Prudence Gibson

Prudence Gibson

Dr. Prudence Gibson is an academic at the University of NSW, Sydney, Australia. Within her field of critical plant studies, she is the author of such monographs as The Plant Contract (2018) and The Pharmacy of Plants (2015), which are informed by eco-feminism and post-human theory. She is lead investigator on a 2020–23 grant for the project Exploring the Cultural Value of Sydney’s Royal Botanic Gardens Herbarium. In this role, she has commissioned artists, poets, sound designers and micro-fiction writers to collaborate with her. Gibson is best known for weaving fictional threads into her scholarly publications.

Being with plants conference talk May 2021

Essay in Sydney Review of Books July 2021

Plants + People talk for State Library of Queensland and The Conversation July 2021

Partner Film with Royal Botanic Gardens Herbarium


Keynote during the symposium:

Tipping the Fictive Point.

Fabulation is an eco-political act, a way to create new imaginative futures. Stories, films and artworks can mediate difficult social and environmental issues. There is something eerie and disturbing at the point where non-fiction and fiction collide. This point can tip our understandings into the past, the present or the future. Through fictive practices—cli-fi, theory-fiction, eco-fiction, phyto-futures and ficto-criticism—bad human habits can be disrupted and disordered. Fabulation, in an epoch of extinction and climate disaster, naturally leads us to the vegetal sphere where time and relations are already slower and deeper. Phyto-love. Phyto-care. Phyto-writing. This talk proposes that the best way to avoid dangerous tipping points is through fabulist thinking and plant-like collaboration. It engages with vegetal gestures, through speculative (Morton), eco-feminist (Sandilands) and non-mastery (Singh) theories of ecology and plant studies. The study of plants also clears a natural path for future speculative models of researching, writing and creating art. The synchronicity and mutualism of plants and humans is at stake. In this talk, I draw upon my research on plant-focused art and post-colonial plants and discuss the writing of my forthcoming film, The Ant Plant.