Workshop: The Micropolitics of Planting

As part of Arts Catalyst’s programme Test Sites, an ongoing inquiry into environmental change and communities’ responses to ecological challenges, this workshop stimulates a conversation about the micropolitics of planting as a form of resistance and political experimentation.

We welcome submissions from artists, curators and researchers, scientists, community organisers and architects who are engaging with urban and rural ecologies through critical practices. As part of Arts Catalyst's ongoing interest in the diseases of the city such as pollution and toxicity and in the possibility of healing through commoning practices, the workshop aims to bring together theories and practices that deal with social and political experiments within the realm of public planting, food sovereignty, agro-politics, and common use of land.
A number of perspectives, including art/science, activism and social practices will be explored during the workshop, thus bringing to the fore the potentialities as well as the criticalities entailed in the politics of planting and growing. Which forms of cooperation and social reproduction do these practices create? And how can these micropolitical processes become socially, ecologically and politically transformative?
Please send a short bio and a brief outline (500 words max) of the project that you would like to present during the workshop to
The workshop will be facilitated by programme curator Anna Santomauro and They Are Here (Helen Walker and Harun Morrison).
Anna Santomauro is Programme Curator at Arts Catalyst. She was previously an independent curator and the Co-founder and Chief Curator of Vessel in Bari, Italy, a non-profit arts organisation that develops public programmes and alternative education projects to address contemporary social, political, and economic issues. Based in Birmingham for the last few years, Anna recently worked for Eastside Projects and is curator-in-residence at Grand Union. She is a part-time PhD candidate at the University of Wolverhampton.
They Are Here (f.2006) is a collaborative practice steered by Helen Walker and Harun Morrison. They are currently based in London and on the River Lea. Their works can be read as a series of context specific, non-narrative conceptual games. They often generate temporary systems and co-establish micro-communities that offer an alternate means of engaging with a situation, history or ideology. As artists in residence at Furtherfield, they initiated Seeds From Elsewhere (2016 - ongoing), an urban gardening project on disused land that brings together young migrants (including asylum seekers and refugees), family, friends and other professionals (including architects, photographers and carpenters). Each participant is supported to grow flowers or plants from their respective homeland. Throughout the process they literally and metaphorically ask ‘What can grow here that’s not from here?’. They Are Here work across media and types of site, particularly civic spaces. Institutions they have developed or presented work include: Camden Arts Centre, CCA Glasgow, Grand Union, Konsthall C (Stockholm), South London Gallery, Tate Britain, Tate Modern, Studio Voltaire and STUK (Leuven, Belgium).