Open Access Te Herenga Waka-Victoria University of Wellington
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Bridging Worlds: A Pluriversal Approach to Storying Farms & Farm Animal Sanctuaries

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posted on 2024-05-15, 02:02 authored by Madelena Manetto QuickMadelena Manetto Quick

Farm sanctuaries are spaces where formerly farmed animals are housed and taken under the sanctuaries’ care. The farm animal sanctuary movement is a response to the mass production and consumption of animal life. They are intentional spaces with distinct values and practices that challenge those of industrial livestock agriculture. Livestock farms represent the most prevalent example of how we live and work with farmed animals. Positioning both farm animal sanctuaries and livestock farms as built worlds offers an opportunity to explore and analyse their values and practices and the concerns that arise when making worlds with nonhuman animals. Public concerns about livestock farming centre on environmental degradation, animal welfare and human health. Issues concerning the farm animal sanctuary movement involve captive freedom for the animals, the whiteness of the vegan movement and the contrast of utopian ideals with the realities of nonhuman animal illness and death. The ways these concerns are discussed are often polarised. This thesis argues that we need different stories about farmed animal worlds that address these concerns and move through them via methods that offer restorative justice in the here-and-now. This thesis builds an interpretive framework informed by pluriversal politics and ethics and world-building theory. The pluriverse makes space for ‘a world where many worlds fit’. Through this framework, I ask questions about how often farmed animal stories forefront other more-than-human worlds. This is done through the lens of narrative world-building; I analyse the characters, settings, relationships and values of different stories about farmed animals. These stories include memoirs written by farmers and sanctuary owners, ethnographies of the sanctuary movement and my own speculative narratives. I identify gaps in the ways the concepts of Land/scape, Kinship and Care are represented in each of these narratives and how these limit or enable meaningful inclusion of more-than-human worlds. By applying the same framework to each of these stories, I delineate the similarities and differences between farm-worlds and sanctuary-worlds. This critical analysis forms the foundation of an imaginary co-design workshop that provokes reconsideration of farm-worlds and sanctuary-worlds and creates a platform for speculating radical collaboration in the making of more-than-human worlds. This thesis offers a theoretical contribution by analysing the pluriversal potential of farmed animal worlds and the stories told about them through a new interpretive framework. A site-visit to a farm animal sanctuary in Aotearoa New Zealand provides a case study of the local sanctuary movement and contributes to global ethnographies of farm animal sanctuaries. A methodological contribution to multidisciplinary studies is offered through a purposeful entanglement of world-building theory and practice, narrative analysis and speculative design to explore our relationships with farmed animals. Finally, the creative output is a design research contribution that communicates a critical approach to making worlds with farmed animals and demonstrates pluriversal design in action.


Copyright Date


Date of Award



Te Herenga Waka—Victoria University of Wellington

Rights License

CC BY 4.0

Degree Discipline

Design for Social Innovation

Degree Grantor

Te Herenga Waka—Victoria University of Wellington

Degree Level


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy

ANZSRC Socio-Economic Outcome code

280104 Expanding knowledge in built environment and design; 130101 Design

ANZSRC Type Of Activity code

1 Pure basic research

Victoria University of Wellington Item Type

Awarded Doctoral Thesis



Victoria University of Wellington School

School of Design Innovation


Horrocks, Dylan; Caudwell, Catherine