The turn towards Spring means the ending of Overwintering which has been a rich way to sense the land I’m living in. I’ve been learning and sharing creative responses to spending January and Februrary alongside the Exe estuary’s wild inhabitants with Sarah Owen (singer) and Emma Welton (composer). Towards the end of Feb we rehearsed and performed six pieces with a community of participants indoors and out on the estuary at dusk and in the dark combining sound, listening, song, movement, stillness, visual art and quite a bit of sqwarking and laughter. We were delighted to share an element of our work Curlew in an exhibition in Scotland in March to mark the homecoming of the endangered Curlew back to their breeding habitat after the Winter away – full circle. I’m also happy to announce that I have received funding from Arts Council of England to deepen my creative research into more-than-human kin and ecosystems as the inspiration for my practice. I’ll be posting more on this soon. In the meantime if you are curious – get in touch!


I’m working on a small project in january and february with composer Emma Welton and vocalist Sarah Owen. The Exe estuary is winter home to a huge number of migratory birds – some of whom are critically endangered. The Estuary gets its protected status from these seasonal visitors. We are immersing ourselves in the remarkable life of the estuary spending time listening, singing and sounding with and around the estuary  at different times of day and night and exploring estuary habitats (reeds, tideline, mud flats).

In February we are inviting the wider community to rehearse and perform the pieces as well as creating an open source recordings with written text description as background to the pieces. Overwintering has been funded by Creative East Devon Fund

Across the ocean

Across the ocean

I’ve been involved with an ongoing monthly collaboration with Sarah Cameron Sunde for over two years now. I came into contact with Sarah through our High Water event where she presented her beautiful durational artwork 36.5. Sarah lives across the Atlantic in NY. We arrange a monthly encounter by a body of water, for me, usually the estuary or coast here in Devon. We share half an hour improvising together by the water’s edge, following each session with an exchange of objects, recorded sound or image, words and photos. I love this way of linking across time zones, space and place. We often use the full moon as a date marker, often me in the dusk or moonlight, Sarah in broad daylight. We have never met in person but have developed resonance and intimacy through this process/ongoing research. I’m particularly interested as decades ago I elected not to fly, due to the high carbon impact of international aviation, so am keen to explore how remote and simultaneous creative working can foster connection and generate shared knowledge.

Image from Nov 23, Exe estuary by Jo Salter


Just wanted to plug the Rebellious Sound Archive by Dreadnought South West. This is the first community archive collection of oral histories about the activism of women in the South West and it is installed for the Autumn in Exeter Library. I’m proud to be featured in this archive. Well worth a listen!

Salmon Run 2023

When human movement patterns start to realign with the patterns of other species – eagles, mayflies, geese, muskrat  – our awareness rejoins the community of life into which we are born but which our built environments too often hide us from. In this unity of flow and bodily movement, belonging is no longer abstraction but is manifest through living choreography. The choreographer, though, is not an individual but the relationship among a multitude. The river is not a passageway for lifeless water molecules but is a life-form. David George Haskell

Each race of salmon is the rhythmic pulse of a particular place, each individual an ocean going avatar of a specific stream or inland lake – Creaturely Migrations, David Abrams

‘Salmon is the King of Fish. Their journeys up rivers are some of the most thrilling spectacles of the natural world. Yet, now, their very survival is at risk’ Sir David Attenborough 

Intent on one thing and one thing alone getting up stream to their spawning place – David Abrams

Salmon Run 2023 – Tidelines

Alive Alive O!

In July I was honoured to take part in Lucy Neal’s scratch performance/pre-enactment Ring of Truth at Timber Festival as part of our work with MEMBRA, the future of UK Treescapes. Here the 200+ year old Feanedock Oak Tree was represented by barrister Paul Powseland in a future court case against the government of the day with the case for the tree being made by the MEMBRA scientists. In July we received funding from University of Exeter Public Engagement fund to support Alive Alive O! a further collaboration with Emma Welton, composer, Sarah Owen, singer and Sophie Nedelec, biaccoustician around sing the blue mussels.  This project also included Martin Syvret, aquaculturist and Jason Ingham, inshore fisherman. Over 40 participants around the Exe estuary took part in singing and swimming workshops leading to a performance ritual at the end of July in Pirate’s Cove, Exmouth exploring underwater accoustics, human voice, ritual and history and future of blue mussels in the Exe.

I’m currently co-devising RESPIRE with Mita Solanky, the new fruit routes curator/co-ordinator as part of Loughborough University’s Institute of Advanced Studies BREATHE symposium. We are twining together our interdisciplinary, embodied practices to mark the transition of care of Fruit Routes and to create a live participatory performance in Fruit Routes’ Barefoot Orchard. RESPIRE is exploring breathing with trees and the continual exchanges between all living systems, playing with the spaces in-between us and making visible these exchanges and bringing individual breath into collective breathing. I’m really enjoying working with Mita and am delighted she is warmly embracing her new role as Fruit Routes co-ordinator and guardian. I am also just back from a workshop at the Centre for Study of Existential Risk (CSER) at Cambridge Uni with Sarah Woods and Paul Ingham on connecting complex systems and risk. I ended up being asked to run a Field Sensing workshop with the participants which was a real joy and priviledge.


Turning year

New year seems to start for me after the FLOW January Wassail, in mid-January. This year more noisy, lively and busy than ever with all the ingredients to warm up our collective spirit and wake up the trees! I have been enjoying teaching MA students at Schumacher College and teaching and mentoring with CSA (Community Supported Agriculture & Seed Sovereignty network). I’m taking a bit more time to research for my MEMBRA creative work with Walking Forest. Drawing on experiences at BIFOR experimental site (‘the Hadron Collider of ecology’) near Birmingham where CO2 is being pumped into forest test plots to mimic future levels of atmospheric carbon dioxide and my imaginings of Glen Tanar, a site of mature Scottish Pine on the edge of the Cairngorms which I’ll be visiting later this year to learn from the pines. I’ve also initiated some sessions with climate scientists and researchers at University of Exeter to support mental health using the Climate Cafe model created through the Climate Psychology Alliance.and working with a fab group of co-faciliators in Exeter.


