The event took place on the 9th March, RCA White City 10am – 5pm. Watch the documentation here and read all description of talks and bios below:

Dr Jon Goodbun – Gregory Bateson’s Ecological Aesthetic

9th March: White City GH109, 10am-11.30am

The talk considers how ecology – a term that emerged into popular consciousness in the 1960’s as a byword for holistic/ systemic thinking – has returned to prominence in recent years across disciplines beyond its original terms of use, including design theory and practice. Within the natural sciences, ecology is above all characterised by a holistic approach that focuses on organisation and the internal/external relational dynamics of ‘wholes’ or ‘assemblages’ such as ecosystems. Goodbun reviews how the concept of ecology has developed historically, and defines ecology by drawing together the ecological aesthetics in the work of Gregory Bateson, Erik Swyngedouw, David Harvey and Matthew Gandy.

Dr Jon Goodbun trained as an architect, and currently is a researcher, practitioner and educator at the RCA, the University of Westminster (Msc Advanced Environmental Design), and the Bartlett (MArch). His research focuses on the intersection of ecological theory, cybernetics, anthropology and urbanism. Recent publications include Scarcity: Architecture in an Age of Depleting Resources (Wiley) and Design of Scarcity (Strelka).

Andy Goldring – Nature Is A Place Called Home

9th March: White City GH109, 10am-11.30am

“The major problems in the world are the result of the difference between how nature works and the way people think” – Gregory Bateson

Permaculture is a way of learning to ‘think and act like an ecosystem’. Andy will outline the broad ethical, ecological and design principles of permaculture and show how these are being used here and around the world to transform homes, gardens, farms, schools, businesses, communities and entire regions towards personal social and environmental well-being.

Resources and links will be provided to give participants clear next steps for learning and action.

Andy Goldring is Chief Executive of the Permaculture Association. Andy has led the development of a national demonstration network with over 120 Centres across England and Scotland, a diploma scheme supporting over 400 apprentices, an active and growing research programme, dialogue to take permaculture forwards internationally and a shift towards a more eco-entrepreneurial direction for the association.

Katie Shaw – Growing Plants, Growing People, Growing Communities

9th March: White City GH109, 11.45am-1pm

Katie Shaw will talk about her work in Hammersmith Community Gardens Association (HCGA). The HCGA is a local environmental charity which manages two community garden sites at Loris Road W6 and Godolphin Road W12 and the glasshouses at Ravenscourt Park. HCGA is also a partner organisation managing the Phoenix School Farm and Learning Zone in White City.

Katie Shaw is the Operations Manager at Hammersmith Community Gardens Association and has been with the charity for six years, managing the charity’s community gardens, volunteer programme, communications and community outreach.  Katie is particularly focused on decreasing social isolation and mental health problems by bringing people together outside as well as bringing nature into daily life for everyone, especially families.  Her background is in ecology and is therefore keen to manage HCGA sites to increase biodiversity as well as promoting green initiatives locally.

Gale & Snowden – Ecological Design Thinking

9th March: White City GH109, 11.45am-1pm

A whistle-stop tour of data from the International Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) and our toxic environment followed by a trajectory for environmentally responsible design. The talk will include the work of Gale & Snowden Architects & Engineers integrating ecology, building physics, building biology, architecture and landscape design in a desire to create healthy uplifting environments that are life enhancing. The Practice has dedicated their work exclusively to ecological and healthy design for over 20 years, working throughout the UK. Gale & Snowden are working with the RCA and the RCA Students’ Union to design the new Darwin Terrace.

David Gale ARB RIBA, Managing Director
David’s background is in Biology and he is an Architect and founding Director at Gale & Snowden Architects. David is interested in holistic design and how we can apply living system understanding to create healthy and productive ecosystems where humans co-evolve as part of the ecosystem.


Jonathan Barattini ARB RIBA, Project Architect
joined Gale & Snowden Architects in 2009 and has since worked on a range of private and public-sector projects, incorporating the practice’s founding principles. Recently, as Project Architect, he has lead design teams through the delivery of more than fifty Passivhaus homes for local authorities across the South West. 

