The Power of Story – Albatross Island

Mr Matthew Newton1

1Rummin Productions, Hobart, Australia


The power of story – Albatross Island

Community engagement and support is often a critical element of effective conservation of threatened species or communities. For the endemic Tasmanian shy albatross, which spends most of its life at sea, returning only to breed on one of three inaccessible offshore islands, this is a significant problem.

How do you get the public to care about a species they know little about and are unlikely ever to encounter?

This presentation demonstrates the value of conservationists partnering with professional content producers to enhance the conservation gains and education and outreach goals. It describes a collaboration between a wildlife biologist and a professional photographer. By partnering together, we aimed to raise the profile of the shy albatross by telling compelling stories about their life-history, the threats to their survival and the biologists dedicated to understanding and conserving them.

It will describe how this initiative has used artistic interpretation of the scientific data, immersive technologies, such as virtual reality, and traditional emotive cinematic story-telling and photography, to engage new audiences and build empathy for an otherwise overlooked species. It will also demonstrate the value of editorial content to conservation organisations and why it is more important then ever to tell their stories


Photographer and Principal Director at Rummin Productions.

Rummin are a Tasmanian based film and digital media production company specialising in cinematic documentary, narrative video and digital media projects. Rummin believe storytelling is the most powerful way to put ideas into the world today. Stories are what move us, make us feel alive, and inspire us. We collaborate with NGO’s, Government and ethical businesses to create work that spans television, theatrical, online learning and site-specific installations. We strive to find powerful and transformative true-to-life stories and bring them to life with a balance of imagination, innovation and authenticity.

Matthew’s photographic work is regularly chosen amongst the countries best and exhibited in the nations premier photographic art prizes. He has been a finalist in the National Portrait Prize and the Moran Prize for Contemporary Photography a number of occasions. He regularly photographs for editorial and news publications throughout Australia.