Gathering In

Salmon Run 2022 Photo: Jenny Steer

Sorry! I’ve been slack about updating and the rest of the website needs a much needed update too so best way to find out about recent work is get in touch for a chat. I’m shifting the focus of my work in 2023 towards more teaching, mentoring and consulting around community, arts, ecology; arts and permaculture; arts and activism and trans-disciplinary work with academics (scientists and humanities) as well as more studio time.

2022 marked the rounding off of ten year’s of work as designer, co-ordinator and curator of Fruit Routes at Loughborough University. There is a blog about the transition of this project here . This included a mini-festival with The Institute of Advanced Studies, the launch of the Fruit Routes Charter which outlines the principles and ethics of Fruit Routes and handing over of the project to a steering group made up of local people, university staff and gardens team. There is a new website in final stages of design which aims to enable easy exploration of the project and archive. In Tidelines we have been focusing our energy on Salmon Run which took place on 25 September with 75 people from 4-75 years old running a relay in eight sections over 50 miles along the River Exe from sea to spawning ground . We have been researching Atlantic Salmon on the Exe alongside scientists, fishers and other experts and listening to their story which weaves the river system to the history of the city of Exeter and the climate and ecological emergency. See the Tidelines blog for more details on the Run and research and other artworks produced with Jo Salter including a podcast. We are getting lots of interest around Tidelines’ work and research including presentations for the Young Foundation, University of Southampton, EUniversities at RAMM and Eden Project. In Walking Forest we have started working with the interdisciplinary research team which includes tree ring experts, ecologists and plant pathologists, system scientists as part of MEMBRA. This 3 year project funded as part of ‘The Future of UK Treescapes’ by UKRI (UK research and innovation) is researching trees, climate and other biological stresses, tree memory and adaptation with an aim of impacting policy. We ran a creative lab for the research team on Dartmoor and are now forming creative clusters for more in depth collaborative research.

Cracking on

Since the last entry have been cracking on with work both at home, here in the Exe estuary and in Coventry as part of City of Culture. Here are a few things that have been happening. Please get in touch if you want to find out more.

After many years carefully midwifing Walking Forest with Shelley Castle, Lucy Neal and Ruth Ben-Tovim our commission for Coventry City of Culture 2021 part funded by Season for Change enabled us to bring our vision to life in across the city with a multitude of participants.  In particular, we worked with a cohort of 20 anchor women who co-designed a two day performance action with us after a three day woodland camp on the edge of the city. The ritual/performance involved carrying a felled birch tree from HS2 high speed rail link, through the city over two days, dawn until dusk with pop-up events, meals and performances. You can watch a video about the event here. We then went up to Glasgow for the Cop26 climate talks with the tree and participants from Coventry and forged a wonderful connection with GalGael who now have one of the tree limbs to be crafted into vessels and instruments of mourning. Special moments included gifting seeds to delegates from the Climate Vulnerable Forum. Over the next three years we will  be  working with UK treescapes as part of the interdisciplinary research project MEMBRA looking at treescapes, carbon and memory.

Walking Forest Coventry, photo: Al De Noise

A Tidelines highlight was A Body of Water, a creative lab on Water Quality and Monitoring on the Exe estuary and coast where 19 people from the local community, researchers and organisations gathered together for a day to share different perspectives and generate ideas for working together to improve water quality. RSPB, Westcountry Rivers Trust, University of Exeter, Marine Biological Association and South West Water were amongst the organisations present along with audio visual artist Kathy Hinde and visual artist Shelley Castle. This event was funded by East Devon Council and the Global Systems Institute, University of Exeter.

We now have a Body of Water working group and also are starting citizen science swim research working with bioaccoustic researcher Sophie Nedelec.

Lots of other bits and bobs including talks for Glasgow School of Art, Grays’ Aberdeen and Royal Albert Memorial Museum (RAMM) and University of Exeter. Lots to report next time on Fruit Routes which is now in its 10th year. Look out for Fruit Routes in the Institute of Advanced Studies’ Transitions Festival in May. We also finally got to wassail our trees again on FLOW. What a relief and a joy. Byee!

We commissioned Shelley Castle to record the Body of Water day and invited each participant to represent a member of the more-than-human community of the estuary

High Water

A time of reemergence – I’m just off from talking as part of a fascinating panel session with Heart of Glass Northern Faculty on ethics of creative practice alongside Kerry Morrison (co-founder of In Situ), Fox Irving and Stella Barnes and preparing for forthcoming trips to Loughborough for Fruit Routes (having not been up to the Midlands for over a year) and Coventry with Walking Forest. We greatly enjoyed co-organising High Water with art.earth on the highest tide of the year on March 30th with some support from Low Carbon Devon. You can find out more about this here. 60 participant/contributors from many different countries shared their connections to the tides across arts, sciences, research and pure love of global waters in a sell out event which despite its epic duration – 13+ hours (running high tide to high tide) was hugely revitalising. We are now working with Uni of Exeter & RAMM on next year’s iteration which will be in September 2022.

Finally you can find a link here to a podcast The Sea In Me which I made for Occupy The Airwaves (Dreadnought South West) on International Women’s day inspired by Rachel Carson’s writing and activism and including a raft of women musicians, writers, scientists and artists including Louisa Adjoa Parker, Shelley Castle, Hannah Martin, Ceri Lewis, Catherine Cartwright, Naomi Hart and Lora Fleming. Thanks to all these generous and warm people and Dreadnought for the opportunity to make my first podcast (steep learning curve!) More soon on next steps for Tidelines which are brewing and updates from Walking Forest in Coventry.

Coming together

The Walking Forest website is now launched – visit and explore the labyrinth of connections with a tree, a seed and a story of activism at its heart. We are running our first Walking Forest online event on Monday with women earth defenders from different countries and we have been busy making connections with people in Coventry and a nearby HS2 camp defending Ancient Woodlands. This forms the start of our Coventry City of Culture 2021 residency. In Tidelines we are launching the Exe Estuary Box – a hand screen printed playable, postable pack of activities for people in the Exe estuary to take part in over the Winter. The activities have been designed to help us find out how people relate to the estuary – how they feel, what they see, what they want to know. We can send you one if you want to take part!

