Hall's work in rural locations in Newfoundland and elsewhere has been ongoing since the late 80's. Drawn both to the non-urban landscape(s) and the labour of practice (and practice of labour)- she has worked with and around rural knowledge-holders for many years. Her parallel interests in the body, especially the female body, have also provided sites for her exploration and interrogation of what knowledge might be, who "makes" it and who has the power to 'name' it as knowledge- and thus provide the basis for its valuation.
It is not at all surprising then, that such preoccupations should lead her into the academy to step into dialogue with the conversations there about knowledge, its production and mobilization. Pursuing her PhD in Interdisciplinary Studies, Hall's central creative research project is intended to make visible many knowledge practices that have been devalued or rendered marginal by the powerful and often exclusive reliance on Western science. Thus, in addition to her scholarly work, she has undertaken extensive field work in western Newfoundland, supported by the Community-University Research for Recovery Alliance (CURRA), and has created an 'Encyclopedia' that represents a vast and diverse array of local knowledge shared by more than 80 collaborators of diverse ages in more than a dozen rural communities. CBC radio host Ted Blades talked to Hall about the project in June, 2012- and that interview can be found here-
The 'Encyclopedia' - now at 92 pages - includes local knowledge on ecology, fishing, baking, animal care, hunting and trapping, tanning seal skin, gardening, knitting mitts and nets, boat-building, local names for places and names of local experts, community structure and population, weather, boats, and berries among other things. It will tour the west coast of Newfoundland in six community exhibitions during the fall of 2012- the work returning to its collaborating 'co-authors' for feedback, approval, and celebration. Sharing this work will open a space for dialogue about the diverse kinds of knowledge we might benefit from in the process of working together towards a sustainable future that science alone seems unable to ensure.
Hall's intention is to make the Encyclopedia accessible through public exhibitions, a material and virtual book-work and a WIKI, to which others might contribute the local knowledge of their own communities. Selected excerpts are below.