Growth and Decay

703 Grave Image2


15 Jul 2017



We will walk through Kensal Green Cemetery, and look back to look forward with Museum of London osteologist Jelena Bekvalac who specialises in reading the bones of dead Londoners. Neuroscientist Dr Andrea Mechelli of King’s College London, Michael Smythe of Nomad Projects, Jo Gibbons and Neil Davidson, Urban Mind collaborators will discuss citizen science and realtime collection of data on state of mind in the city. Dr Tereza Stehlikova’s film pieces of a disappearing neighbourhood will be screened in the Dissenters’ Chapel.

List of speakers

  • SJ Fowler

    Steven Fowler is a British poet working in the avant garde, or vanguard tradition. He has published six collections of poetry and been commissioned by the Tate, the London Sinfonietta, Liverpool Biennial, Composite Feedback in Manchester and Reel Arts amongst others. Beginning in 2014, he will be poet in residence at J & L Gibbons. Soil, a poem sequence, mirrors the ongoing discussion with Jo and Neil. It is about the underneath, the stepped upon of the city, the invisible ground, drawing inspiration from the remarkable oeuvre of British poet Allen Fisher.

  • Dr ​Tereza Stehlíková

    Tereza Stehlíková is an artist working in primarily in moving image, as well as performance. She holds a PhD from the Royal College of Art, where she researched the tactile language of film. She is currently engaged in a cross-disciplinary research, exploring how moving image can be used to capture and communicate multi-sensory experience and embodied memory. Stehlikova is also a senior lecturer at the University of Westminster and a research coordinator at the RCA. She is a founder of Sensory Sites, an international collective generating collaborative exhibitions and research projects that explore sensory perception and bodily experience. She also co-founded Artesian, a journal for committed creativity. Stehlikova’s films have been shown at a number of international festivals as well as in the UK. Her latest film Trieste, a collaboration with writer Deborah Levy, was premiered at Whitechapel Gallery, London. 

  • ​Jelena Bekvalac

    Museum of London

    Jelena Bekvalac is a Curator of Human Osteology at the Centre for Human Bioarchaeology, Museum of London, and has been at the Centre since its establishment with funding from the Wellcome Trust in 2003. My curatorial role is both interesting and varied involving curating the extensive archaeologically derived skeletal assemblages, recording & analysing the osteological data, assisting researchers, teaching, presenting talks and participating in outreach events. Specialist interests include palaeopathology and post-medieval bioarchaeology.  Learning about the people of the past is fascinating and the skeletal collections are a unique way of being able to reveal the stories of the lives of the people. Exhibitions have been a wonderful means of sharing such stories being a co-curator with Wellcome, Skeletons: London Buried Bones; Doctors, Dissection and Resurrection Men at MoL and Bite of the Past at the British Dental Association. Current research CoLAT funded project the Impact of Industrialisation on London Health.

  • Dr Andrea Mechelli

    King's College London

    Dr. Andrea Mechelli is Reader in Early Intervention at the Institute of Psychiatry, Psychology & Neuroscience (King’s College London), and an honorary clinical psychologist in the South London & Maudsley NHS Foundation Trust. The focus of his research and teaching is early intervention in psychosis - an evidence-based, holistic and person-centered approach that is effective in promoting long-term recovery. A core aim of his practice is to develop and evaluate novel tools for detecting and treating the early stages of the illness. He has published 134 peer-reviewed papers in leading scientific journals, and is involved in a number of international multi-centre studies.

  • Michael Smythe

    Nomad Projects

    Michael Smythe is the Creative Director and Senior Producer of Nomad Projects, an independent arts commissioning and production foundation that nurtures action-research and collaborative encounters in the public realm. 

    Current projects include ‘Phytology', an artist & community led project exploring the use, value, resilience and function of wildness within urban ecosystems & ‘Urban Mind’ (www.urbanmind.info), a research based collaboration exploring how city living is affecting mental wellbeing.

    Past commissions include ‘So Below’ by Sam Wallman (www.sobelow.org); ‘Vision Quest’ by Marcus Coates (http://nomadprojects.org/project/vision-quest/),‘Backyard’ by Off The Wall Players (www.backyardproject.org); ‘The Memory of W.T Stead’ by Lundhal & Seitl (http://nomadprojects.org/project/wt-stead/); and the award winning ‘Ourhouse’ series by Nathaniel Mellors (http://nomadprojects.org/project/ourhouse/).

  • Johanna Gibbons

    J & L Gibbons, Landscape Learn

    Johanna Gibbons is a Landscape Architect founding Partner of J & L Gibbons established in 1986. Jo studied Landscape Architecture at Edinburgh College of Art. She is a Fellow of the Landscape Institute and serves on several design advisory panels including Historic England, The Forestry Commission and HS2. Her design practice with Neil Davidson is award winning, and together they have founded Landscape Learn in 2016, a new prototype for learning and engaging with the landscape. Jo’s expertise concerns heritage, green infrastructure and urban regeneration and she leads on collaborative cross-disciplinary practice at a strategic and local level. She is external examiner at University of Edinburgh and her recently exhibited work includes ‘Urbanistas’ celebrating innovative women in urban design.

  • Neil Davidson

    J & L Gibbons, Landscape Learn

    Neil is a landscape architect and Partner of J & L Gibbons and founding Director of Landscape Learn. He trained at Edinburgh College of Art. Neil is particularly interested in a collaborative design approach that reveals synergies between the natural, built and cultural environments.  His research explores the use of historic narratives in a contemporary context, to inform designs for healthy and liveable environments. Neil maintains strong links with education. He taught at the Architectural Association and has been a guest lecturer at the University of Cambridge, CASS and Edinburgh College of Art. Neil is a Built Environment Expert for CABE at the Design Council, a member of the Lewisham Design Review Panel and a trustee of the Bethnal Green Nature Reserve Trust.