Alison O’Reilly – Sustainability As A Tool For Creativity

9th March: White City GH109, 11.45am-1pm

This talk will explore the development of a sustainability tool for commercial interior designers and the curious observations made along the way. Currently there is a gap between theory and practice and an intermediary intervention is needed. The sustainability tool being developed, aims to familiarise designers with transitional concepts and re-frame sustainability as a tool for creativity. Alison will draw inspiration from her own experiences, as well as, observations made throughout the research process.

Alison O’Reilly is a student at the RCA in Global Innovation Design (GID). Alison’s ambition is to develop and test innovative, sustainable and socially responsible solutions for application within the built environment. Before joining GID, Alison spent 10 years leading commercial interior design projects, from concept to completion, for a wide range of commercial clients in both Canada and the UK. Alison is certified in RICS SKA Ratings for Commercial Offices and BREEAM for Refurbishment and Fit-out, both environmental rating systems for the built environment.

Esther Leslie & Melanie Jackson – Deeper In The Pyramid

9th March: White City GH109, 2pm-3.30pm

Milk is polymorphic with an inclination for promiscuous collaboration – whether it be with bacteria, with cartoon avatars, with economics pornography, racial politics or genetic re-calibration. It is fundamental to all mammalian bodies, whilst also being one of the most technologised fluids on earth. In ‘Deeper in the Pyramid’ Jackson and Leslie engage  with ways milk has entered  the bio-economy and its representations, through the webs of care, exploitation and collective fantasy that interconnect life forms at every scale from the genetic, domestic to the mass industrial. For this symposium, the focus is on milk in connection to the home (home creameries, the milk of human kindness) and domestication (specifically of cattle in the spread of farming, and homelands for milk-supping neo-Fascists).

Melanie Jackson is an artist working with writing, moving image and sculpture. Melanie is based in London, represented by Matt’s Gallery and is a tutor in Sculpture at the RCA. Recent solo exhibitions in London include The Urpflanze (Part 1) and The Urpflanze (Part 2) at Drawing Room and Flat Time House, respectively.

Esther Leslie is Professor of Political Aesthetics at Birckbeck University of London. Esther’s books include Hollywood Flatlands: Animation, Critical Theory and the Avantgarde (Verso, 2002); Synthetic Worlds: Nature, Art and the Chemical Industry (Reaktion Books, 2005); Derelicts: Thought Worms from the Wreckage (Unkant, 2014) and Liquid Crystals: The Science and Art of a Fluid Form (Reaktion Books, 2016).

Keira Greene & Adam Roberts – Newhaven/Dieppe: A Crossing

9th March: White City GH109, 2pm-3.30pm

Keira Greene and Adam Roberts talked last year about the opening shot in Chantal Akerman’s final film No Home Movie (2015). They began talking about landscape as a term of art. The result was a text that Greene included in her pamphlet: Speaking to: Le passeur (The Ferryman) 1881 William Stott of Oldham (download: The closing shot of Akerman’s early News From Home (1976) is a departure by boat, or perhaps the start of a crossing, which seems like as good a place to start again when for this talk Adam will be with us in White City, in conversation with Keira who will be crossing the The English Channel by boat from Newhaven to Dieppe.

Keira Greene works across moving image and performance. Keira is preoccupied with deconstructing language, written and found, as score. Keira’s practice questions embodied research as a methodology, often explored through the moving body and writing, often becoming a film. Keira has exhibited and screened her work widely with recent exhibitions and screenings including Jerwood Space, Whitechapel Gallery, Tate, The Commons Bolinas CA. She regularly collaborates with Susannah Haslam, Jess Bunch and Tash Cox as the collective Co—. She is performance curator for Whitstable Biennale and a founding trustee of the Stuart Croft Foundation.

Adam Roberts is a London-based curator (A Nos Amours, a writer (a chapter on Akerman is forthcoming, in Chantal Akerman Afterlives, edited by Marion Schmid and Emma Wilson, Legenda, EHRC, Oxford 2018), and a film-maker (from dance films in collaboration with Jonathan Burrows to recently Trims, in memory of Chantal Akerman (presented at MAXXI Gallery, Rome, 2017).