Warm Waters

urchinsquarej6-01wIts August, and I’ve been working primarily on Tidelines with Jo Salter, my partner, over summer. Tidelines creates spaces, activities and opportunities for people to come together to explore, learn about and care for the changing Exe estuary, which is where we live. We are working with academics from Exeter University, our local authority (East Devon) non-government organisations and research institutions (such as the Met Office) to create a ‘communiversity’ with the Estuary and its multi species inhabitants at its heart at a time of climate & ecological emergency.  We’ve had to invent new ways to do this during a global pandemic. You can find out more here and join our mailing list for updates here.  Walking Forest will kick off in Autumn with the launch of the website and a research trip to Coventry.  On a trip North, I managed to squeeze in a visit to Whirlygig Woods, the creative home of the Timber Festival where I was invited to a weekend of thinking about and reflecting on the Timber Festival past and future with other creative practitioners. We stayed in a caravan called the Fear Eater, which was surprisingly comfortable! As part of Culture Declares Emergency ‘The Offer” on the 6 May, I got the opportunity to speak about Re-imagining the City alongside Margot Heller, Director, South London Gallery Jane Riddiford, Co-Director, Global Generation and Dan Raven-Ellison founder of National Park City. you can watch the video here

All change


Hello, any update in April 2020 is shrouded in uncertainty – with Walking Forest delayed until Autumn or possibly 2021 and other Spring/Summer live events cancelled for now. What I can share is that I had a great evening back in Feb with Prof. Tim Lenton speaking at the Brancombe Project Tim introduced the latest climate science and his particular specialism tipping points and then handed over to me by talking about Gaia and James Lovelock’s work and then I talked about my different creative responses to the climate and ecological crisis as well as giving the audience some time to explore their own responses more intimately in pairs. We then had a good amount of time for questions which we answered together. Though I’m not a big fan of this traditional format for talks I think it worked pretty well and we both hope to do something similar again. I’ve been invited to take part in Artist Voices for A Space Arts in Southampton speaking about art in the public realm. This will be a digital sharing available in June/July.  An interview between myself and Tom Powell, earth system scientist and collaborator is now available in Culture, Community & Climate – conversations and emergent praxis edited by Richard Povall and published by art.earth. We will be launching the Tidelines website in the next few weeks –  there will be a number of ways people can start contributing creatively. I also wanted to flag up the closing of Encounters Arts in May after 17 years of creating original socially engaged art work with integrity. I have been lucky enough to have been a creative associate with Encounters for 11 years and it has been a wellspring for my artistic development and collaborative practice. Fortunately, I will be able to keep working with Ruth Ben-Tovim and other Encounters associates on Walking Forest, a project which was hatched through an Encounters’ creative lab.

What is keeping me together right now is taking part in a 100 verse Twenga with long term collaborator and poet Little Onion/Paul Conneally and hosted by Eastside Projects. I love this form of collaborative writing.

Walking forest is on the move


GREAT NEWS! Walking Forest has been awarded ACE funding as part of a major bid Season for Change co-ordinated by Julie’s Bicycle and ArtsAdmin. We heard the news as we undertook our second vigil at the Batheaston Pine tree, planted by Rose-Lamartine Yates in 1909.  So thrilled to be on the move with this project – a collaboration with Ruth Ben-Tovim, Shelley Castle and Lucy Neal.  Definitely more on this later including a website – we have so much to share already on this project. 2020 will also be filled with Tidelines, research and development phase for a creative research hub for Exmouth exploring the changing estuary and marine ecosystem working with Jo Salter and University of Exeter on an Erasmus+ funded project Socially Engaged Universities (SEU) and with support from my fellowship with SWCTN.

Collecting seeds from the Batheaston Pine, Walking Forest prelude.


with trees

As part of my artist in residence (at home!) with Wild Exmouth I’m designing a day of different activities themed on trees including a tree library, sharing tree stories, charcoal making, tree trail, printmaking, forest school and an event bringing landowners and local people together to create a shared vision for trees in Exmouth.  I’m working with Exmouth Tree Project, Chris Holland (outdoor educator), Sue Deakin (artist), National Trust, Clinton Devon Estates, East Devon Council. This includes work I am doing this Winter on the Exmouth Orchard Trail and constellation orchard in North Exmouth.


New beginnings


So delighted that I’ll be visiting Kilkenny, Eire in November with Ruth Ben-Tovim and Lucy Neal to co-facilitate the Art of Invitation and helping host a day of discussion around Culture Declares Climate Emergency. We have been invited by the Butler Gallery and Orlaith Treacy, curator and participant on Art of Invitation at Schumacher College back in 2018.

I have just started my fellowship with SWCTN (see here).  SWCTN is a network led by University of West of England in partnership with Watershed Bristol, Kaleider in Exeter, Bath Spa University and the University of Plymouth and Falmouth University.  I’m researching  ‘innovation at a time of climate and ecological breakdown and how a specific place (Exmouth) can test local responses for global impact.’ This will be focusing on the emerging Tidelines project with Jo Salter – a creative research hub for the changing marine and estuary environment in Exmouth (more on that next post). I’m currently curating Celebrating Trees here in Exmouth as part of my residency with Wild Exmouth for 23 November and inviting a collective exploration of what we can learn from trees and how we can create a shared vision for trees in and around our town. Finally doing a spot of teaching with Tom at Exeter University’s Global Systems Institute…and there are some apples that need picking..


lunar eclipse


Just back from Bristol where I led on and co-facilitated two Creative Conversations with Encounters Arts looking at the relationship between religious faith, spirituality and global mass extinction. One took place with a group of people from different spiritual backgrounds over a day involving different invitations, walks, makes, conversations and reflective sessions and the other was a one hour workshop at XR Bristol Bridge the same evening. Lots to say about that if you are interested. These images generated by Shelley Castle who was our visual scribe for the day.  Other recent highlights include Running with Trees at Timber Festival . My running partner this time was a field maple and it was such a poignant location for weaving the story of trees, breath, our bodies and the carbon cycle while running across the site of rich coal deposits. The National Forest being a new planting of so far 9 million trees on the site of ancient, buried Carboniferous forests. I’m still researching working with morse code messages and the climate and ecological emergency after the successful pilot field station we set up as part of May Day May Day at Loughborough. Get in touch if you would like to support this work or work together on this.



