Australasian Animal Studies Association

Laird, Dr Tessa

Lecturer, Critical and Theoretical Studies

University of Melbourne (VCA, School of Art)
Research interests / activities

I am interested in more-than-human perception, and the invocation of animal subjectivities in visual art, literature and film. Most recently I have extended Derrida’s literary animot to include cinematic crittery kin – cinemal, or the becoming animal of the filmic medium. In addition, I continue to ponder Michael Taussig’s provocation, that colour is an animal, with all the implications that holds for the manifold perspectives of a multinatural planet.



Bat, London: Reaktion, 2018, ISBN: 9781780238944.

“Heavy Petting at the Cat Café” text to accompany Love Cushions, Nick Modrzewski and Nabilah Nordin, First Draft Gallery, Sydney, 2019,

“Rewilding the Alphabestiary: (Un)Learning Animal Language”, Writing and Concepts Speaker Series, Gertrude Contemporary, 2019.

“‘Decolonizing the Landscape’: animals as decolonial agents in the work of Lin Onus and Tiriki Onus”, and “Spot the Difference” (with Andrew Goodman), Decolonizing Animals, Australasian Animal Studies Association, Christchurch.

“Daily Demons and Fabulous Animals: In which the author finds her craftswoman but loses her cat”, Garland #12, Guendalisaà—Crafting Kinship Issue, Invited Quarterly Essay, 2018.

“Like A Teatray”, the bat as sonic provocateur, with Angeline Chirnside, SenseLab Speaker Series, Concordia University, Montreal, 2018. Fallen Angels: Echolocating Bats, performance lecture in collaboration with sound artist James Grant at The Melbourne Writers Festival, 2018.

“In the beginning there was the worm: Animal voices beyond the verbal”, Artlink Australia,

“Considering the Animals” special issue, Issue 38:1, March 2018, 58-65.

“In Tooth and Claw,” Louise Menzies and Allan Smith, eds., Distracted Reader #3, split/ fountain, 2018.

“Cinemal: Can the screen become animal? Animal perspectives in the films of Camille Henrot”, Minding Animals, Mexico City, 2018.

“Bats: maligned, malicious or misunderstood?” ABC Late Night Live interview with Philip Adams,

“From Underdog to Overview: Perspectivism, Symbolism and Taxonomies in the films of Camille Henrot”, Antennae: The Journal of Nature in Visual Culture, #42, Fade In/ Fade Out, special issue on animals in film, 2017.

“The Battier the Better: Chiropteran Mythinformation vs 21st Century Totemism,” Animaladies, University of Sydney, 2016. The Fruit Wars (Don’t Shoot Bats), painting series, Animaladies exhibition, Interlude Gallery, Sydney, 2016.

Potential areas for research supervision
Animals in art, literature and film; Artistic practice in the Anthropocene; Animals and colour; Animals and language/ text; fictocriticism; more-than-human perception
Reading group
Human Rights and Animal Ethics Research Network