What began as a casual conversation between two University of West Terrier professors has grown into a mega project that they hope will arouse curiosity in young Animals about The Park’s past and inspire them to think more deeply about their own rôle in its future.
Called “The Park Before YOU,” the project is the brainchild of historian Beatrice Zilonis and Domoina Fossa of the F. Varrah Flanagan School of Education. The multi-faceted, multimedia project was developed with funding from the Archons’ Zoocracy 35 Grant Program.
Using audio, video, live theatre, stand-up comedy, and even a half-hour original musical, the project will trace life in The Park from its very beginnings to the present day.
“We want this to be a rich, multidimensional experience for the young,” Zilonis said in an interview on Mammalian Daily Radio this morning. “We want to pique their interest and nudge them in the direction of curiosity, instead of herding them into a classroom to hear a lecture on the wonder of Animal self-rule.”
Although the project had its impetus in that casual conversation more than a year ago, the idea had been brewing in the minds of both professors, after results of several studies indicated that The Park’s young lacked historical perspective and weren’t very interested in zoocracy or politics.
“Delia Quagga [head of the UWT Barnaby School of Government] did a study that showed Park citizens are not as politically savvy as in previous decades and we both thought we wanted to nip that in the bud,” Zilonis said in her radio interview. “The last thing we want is for that lack of interest to be passed down to the next generation.”
The Park Before YOU will run an entire year and talks about a permanent installation are underway with both The Park Museum and the University of West Terrier, Zilonis said.
Tomorrow night will mark the project’s beginning, with the screening at the Ancient Open-Air Theatre of a series of animated short films about Animal self-rule.