The most exciting thing right now is the high pitched tweets of the Great Tit family nesting just outside my window. This forms the background drama to our lives as we follow this close family through its ups and downs, 4 chicks from 8 eggs remain and these fluffy, noisy bundles starting to stretch their wings as well as their mouths gearing up for first flight. I’m just back from a visit to Loughborough running the May Day May Day summer event on Fruit Routes.  I was really pleased with the diversity and coherence of that event although not many moths visiting the stunning Moth Hotel… I’m part of the Re-imagining Citizenship Activity Book commissioned by School of Arts Loughborough University designed for widespread distribution including display at the Venice Biennale. I’ve been invited to be a panel member at art.earth’s Evolving the Forest conference at Dartington in June and to speak about permaculture design & arts at the Wild Conference in Leeds in July.  I’m designing a multi-faith Creative Conversation event in Bristol with Stefan Skrimshire (University of Leeds) & Jeremy Kidwell  (University of Birmingham) and Ruth Ben-Tovim with Encounters Arts as part of my role as lead artist on the AHRC funded Religion & Extinction Network.  Finally, started designing with my partner Jo Salter, a hub for science, creativity & research, marine and estuary ecology and climate change here in Exmouth. Updates on Walking Forest and Wild Exmouth next time! I’m supporting and was part of the launch of Culture Declares Climate & Ecological Emergency and if you haven’t heard of it recommend you check it out.

CultureDeclaresKite-HORIZ-PINK-exSM copy


The Patterns Change

wassail201922bThis year has started rather too quickly – I think partly because I dive into organising the FLOW wassails straight after the winter break.  Now in their second year, these were lots of fun and busy! We tweaked the lyrics again and Emma Welton did a new arrangement of the Exeter Wassail tune. I designed and made hand printed fabric for the Sentinel costume helped greatly by Helen, local Exwick seamstress who stiched it all together. This year already looking forward to performing Running with Trees at the Timber Festival and have already run a day workshop for the Ecological Design MA students at Schumacher College. PCA teaching is now finished. Just finished my piece for the International Eco-Art Network book which should be out later this year. I am starting Wild Exmouth residency later this year in my home town! More on all this later.

Pines and Apples

Harvest weekend buzzed with people at Loughborough – Fruit Routes blog has more info. We gently launched the long-awaited Walking Forest project with partner Moor Trees on Dartmoor in the forest collecting 10,000 acorns for forests of the future and sharing our research. Two members of the Walking Forest team have headed off to Poland for the COP 24 conference in December. We are holding a vigil in December with the Batheaston Pine, the remaining Austrian Pine from the field of trees (Annie’s Wood) planted early 1900s by suffragettes and suffragists and bulldozed for a housing development in 1960s. One striking 100 year old tree remains…(see above picture of it being planted by Rose Lamartine Yates with Annie Kenny looking on). Our vigil co-incides with the closing of these landmark COP Climate Talks and the casting of the first female votes in the UK 100 years ago.  Very happy to be working at Plymouth College of Art for two days a week tutoring on the MA Creative Education and experimenting with some new creative techniques in the craft studios as part of Walking Forest research. Also this month saw the results of a commission as part of FLOW with sculptor James Bond and the local community.  Our second Exwick/St Thomas Wassail is planned for weekend of 19/20 January. More details via FLOW.

Autumn buzz

(pics from LU Architecture summer school/apple store models)

Fruit Routes harvest events coming up over 19+20 October including a chance for a panel discussion and an informal conversation walking around the Fruit Route with Bianca Elzenbaumer and Joanna Boehnert  From the LU Arts blurb: Designing for Climate Futures Taking in a variety of methods, approaches and forms of design – from permaculture to architectural design; from transition design to design fictions – it will explore design as a tool for collective organisation. What can design do in the here-and-now of our warming world? What might design do in a more ecologically just world? And how might it help us get from here to there? You are very welcome to come to both. For the walk just turn up at 16.30 at Barefoot Orchard (opposite the Pilkington Library on LU Campus) – no need to book, for the panel discussion at 18.00 book here

Apple + Wood, testing & learning

This Autumn I’m contributing the first School of Architecture Summer School Apple +Wood at Loughborough University in September where students from different architectural schools across the world will have an intensive week designing an apple store for Fruit Routes. I’m teaching two days a week next term on MA in Creative Education: Making Learning at Plymouth College of Art. Very excited by the values and content of the course and doing some early stage research at the moment for Arts & Culture at Exeter University  to look into testing creative and active interdisciplinary learning & doing spaces to link across the university and city underpinned by making positive change towards a low carbon city for people and non-human inhabitants of the city. Exhibiting at Thelma Hulbert Gallery as part of Art on the East Devon Way and speaking at East Devon AONB Annual Meeting on 20th September – you can reserve a place here. Starting work with Stefan Skrimshire (Leeds Uni) & Encounters on AHRB project exploring extinction and spirituality – more on this soon.  Upcoming events too with FLOW as part of Ami Shelton’s Beelines..


Documentary bird photographer photojournalist, Devon, Dorset, Cornwall, Somerset, Exeter, UK, abroadphoto Jenny Steer

Three incredible evenings up on Fire Beacon Hill, Sidmouth. One with Jenny Steer photographer trying out the hankies; one with Tony Whitehead (artist and RSPB) preparing for our walk and getting to know the territories of the birds and then with 16 or so participants and Thelma Hulbert Gallery as part of Art on the East Devon Way. 23rd June, stillness, clear sky, three-quarter moon. We all spent time settling in and Field Sensing, sensitising to the sounds, sights and feeling of being here. Located on a grassy track on the border of the territory (thanks to information from Toby at RSPB) and as the sun set and fell into darkness we had close to churring, wing clapping, kericks and fly-by’s from the male nightjar and his partner. Over the three nights we got to know the marker trees around the territory although the pattern of movement changed each time. The churring was intense and long periods of this 1900 notes per minute sound that so far I’ve found that no one can describe or  get close to impersonating. The bird seemed especially curious when myself or Tony waived the handkerchiefs. Please get in touch if you would like to pre-order a pair of the screen printed handkerchiefs.  There are 30 sets available for £20/pair (+ £5 for P+P) contact me if you would like to place an order. They are hand-printed using an ink drawing of a nightjar made earlier this year screen-printed onto hand-made organic cotton squares . A percentage of the profit will go to a local conservation charity on the pebblebed heaths where around 120 male nightjars make their homes in East Devon. Nightjars are now on the amber list for protected species and have seen a moderate increase in recent years. My love of and fascination with these enigmatic birds continues.


