About

Feral State is an interdisciplinary practise led by artist, educator and mother Laurel Gallagher. Collaborative projects explore the relationship between childhood, wildness and wellbeing through immersive experiences, co-creative processes and academic evaluation.

Artist led workshops, community events and research projects transform physical spaces, build a sense of community and love of nature.

Placemaking

Anywhere – and, it follows, nowhere – can be a place. As long as we are there, to think and talk, to listen and respond. Mark Kingwell

The Feral Spaces project works with disadvantaged urban communities to reclaim public spaces for creativity, adventure and play. We create immersive art experiences, digital narratives and public events that build connections between place, nature and community.

Since 2016 the Feral Spaces project has delivered free activities for young people in Stoke on Trent to reduce anti-social behaviour, develop safe spaces and connect young people with nature. Our projects have received funding from the Arts Council, Big Lottery Fund, Canal and River Trust and Stoke on Trent City Council.

Feral Spaces short films, magazines and reports document the relationship between young peoples, urban wild spaces and well being. Read the Taste of an urban wilderness 2018 report and join the debate about the value of disused urban spaces for young people.

Wellbeing

Naturedeficit disorder is not a formal diagnosis, but a way to describe the psychological, physical and cognitive costs of human alienation from nature, particularly for children in their vulnerable developing years. Richard Louv

There is a growing body of evidence that children missing out on outdoor play is a cause for concern. Possible links between lack of outdoor play and rising levels of childhood obesity, increasing levels of screen time in children and a rise in mental health issues in children have led to a number of interventions from organisations such as the National Trust, Natural England and RSPB aiming to reconnect children with nature.

The Feral Spaces project addresses how children living in disadvantaged urban areas can connect with nature and what impact it can have on their well being. We are currently undertaking research in partnership with Derby University, funded by the Canal and River Trust, to investigate how our activities benefit young people’s well being. Leading on from this we are hosting a public conversation to discuss the value of disused urban spaces for young people and communities. A report sharing our findings will be available Autumn/ Winter 2018.

Art

Children escape their homes, discover wild places and in a feral state return

Laurel Gallagher‘s work  investigates processes of transformation and metamorphosis.  Her paintings, video and immersive art experiences explore states of flux between illustration and abstraction, chaos and control, capturing moments of change and imagination.


Portraits blending human and animal qualities question our sense of identity while birds become symbolic messengers reminding us to connect with the wild. Abstract layers of dripping paint create a space where we are free to explore our imagination and look through worlds of possibility.

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Consultation

Lets talk about childhood, wildness and well being. I work with community groups, organisations and schools to build social value in disused spaces and empower children through creativity.