UNESCO Biosphere Reserves are sites managed by passionate communities that are inspired to explore new approaches to the conservation of biological and cultural diversity. They differ from world heritage sites in that they encourage active community participation and are ideal locations to test and demonstrate innovative approaches to sustainability. The Man and Biosphere program was initiated by the United Nations Education, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO) in the 1970s as a practical tool to deal with some of the most important challenges of our time: “how can we reconcile conservation of biodiversity and biological resources with their sustainable use”. To them the concept of Biosphere Reserves serves as incubator for local sustainable development projects and helps share this information and learning with other Biosphere Reserves. The concept can therefore be considered as a tool for enabling respectful dialogue and knowledge sharing.
Listenn seeks to use the media arts to inspire the local communities to broaden their message about the value of the proclaimed Biosphere reserves by providing an experiential tool for promotion and discussion of the value of their reserve. It also aims to provide agency to the community by providing listeners of the ambisonic sound recordings with an additional sets of social, historical and contextual layers about the Biosphere reserves, thus enhancing listener engagement, while also permitting the remote space of each Biosphere Reserve to take on the more intimate facets of place and meaning-making for the listener.