Ireland trip and FLOW in blossom

Festival_image1b final_0

Ruth & I (Field of Wheat) very much enjoyed being the guests of Martina Finn (Curator) as part of a day long event on art and agroecology organised by Third Space Galway and Alastair Fraser Maynooth University at the Food Sovereignty Conference. Amazing to see the work of the Irish Seedsavers and hear Saturnino ‘Jun’ Borras, one of the founders of Via Campesina.

I’m walking the FLOW route this sunday with Nigel Pinhorn (ecologist) and Mary-Rose Lane (environment agency) and being welcomed in Exwick  as part of their blossom day. The next event is a community gathering to look at next steps for FLOW.  Look at FLOW website for more details.


Looking Forward

nightjarfinTeaching next week at Schumacher College with ace facilitators Ruth Ben-Tovim (Encounters) and Lucy Neal (Playing for Time) on The Art of Invitation.  Also heading to Southern Ireland at Easter with collaborator Ruth Levene to work with curator Martina Finn from Third Space Galway to create a participatory event inspired by the themes and concept of A Field of Wheat in Galway City and to be part of a Food Sovereignty Festival at NUI Maynooth. June means Nightjars in the East Devon commons and after becoming obsessed with these elusive creatures last year, I’m already looking forward to spending time out on the common in a collaboration with Tony Whitehead  Sharing Space with Nightjars on midsummer weekend, as part of Thelma Hulbert’ Gallery’s work with East Devon AONB. This event is open to the public so let me know if you are interested in coming along.

How do we welcome the trees?

images by Jenny Steer. Over 300 people participated in a weekend of orchard planting, , toast plaiting, lanternmaking,  bug hotel renovating, mulled cider drinking, wordsearching, wassailing, seedball making, storytelling,  listening, eating together, blossom viewing, pot clattering, merrymaking. A brilliant weekend, thank you everyone!

Cranbrook Seedbox

A micro-commission for Spacex in Cranbrook (a new town built on the edge of Exeter). I created a Seedbox working with Incredible Edible Cranbrook and the Cranbrook Potluck. The seeds have come from around Cranbrook and have been shared from further afield to start off this ‘new’ growing community by linking it to existing seed saving and growing networks in the region and creating a resource to be shared as a practical resource, at events & for learning and education. Seeds in the Seedbox include edible plants and plants for wildife and pollinators.  In 2018, Seedbox will be housed in the new Learning Centre in Cranbook Country Park. Get in touch with Cranbrook Potluck on facebook if you would like any seeds or to find out more.


Art of Invitation, FLOW & A Field of Wheat

Teaching another short course The Art of Invitation at Schumacher College in February next year with Lucy Neal and Ruth Ben-Tovim in partnership with the Ecological Design MA  (more course info here) and speaking at RAMM, Exeter as part of EXE conference, on the FLOW project on 10 November. Also, In Manchester presenting on A Field of Wheat as part of Littoral Arts Hyper Rural Symposium on 22 November.


Orchard Box

After a great summer interrailing in Europe with my family, happy to be back working on the Orchard Box, a collaboration with Amy Shelton (Honeyscribe). You will be able to see what is in the box next Saturday and Sunday (2+3 Sept) at St Thomas Festival in Exeter as part of the FLOW River Orchard project. Also doing another Running with Trees event on 13 September starting at 6pm. Contact me for details of where to meet.


Thats not a Fantail its a Snout!

Some pics of Summer event at Fruit Route & launch of the 5 years of Fruit Routes a book celebrating the project. More info on the FR blog. Contact me if you would like a copy.




Running with Trees

Learning about trees, breathing, each other and our climate at part of FLOW, Riverside Valley Park, Exeter. A 3.5km run suitable for beginner/intermediate runners. Next run is on 13 September at 6pm. Get in touch for more details

FLOW: Orchard Ideas Lab 21 June

Images by Jenny Steer

orchard on the Exe

orchard on the Exe


I am in full swing with the Exeter/Gingko Projects & East Devon Council commision. I am reconfiguring the Environment Agency’s planting scheme to create a ribbon orchard along the site (around 5km) to enhance the habitat for pollinators and foragers of all descriptions. This is a complex partnership between different communities, landowners, govt.agencies and there are some great people involved. The project includes an Orchard Lab on 21 June, a day with people from local communities of Exwick & St Thomas, Wildlife Trust, Environment Agency & Exeter City Council considering the possibilities and intricacies of realising the project. I’m also taking groups running in the site to explore the relationship between trees, breath and carbon in a performative way (Tom Powell, earth systems scientist has been helping me create this work) & I’m collaborating with Amy Shelton to make an Orchard Box to collect and share thoughts, ideas, visions, perspectives on the project. (the pic is looking at the stomata (breathing apparatus) of an apple leaf (Devonshire Quarrendon) down a microscope

Exhibition & Talk at Bridport Art Centre


An exhibition at Bridport Art Centre which explores food, farming & our relationship with the environment. The other artists are Nessie Reid & Chris Drury. Get in touch with the Art Centre if you would like to attend the discussion & meal on 25 May.

River Exe Residency

I have just started a residency which runs until September working for Gingko Projects with East Devon District Council, Exeter City Council, Environment Agency and Devon Wildlife Trust. I’m currently in the research phase, getting to know the people, the site which runs along the River Exe as it passes through the city of Exeter, and its inhabitants.Will keep you posted as I will be running a series of events in Spring/Summer.


Harvest Home & closer to home

On 9 & 10 September the Field of Wheat Collective and visitors came together on the farm, for a two day harvest celebration as the concluding live event of A Field of Wheat. Discussions and talks from Collective members Emily Wilczek, Nick Groom & Geoff Tansey took place in a specially design straw bale structure made by Collective members Mark Parsons and Jon Orlek from Studio Polpo & Brant Broughton Quakers hosted us for a live Collective Enquiry at their Meeting House. On Saturday workshops, discussions, games, performances, installations took place over the farm and in the local village hall and we all came together for a final performance on the field, fire & feast of ale, bread & cakes (baked by the Collective) made from flour from the field milled at a local 8 sail windmill. See the Artists’s Pages for more info on the mask and harvest ritual.  The whole thing was exhausting, wet, windy and hugely rewarding.