Huma Kabakcı and Anna Skladmann – Adventitious Encounters

9th March: White City GH109, 3.45pm-5.15pmMustafa Hulusi, Untitled (Ceyland Flower and Hand), 2005, 305 x 213 cm

‘Adventitious Encounters’ is a group exhibition with 20 internationally acclaimed, emerging and established contemporary artists set in Whiteleys; an old Victorian department store. The curators of ‘Adventitious Encounters’ will explore the notions of nature, technology and the Anthropocene in the context of contemporary art practice but also in relation to site-specificity, Whiteleys’ history and its future plans. During the panel, Huma Kabakcı (the Founder of Open Space Contemporary) will speak about exhibition making in unconventional spaces within the context of now and why it is relevant, while artist and co-curator Anna Skladmann will talk further about nature and female identity. Both of the curators will present a trajectory of how the curatorial and theoretical concept developed over time.

Huma Kabakcı (b. in 1990, London, UK) graduated from BA Advertising & Marketing at London College of Communication in 2011, and later MA in Curating Contemporary Art at Royal College of Art (London). She worked and interned in various galleries, museums and auction houses, both in the UK and Turkey, including Sotheby’s New Bond Street (Contemporary Art Sales department), The Albion Gallery (London), Pera Museum (Turkey), as well as three major collection exhibitions she worked on in museums during the 2010 Ruhr & Pecs Capital of Culture project. Since graduating from her MA, Kabakcı founded Open Space Contemporary and has been collaborating with various projects and organisations including Alt, Artkurio, Block Universe, IKSV, Open Dialogue Istanbul, The Art Department and SALT. She currently lives and works between Istanbul and London.

Anna Skladmann’s (b. 1986, Bremen, Germany) artistic medium combines photography and scanning techniques to reflect critically on aspects of contemporary life and politics exploring notions of nature and society, cultivation and the machine. She is interested in the archive and categories produced and re-produced as well as being embedded in literature and mythology. Having received her MA from the Royal College of Art and her BA from Parsons School Of Design, her work has since been nominated for the Prix Pictet and Paul Huf Award, and has also won the Arles Photo Folio Prize. Permanent Collections include The Maramotti Collection, The Museum Of Fine Arts Houston, The Moscow Museum of Modern Art, Stiftung für die Hamburger Kunstsammlung and The Pinault Collection.

Warren Harper – Institute for the Recognition of Peripheral Interests (IROPI)

9th March: White City GH109, 3.45pm-5.15pmTomari NPP Visitor Centre, Tomari, Hokkaido, Japan. Image: IROPI

Institute for the Recognition of Peripheral Interests (IROPI) is a project initiated by Warren Harper and James Ravinet. Applying artistic and curatorial research as methods of enquiry IROPI begins with the peripheral communities and ecologies affected by the nuclear industry and its legacy. Its current focus is on the Blackwater Estuary, Essex; a microcosm of complex issues around history, heritage, ecology and the geo-politics of energy production, consumption and subsequent ‘disposal’. It is home to one of the UK’s first generation of nuclear power stations; the Othona Community who produce 75% of their own electricity and have their own reed bed sewage system; and off the coast is the London Array, the largest offshore wind farm in the world. To find out more about the project please visit

Warren Harper is a curator and researcher, graduating from the University of Essex with a BA in Art History and an MA in Curating Contemporary Art. His approach to working with artists is mainly collaborative, developing long-term projects and outcomes. Recent projects include MORNING (2016) with artist Shaun C. Badham and the curation of the ESSEX Architecture Weekend talks programme in September 2016 with Stephanie Sutton. He has also undertaken research for YoHa, Critical Art Ensemble and the Arts Catalyst for Wrecked on the Intertidal Zone. In 2017, with long-term collaborator James Ravinet, he participated in a research residency to Japan, supported by Arts Catalyst and S-AIR (Japan) and with funding from Arts Council England’s Artists’ International Development Fund. Here they researched nuclear power and alternative energies, meeting with artists, scientists, geographers, historians, activists and residents. They are currently working on the Institute for the Recognition of Peripheral Interests (IROPI), a project on nuclear culture.