for the New River