Earlier in the month & closer to home, ran a session on Field Sensing at the Dark Mountain Festival  & also was invited as guest speaker on a discussion around Land Literacy and Farming on the Edge of Extinction

Day 294

juneeventIts 294 days since we planted the Field of Wheat. This is a picture from the June event on the farm where we explored the water infrastucture, inputs and co-inhabitants of the farm, and as the wheat ripens we are in the midst of Decision 2 online – how to sell the wheat? and also planning for the harvest event in September. Loads more info on the website.

Rebellions of the Belly

As part of my work with Productive Margins I’ve taken the Shed on Wheels to Bristol and am running events in Knowle West including Taste of Knowle West an ‘urban produce show’ to celebrate and bring people together around growing & cooking in the area. In Easton I’m working with the Somali women’s group & Coexist community kitchen to create the Somali Kitchen in the Shed on Wheels serving Somalian street food and inviting people to join their fledgling campaign around regulation and fast food takeaways in the area.


Bristol food project


Have just started a three month commission working with Knowle West Media Centre, Coexist, SPAN & University of Bristol on Productive Margins, a project that explores working with different groups of people in Knowle West & Easton to explore food, food production and local access to food in particular focusing on developing new forms of community-led activism and engagement.

Right Now

See A Field of Wheat for account of the recent Fieldtrip including a walk through the City of London and an afternoon hosted by Whitechapel Art Gallery with our Collective members and invited guests including Brett Scott (Arts, Activism, Anthropology & Alternative Economics) and Andrew Trump (Organic Arable) an international investment banker (who requested to remain nameless) & ex-CEO of Home Grown Cereal Authority,  Jonathan Cowens. I have also been in the science lab at University of Exeter with Dr Tom Powell as part of A Field of Wheat, grinding, sieving and testing soil samples from the field. These samples are being used for scientific research into Carbon and Nitrogen and organic content of the soil by Tom as a sideshoot from AFOW. They are also producing beautiful pigment for paint.   I’m lecturing on Eco-Activism at School of the Arts in Loughborough next week. New Shoots (featuring Singing to the Trees) as part of CCANW’s touring show Soil Cultures  is currently on exhibition at  White Moose Gallery, Barnstable.

A Field of Wheat at Oxford Real Farming Conference & Scottish Sculpture Workshop


Image: drawing of wheat roots, December 2015

We have been invited to participate in and present at a three day event about art and social and environmental change, part of a international project Frontiers in Retreat at Scottish Sculpture Workshop in Lumsden in March. We also presented two sessions at the Oxford Real Farming Conference in January. See ORFC website for more details. Here is a link to Farmerama 6 a podcast recorded at the ORFC with a feature on A Field of Wheat and other interesting stuff.

A FIeld of Wheat – First Field event & Collective Enquiry 1




See A Field of Wheat website for more on our first farm event. Collective Enquiry 1 will take place on Monday 23 November. Members of A FIeld of Wheat Collective, who are stakeholders in the 22 acre wheat field in Lincolnshire will respond sequentially over a period of 20 hours to a short text. We are exploring different forms of online dialogue as part of this project and have been working with Lincolnshire Quakers to create a new form for holding a more contemplative dialogue space. Follow this link on 23rd to see the Enquiry unfold. (photos: Gemma Thorpe)

Talks, reports and planting in the third quarter


A Field of Wheat a collaboration with Ruth Levene and farmer Peter Lundgren has been successfully funded by Arts Council of England along with University of Lincoln, ArtsNK, Dance 4 and The Collection Museum and is now launching. Follow this link for information on how to be part of a collective that comes on a journey with us, a farmer and a field of wheat through the year from drilling to harvest. This project is the outcome of two years of research funded by ACE & Dance 4 and is funded by University of Lincoln, artsNK, Dance4 & The Collection. Take a look at the website here

I was delighted to have been invited to host an artists breakfast by Kaleider on Friday 18 September as part of Relight My Fire Arts & Energy festival, 18-21 September in Exeter. Around a dozen of us shared stories about some of the challenges of creating and living a more sustainable practice and life.The venue is Kaleider, Bathurst House, Smythen Street, Exeter EX11BN

I will be taking part in a Q & A session with TIm Lenton Professor of Climate Change at University of Exeter about our project Earthwalking at the Transition Film Festival in Totnes on 14 November following a screening of the film Elemental. See website for details and how to book.

lastly a report/blog about Earthwalking has just gone live on the to-be-recommended EcoArtScotland blog. Enjoy!




Just back from a breaktaking couple of days on the East Devon coast. A project blog will appear on EcoArtScotland shortly..

Earthwalking evoked a complex but integrated response to and about the Devon coastline, the meaning of walking, the meaning of community and the future imprint of communities on the environment. At no time during Earthwalk was anyone told what to think and yet thoughts and discussions naturally and organically flowed into these areas because of the style and structure of the project. In this way the project proved itself to be in line with its own ethics and was in and of itself a sustainable and organic art piece (participant)

I felt a strong sense that we were somehow touching base with some quite fundamental things. For my part, the event will serve as a real and important reference point (academic collaborator)

The whole project enhanced my sense of smell, sound and vision (participant)

Odds and Beginnings

We have crossed back over the River Tamar, and are now about 60 miles further east in Exmouth, Devon. Enjoying getting to know the coast, the estuary, the town and the city. Lucy Neal’s new book Playing for Time, lauched two weeks ago at FreeWord in London and was delighted to be there to orchestrate an unruly finale of Flip the Kipper! Playing for Time is a hefty tomb which includes a diverse assembly of visual artists, theatre makers, performers, craftspeople, playwrights, sustainability managers, cultivators, writers, activists and environmentalists from the UK and around the world. For anyone who wishes to buy copies, there is currently a discount code for this book, giving you £5 off the RRP: ONPFT2015 Valid at : http://oberonbooks.com/playing-for-time

I’m just shifting gear on Exeter Enquires residency with Tim Lenton, Luke Mander and Tom Powell (Earth Systems Science, Exeter University) and we are in the early stages of planning a participatory public event based around walking, the jurassic coast and perspectives on change. This has emerged from my time with Tim et al. learning more about James Lovelock’s influence and works and returning to explore the fundamental science of climate change from multiple perspectives and the gaps between a) recognition of changes in our biosphere (knowledge of the facts as presented by contemporary science) and personal, emotional, empathic responses and corresponding actions and b) between people working in parallel fields (or on different parts of the spectrum) on climate change theory and climate change response. The date for this event, open to all, is week of 13 July. More details to follow soon.

