Invasive Ecology (a working group)

Talking Dirty Tongue First, Fran Gallardo
Talking Dirty Tongue First, Fran Gallardo

As part of a weeklong residency artist researcher Fran Gallardo, invites you to join in a group led discussion on invasive species.

We will be joined by Dr Shonil Bhagwat: Senior Lecturer in Geography at the Open University and Environmental Geographer, with broad research interests at the cross-section between natural and social sciences. His research centers on the links between environment and development. In particular, it engages critically with discussions on a variety of key environmental concerns: agriculture and food security, biodiversity conservation, climate change, ecosystem services, and sustainability. It addresses these perceived grand environmental challenges within the context of growing discussion on the Anthropocene, the age of humans.

About the workshop:

Non-native plants, animals and organisms can have detrimental effects on our environment, health and ecology – they are considered to be a form of biological pollution.

The debate and discussion will explore whether we should elevate species such as the Transexual Mitten Crab and Japanese Knot weed, to fine dining ingredients when they attack and corrode the structural integrity of our concrete landscapes and affect our boats and flood defences. Shipping industries as well as oceanic currents and global warming are often held responsible for transporting species across the globe. With Dr Bhagwat we will discuss how to think differently about invasiveness, and how to apply new tactics to engage and live with ‘novel ecosystems’, whilst also leaving space for wildness in a human-dominated planet?  

Notes from the Field: Commoning Practices in Art and Science is multi-faceted project that investigates the notion of art as a tool or tactic for action with communities, with a focus on projects involving science and technology or driven by ecological concerns.

We welcome anyone willing to participate. Please bring your ideas, knowledge of invasive species or related issues to share.

Advance tickets are £5. Booking is essential as space is limited.


Dr Shonil Bhagwat

Before joining The Open University as Lecturer in Geography in February 2013, Dr Bhagwat directed the international and interdisciplinary masters programme: Biodiversity, Conservation and Management at the School of Geography and the Environment, University of Oxford, UK (2009-2013). He held post-doctoral research appointments at the University of Oxford (2006-2009) and at the Natural History Museum, London, UK (2003-2006).

Fran Gallardo

Fran Gallardo’s background is in systems engineering. He is a member of the Environmental Art Activism movement. Fran's work explores interfaces for culture in technology and ecology. In 2015, he led the Arts Catalyst project Talking Dirty!

Tongue First: Experiments at the Mouth of the Thames. This was a series of public events including citizen science workshops, involving local foods, their source, preparation and consumption.

 In 2016 he will be the first resident artist at Arts Cataltyst's new Centre for Art Science and Technology in King's Cross. Over this period he will produce a recipe book produced in collaboration with the situated knowledge of South Essex communities, containing instructions for cooking with estuary ingredients: from Thames fish to back garden elderflower cordial. The citizen science workshops investigated the traces of waste disposal on the 'unnatural' nature research of Two Tree Island in Leigh-on-Sea, topics covered included the impact that pollution has on sourcing ingredients.