Research Projects

Exploring wild spaces and wellbeing Growing levels of childhood obesity, increasing amounts of screen time and rising reports of mental health issues in children and young people have become a cause for concern. Dr Jenny Hallam, Senior Lecturer in Psychology at the University of Derby, looks at the benefits of nature and outdoor play in tackling these problems.


Action research project co-produced by Laurel Gallagher and Jenny Hallam with funding from the Canal and River Trust.

Exploring wild spaces and wellbeing with young people

2019 Nature Connections Conference Presentation at Derby University

Feral Futures Exhibition showcasing the finds of ten child explorers who investigated, mapped and recorded a local area of disused, wild industrial space. Through play, discussion and experiment, the children found clues about how this space once emerged and came to an end, which non-human friends are using it now and what sort of future it might yet have.


Public engagement workshop co-produced by Laurel Gallagher and Ben Anderson (Keele University) with funding from the Being Human Festival 2018.

Stoking Curiosity 2018

BBC Radio 3 Why trespassing is the right way to go!

Adapt the Nothing The peripheralisation of ordinary groups of young people leaves Middleport with the impression of a monoculture of troubled and troublemaking teens, but in reality, there are many more positive young people whose imprint cannot be felt in the public realm. The ‘Planning the Future’ workshop was co-designed by Nicola Winstanley and Laurel Gallagher to introduce basic concepts of planning then support young people to create a campaign of tactical urbanism that led to unexpected results.


Publication documenting workshops, experiences and groups associated with Middleport, produced by Nicola Winstanley with funding from the Arts Council.

Co-creative processes Forest Worlds Festival 2019 is an Urban Wilderness production that will facilitate action research into processes of co-creation between artists and young people. Research partner Dr. Jenny Hallam (Derby University) will evaluate co-creative processes for publication and dissemination.

Forest Worlds Festival banner 30.04.19

Urban Wilderness empowers young people to discover belonging, adventure, and creativity in urban green spaces. It is a not for profit company funded by The National Lottery Community Fund and Arts Council.