Just found a pic from an event last November with the great Independent School of Art in Penryn where I was invited to create a response as part of a day of events around art, food and activism. I invited Paul Conneally to create with me another iteration of In Your Hands as a closing event to the day. pic by Belle Benfield


Stonehouse Seedstore – collecting & sharing seeds & stories


100 stories about our connections to and relationships with plants have been collected across Stonehouse. Seeds and cuttings of these plants have been sourced as a portable community resource and a celebration of diversity. These seeds are available free to anyone who wants to grow in Stonehouse. The Seedstore contains a catalogue of stories and seeds and how long each seed is viable and seed packets for each of the participants to keep or swap. The Seedstore will evolve over time, being accessible in the Union Corner community shop and taken to events in the community. This project was commissioned by Take A Part, Plymouth

Dark Mountain Issue 6

Honoured to have Corn Mask II included in Dark Mountain Issue 6, published 15 October.  See link to order a copy

A Little Patch of Ground in Stonehouse

Images from A Little Patch of Ground Stonehouse performance event which was the culmination of 4 months work with 5 different community growing spaces all radically different in scale, to celebrate their stories and journeys and strengthen the connections between growers in this part of the city.  The performance tour last sunday which lasted just over 2 hours took a capacity audience around the 5 spaces on foot, tasting, listening, drawing, sharing stories, playing, imagining and dreaming. The tour took in street planters that have been lovingly tended over many years by one resident; imaginative new designs for an urban gap site run by a voluntary community project; a fledgeling food growing project in a homeless hostel tended by many hands; a thriving huerta in a walled garden behind a low rise and a mature urban ‘village green’ space and orchard sheltered by the 500 year old city walls.  The local community performers were hugely generous in their energy and commitment.IMG_2872 IMG_2954 IMG_2866 sunsm stringsm soupticksm1

Summer Time – Flatlands, Art of Invitation, Campus Almanac, Stonehouse Seedstore and Little Patches of Ground


Just back from an energising week at Schummacher College co-facilitating The Art of Invitation course with Ruth Ben-Tovim (Encounters Arts) and Lucy Neal and with guest artists and speakers Sarah Woods, Alan Boldon, Farzana Khan (Shake, Platform) and Fern Smith and Phil Ralph who performed their searing Doin’ Dirt Time (a performance focusing on an interview between Suzi Gablik and Rachel Dutton and Rob Olds) as part of a public Schummacher Earth Talk  on Tuesday.

Seventeen participants mostly UK and others from Denmark, Australia, Argentina and Japan, joined us to explore  principles of practice, practical sessions, discussions, creative experimentation (group and individual) reflection and socialising. I’m really grateful to Ruth Ben-Tovim for inviting me to co-host and to Schummacher for running their first arts course in many years. Also finished Field Sensing intensive at Exeter University as part of Campus Almanac – my first public event on Campus (see CA blog for more) and have just received research funding for ACE for Flatlands (working title) with Bob Levene and Dance 4. I’m also mid-way through Stonehouse Seedstore with Take a Part – gathering stories and seeds that connect people and places in this inner city ward of Plymouth; already seeing a garden full of diversity, fragrance, colour and flavour. Simultaneously, I’m supporting Little Patches of Ground, a site-specific version of A Little Patch of Ground in Stonehouse linking and supporting community growers and their plots and leading towards a public performance tour in October. Finally I am delighted to be invited to Stepney City Farm in London on 24th August to facilitate a workshop as part of their Harvest Festival.

Fruit Routes in Summer – The Rosy Footman leads the way…


photo: Chris Mear

Two days of spring/summer events on Loughborough Fruit Routes including wild teas in the Barefoot Orchard, launch of the new Fruit Routes map, remulching the trees, spotting some ripening almonds (!) a pop-up cinema in The Shed showing a Japanese monster moth movie and late night moth trapping. Read the Fruit Routes blog post on this event.



I have been commissioned by Arts&Culture at Exeter University and Kaleider to create a new project on Streatham & St Luke’s campus in Exeter.  This project is also being supported by CCANW as part of their Soil Cultures residency programme. Campus Almanac will include creative events on campus highlighting seasonality and drawing up proposals for new and experimental edible tree planting on site. Campus Almanac will work collaboratively with academics, students and other artists. The first phase of this project runs until July 2015.  The project has a blog that follows the cycle of the year – observations, art work, foraging, recipes, musings, guests. Follow the blog or twitter @campusalmanac

Map & Moths


Fruit Routes won the Sustainable Project award at the Guardian University Awards 2014. Jo Salter and I have just finished designing the first fruit routes map and guide which will launch in June as part of a bigger event including late night/early morning moth trapping. I have been invited to make a presentation about Fruit Routes at a symposium New Community Spaces: Collaboration and Creativity in the Landscape at Hooke Park, Dorset (Architectural Association) on 12 July 2014 funded by the British Academy. For more info email:  jjos201@exeter.ac.uk See Fruit Routes blog  and twitter @fruitroutes




The second mask started during the Newlyn Gallery residency is now complete.



Co-faciliating Schumacher Course in August

Looking forward to co-facilitating The Art of Invitation: Creative Engagement For Ourselves & Our Community 4-8 August at the invitation of Ruth Ben-Tovim (Encounters Arts). The course is aimed at artists, facilitators and community managers and anyone else wanting to work with the creative potential of participatory arts in relation to the social and ecological challenges of our times. Other artists who will be sharing their knowledge and expertise as part of the course include Lucy Neal, Farzana Khan (Platform), Sarah Woods, Fern Smith and Alan Boldon.  Some bursaries are available. More details here.

