Soil ecologies with Compost Mentis

In summer 2018, I had the chance to work with Hari Byles and Olly Edmonds at Bethnal Green Nature Reserve, to explore our relationships with soil, as part of the Compost Mentis project. We developed a full day workshop: the morning involved DIY soil testing and discussion of the make up of soil, and was followed by an afternoon of writing exploring soil further through imagination and words.

This followed on from the research I did as part of my Masters in Creative Writing & Education, developing a land-connected creative writing pedagogy. It was a great chance to use the research, and I loved bringing science and creativity together. We felt that each brought something different and equally important; it was really wonderful to see the ways that they informed each other.

A month later, we held a performance and discussion which brought together creative, philosophical, ethical, poetic and political concerns in relation to soil. Academics Maria Puig de la Bellacasa and Dimitris Papadopoulos shared their research, and some of the workshop participants performed their work alongside myself, Ama Josephine Budge and Helena Hunter.

We are currently creating a zine bringing some of these ideas and writing together – watch this space…

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