Me (centre) with other Experimental Geographers (from left) Rui Chaves, Adeola Enigbokan and Bradley Garrett at the workshop "Experimenting with Geography", Edinburgh 2010. Photo © Brian Rosa

My past five years of research – in which time I completed a Masters and PhD at the University of Glasgow funded by the Arts and Humanities Research Council – were dedicated to the exploration of human and animal lives connected through the cultural practice of taxidermy.

My PhD project critically examined the craft worlds and knowledge-practices of taxidermists, past and present, and their material culture of animal remains.  To date, I have published on this research in academic journals and co-curated taxidermy artworks exhibitions at the Hunterian Museum, University of Glasgow, and most recently at the FAB Gallery, University of Alberta.

Part of the goal of my research is to reassert the value of taxidermy specimens and collections through collaborative exchange with museum practitioners and contemporary artists. The exhibitions Blue Antelope (2006) Out of Time (2007) and Fashioning Feathers (2011) were the practical outcomes of different investigations by geographers and artists into how taxidermy and zoological collections can be utilized to tell of the entwined histories of humans and animals. 

I am currently Postdoctoral Fellow at the City-Region Studies Centre, University of Alberta working on a SSHRC project to “Reimagine the Mini-Mall”. As part of this research project I am curating Strip Appeal an ideas design competition, and traveling exhibit, which intends to stimulate and showcase creative design proposals for the adaptive reuse of small-scale strip-malls.

NewsFashioning Feathers, which explored the post-natural histories of birds killed for the plumage trade, is going on tour in 2012 and opens at the Royal Alberta Museum in February.

To contact me please email:

5 Responses to Bio

  1. Max Ritts says:

    Hi Merle,

    I really dig your blog. I am part of something similar on the sound-mapping front here in Canada (www. Please let me know if you plan to speak at the AAG this April. It would be great to get in touch or at least attend your talk.

    • Merle says:

      Hi Max,

      great to hear from you. I checked out your urban sound project and it’s really great to connect with other experimental canadian researchers and research projects.

      Unfortunately I can’t make it to the AAG this year but I will be contributing to the ‘Geographer-artist’ session virtually by launching my online exhibition that is accompanying the “Fashioning Feathers” exhibition I am presently curating (see collaborative/curatorial for details). I plan to upload a talk onto the website to co-inside both with the launch and the AAG session. Will you be talking in that session?

      I am definitely attending this years RGS-IBG annual conference this year so perhaps our paths will cross there??

      Good to hear from you!


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  3. mary says:

    Just found your site through global tags. Wish I had seen it before. Many ideas here that are of interest to my own research and practice. I recently completed a masters degree in design that visually investigated a neighbourhood through geography and mapping. Always interested in new interpretations of geography and art.

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