Out of the Blue is 20!


In 1994 Trudy Gibson and I hatched an idea to open a gallery space in the old town of Edinburgh. Out of the Blue evolved, quite quickly into a performance and experimental arts space specialising in cross-disciplinary arts, outgrew its first home and moved into an old bus depot which included studios, workshop space, performance venue (The Bongo Club) and gallery. Now sited in three venues across the city – OOTB Arts & Education Trust is still alive and kicking! See website for more details and come along to the celebrations on 17 May.

(this is a picture of us two 20 years on – was lovely to see Trudi again)

Bread & Circuses


I was commissioned to create an intervention as part of Grand Challenges Live for Exeter University on 24 & 25 March at Tremough Campus and to work with students during the Grand Challenges week in June themed on Food For Thought and the future of food.  The two day event in March explored food, using permaculture ethics as a framework for a number of participatory games and activities and for the June week and am designing and delivering a participatory session Creative Approaches to Food & Place with Caitlin De Silvey (Environment & Sustainability Institute, Exeter Uni)

Stonehouse Seedstore


I am starting collecting the first seeds for the Stonehouse Seedstore a project with Stonehouse Timebank and Take A Part. Over the next few months I’ll be meeting 100+ residents of Stonehouse and asking them about their favourite plants and the stories, memories and associations connected with them. This information will be used to source these seeds and create a Stonehouse Seedstore. The 100 seed varieties will be displayed and redistributed in the community with their stories at a Community event in late Autumn. The Timebank will also keep seeds for sowing in future  growing projects across the area. I am very curious to see what the Stonehouse ‘garden’ looks, smells and tastes like..


Eat Your Campus Autumn updates

See Fruit Routes blog for more details of harvesting, feasting, walking and more 25 and 26 October at Loughborough University @fruitroutes for regular updates.  Doing a Webinar on Fruit Routes for the EAUC Sustainability Exchange on 24 October 12-1pm please come and join us. Visit this weblink to book in.  Also very excited to be starting a research and scoping phase with Exeter University Arts & Culture + Kaleider to develop a Fruit Routes project at Exeter.

Newlyn Gallery Residency as part of Transition 10

I’ll be creating a new corn mask as part of Transition 10 at the Newlyn Gallery, Penzance from November 5-9th with visitors to the gallery. The collaborative making process sparks conversations that circle around some of the themes and ideas explored in the work and during the week I’ll be experimenting with ways of documenting and framing these exchanges within the space.

corndollieswebjimage: Corn Dolly performance, House of Commons 2005

Fruit Routes in Summer

I hosted a day of events on 19 June at Loughborough University including a guided walk round the first Fruit Route, wild teas and tasseography (reading the future in your tea) in collaboration with Paul Conneally, a twilight bat walk with Ed Derby and a loan of Nikki Pugh’s sonar goggles. Over 100 people attended the day. Fruit Routes is a project to make an Edible Campus through focusing on a creative, inclusive culture around food and ecology, foraging and new planting. See Fruit Routes blog teaparty1tealeaves2batmandavid

Patch Efford

We are running our 5th Little Patch of Ground project in Efford, Plymouth this year in partnership with Take A Part. A Little Patch of Ground is a project I co-devised with Ruth Ben-Tovim, Encounters Arts back in 2009.

The project brings together an inter-generational group of local residents to meet once a week from April– July to create and grow a permaculture designed vegetable garden, cook and eat together and share personal stories about their relationships with the natural world. These personal experiences are woven together into a multi-media performance presented by the group, that reflects the shared stories, thoughts and ideas unearthed during the project.   We had our first session last night. Great to get some seedlings in the planters and start to get to know one another and to know that we are off again on this epic journey with 25 new people. Follow the Patch blog.


Shed on Wheels at Plymouth College of Art

sow6     sow4

sow8   sow2

i was invited to work with second years on BA (Hons) Fine Art, Critical and Curatorial Practices with Plymouth College of ArtThis included a day of teaching and residency with the Shed on Wheels. Spent the day with 2nd year Fine Art students and lots of other art college staff, students and passers by. Had the afternoon to offer some tutorials before trundling back to the depot. The students particularly enjoyed the nettle and blackberry leaf tea and crystallised primroses with their roll-ups and exchanged ideas for ways to use and curate SOW.

Our Beaches

guillemotbloghead guillemotnews

Visited the coast today with friend Alison Fogg. The beach was littered with 35 dead birds, some still washing ashore with the tide, entombed in what looks like thick, gooey, glue.

This is (PIB) Polyisobutene, a lubricant additive which is currently legally flushed out from ships at sea.It is fatal to a range of seabirds which dive for food or sit on the surface and are coated in this substance which sticks to their wings and bodies and prevents them from moving and feeding leading to hypothermia, starvation and death. There is also a risk of the birds ingesting PIB. Its not biodegradable so will persist in the marine ecosystem. Thousands of dead seabirds are washing up in coves and beaches from Cornwall to Dorset.  Its all over our beaches.  Clods of PIB are visible sticking together bits of flotsam and jetsam on the tideline and as floating on the surface of rock pools.

Alison has been visiting local beaches for the last week religiously counting and recording the birds. We mostly saw Guillemots in  cling film shrouds dotted with coloured beads of plastic waste which have stuck to the PIB.On a nearby rock shelf, baby seagulls being fed on the fresh plasticized meat..I’m wondering how to respond to this scene of ecological devastation so close to my home. I think this may change how I feel when I look out at the vast ocean forever. Came home with PIB, like chewing gum, stuck to my boots.

Fruit Routes


I was invited to co-deliver a presentation on Fruit Routes at EAUC (Environmental Association of Universities & Colleges) Conference at Nottingham University. A good day with some great questions and ideas on how to get similar projects started on other University campus’s.

Lumb Bank Residency


In early Spring I had a week in residence at Ted Hughes Arvon Centre, Lumb Bank.  I was invited by Lucy Neal to be part of a group of artists feeding into and exploring structures for her forthcoming publication Playing For Time ‘a handbook that joins the dots between the philosophies of art and the creative skills that are emerging in response to the planetary challenges we face’. The week included inspirational talks from Jenny Sealey from Graeae Theatre and Geoff Tansy on food systems.