Seminar series 2022

  1. Date: 10th February,2022

Feminist cultural practice Arts-led/based pedagogy & research programme Artist-Scholar-Activist

Abstract: Community practice requires you be physically, emotionally, and intellectually present with the people you want to work with. No social or neighbourhood context is the same; people’s motivations and barriers are pluralistic. It takes time and energy and emotional intelligence to work through and sit with these differences and conflicts. Community practice should learn from ecological transformative processes of growing, fermentation, composting, decay, renewal. This seminar will explore the concept of community practice as a crochet textile playground.

Speaker: Dr Jenna Ashton (University of Manchester, UK) 


Biography: Jenna Ashton is an artist and curator, and Lecturer in Heritage Studies at the Institute for Cultural Practices, an affiliate of the Manchester Environmental Research Institute, University of Manchester. Jenna is the founder and Creative Director of the arts and heritage organisation Digital Women’s Archive North (2015). 

  1. Date: 10th March 2022

Communicating Carbon Storage: Then, Now and Future

Abstract: Where do we start in quantifying carbon in trees? Who is this of value too? What is currently been done? Are urban trees completely unique? And finally, where can modern imaging and laboratory analysis take us? In this talk, I hope to demonstrate why the communication of carbon science is so complicated.

Speaker: Dr Peter Lawrence (University of Cumbria, UK)


Bio: Peter is a lecturer in the Institute of Science and Environment Forestry at the University of Cumbria.

  1. Date: 14th July 2022

Making Kin with Tree: Ecological Identity in Children’s Texts


Speaker:  Sarah Shahwan (Goldsmiths University of London)

  1. Date:  13th October 2022

Crafting granular stories with child-like embodied, affective and sensory encounters that attune to the world’s differential becoming.

Abstract: In this paper we explore what decentring the child in posthumanism does to our research practices, to our conceptualisations of and relationalities to the child. Crucially, we explore the imperative for other ways to encounter the child – that pursue a decolonising and de/recentralising agenda. We pursue tentacular lines of enquiry through a series of interwoven stories – some more familiar than others. It is by queering old narratives that new and unexpected stories concerning pedagogical documentation, sustainability and environmental education, and the child’s contaminated connection to ‘nature’ begin to emerge. This paper attempts to mobilise ‘the posthuman child’ as feral, an uncomfortable in-between that invites us to grapple with the disease of life on a damaged planet. Central to our storytelling is recycled, ‘natural’ materials found in a Reggio Emilia kindergarten in Norway. Specifically, cork has guided us; insisting that we take the non-innocence of matter to the heart of enquiries. We do this to illustrate the potential of feminist new materialism to respond with situated, embodied, affective insights and provocations that might offer ways to consume, cohabit and wrestle in more care-full ways with the Anthropocene ecologies that we are intricately and endlessly enmeshed in.

Speaker: Dr. Jayne Osgood (Middlesex University London, UK)


Bio:  Dr Jayne Osgood is Professor of Childhood Studies at the Centre for Education Research & Scholarship, Middlesex University. 

  1. Date: 10th November 2022 

Title: Planting an Ethics of Care: Community Sustainability in the Historic Neighborhood of San Jose Japantown, USA

Abstract: Based on my narrative walking research project, StoryWalks, which focuses on the racial politics of place-making, the work I will discuss one community resident’s walking tour through the ethnic and historic neighborhood of San Jose Japantown (located in California in the United States), in which she focused on her own plant and tree maintenance as part of her larger commitment to an ethics of community care and sustainability. Sharing some video examples from the walk, I will discuss the ways in which trees and plantings are a part of field of relations that compose and are composed by racial subjectivities, place, community development, and cultural identity. 

Speaker: Prof Kimberly Powell (The Pennsylvania State University, USA) 


Bio: Kimberly Powell researches art as an educational practice and methodology of and for social change, diversity, and inclusion. Her work focuses on the aesthetic dimensions of vernacular culture and on contemporary art practices that challenge social systems through experimentation with concepts, methods, materials, forms, and sites. 

  1. Date: 15th December 2022

Title: Art as Action and Connection: Environmentally Engaged Creative Practices’ Possibilities and Potentials

Abstract: Based on insights from my PhD research – which analysed the practices of, and ambitions behind, public art interventions connected to social movements challenging European border enforcement actions (2013-2017) – I will draw more generalised learnings on the potentialities of engaged creative practices, as well as their challenges, including their complex positioning. I will consider how themes such as affect, empathy, shock, participation, and collaboration can be employed by creative actions in current climate movements. Sharing examples of my own nature-focused artworks, I will discuss my approach and ambitions for each, and how such practices might work to engage young people with treescapes. I will also lead a simple nature connection activity: please bring a natural object (plant, flower, pine cone, shell etc.), and a smartphone, if you have one, if you would like to participate.

Speaker: Dr Amy Corcoran

Web Info:

Bio: Dr Amy Corcoran is an artist, writer and researcher whose creative practice oscillates around human rights, ecology, interspecies dynamics and the more-than-human, and incorporates film, photography, sound and installation. Amy employs these mediums to produce intimate spaces for reflection, empathy.