The Leatherback Sea Turtle in a Ghanese community - Mirthe Dokter

Come and meet the majestic Leatherback sea turtle, and the squad of Ghanese men that try to protect this ancient animal from extinction. In her intimate documentary Leatherback (directed by Rian van den Boom), we follow visual artist Mirthe Dokter on her visits to a small fishing town at the coastline of Ghana. Here she meets Uncle Raf, the leader of this Ghanese squad and gets entangled in all the difficulties that come with protecting a threatened species in a community that suffers from the consequences of poverty and climate change.

She records her story in a painted diary, and shares it with marine ecologist Marjolijn Christianen. At the festival, she will show her documentary and enter into conversation with WUR ecologist Ronald Osinga and biologist Sjouke Anne Kingma. What does the world look like if you are a leatherback, living in the deep hide-outs of the vast Atlantic ocean, entering the mainland only once in a while to lay eggs, with all the risks involved? She always knows her way, maybe she also knows the solutions for conservation? What will we discover when we follow her instinctivefeeling for direction? How do you deal with the complexities surrounding the protection and conservation of this ancient animal? And what can be the role of artistic storytelling in scientific research and the conversation about animal conservation?

Location: Speakers Corner, Impulse

Time: 19:00-20:15 hrs

More of this?

Tuesday 7 June, Studium Generale organizes a spin-off of the Festival, Con S/V ersation. Bridging Art & Science for conservation impact, with Mirthe Dokter and WUR marine ecologist Marjolijn Christianen, who also appears in her documentary Leatherback. Both of them work on topics of nature and animal conservation, if from a different angle. Tonight, they will enter into a practice-based conversation with each other and the audience. How do an artist and a scientist perceive, observe and investigate the world? What can we learn from each other and how can we reinforce each other? Can we give a more complete view on a habitat by using both art and science? More information can be found here.

About Mirthe Dokter

Mirthe Dokter is an artist focusing on singing, theatre and the visual arts, fusing them smoothly in her work on stage. She is a hybrid maker and performer, combining arts from various disciplines and implementing science. An important part of her work is formed by exploring creation out of observation. She invites her audience to create for themselves while watching and listening to the performance, and to pay attention to their rich inner worlds. Using story-telling through clay, paint, wood-work, singing and text, she endeavors to create an atmosphere, in cooperation with her audience, of being and creating together. Be it on the shores of Ghana, in a documentary, a museum, or in a shelter for the homeless.

The connection to science also plays an important part in her artistic projects, as exemplified by the documentary tonight. Her wish is to become an artist-eccologist, working on ecology together with scientists.Artistic observations are also interesting data, she believes. Together with theatre maker Tim Hammer she created De Balts and Strijd in which they explore the relation between human and animal and embody it themselves.

Mirthe has cooperated with Graphoui Brussels, Museum Arnhem, KWATTA, Muziektheater de Plaats, Feikes Huis, KASKO, Werkplaats Diepenheim, D:DNA and the Nederlands Kamerkoor. She works from her workshops in Arnhem and Brussels. You can visit her website at