Who we are

UrbanWilderness@CentralForestPark,Hanley,Stoke-on-Trent-16

Laurel Gallagher BA (hons) Fine Art, PGCE & PGDip Art & Design Education, Action Research Fellow (CUSP)

Laurel’s place-based art practice interrogates concepts of value in relation to public land use, particularly in areas of urban deprivation. Laurel works in collaboration with young people, local community groups and artists to produce social, physical and psychological interventions that question economic land value systems. Working with academic partners under the name ‘Feral State’ Laurel develops action research projects evidencing the positive impact that connecting young people with disused urban land has on their wellbeing, sense of identity and belonging.

Laurel is co-director of the not for profit company Urban Wilderness producing youth led placemaking projects, co-creative experiences and narratives that challenge perceptions of young people, urban deprivation and public land use.

Dr Jenny Hallam works as a senior lecturer in Psychology at the University of Derby. Jenny has a long standing research interest in the arts and exploring the ways in which the co production of artwork shapes children’s understanding and experiences of the visual arts. Initially, her focus centred on using ethnographic methods to investigate the ways in which art is taught in primary schools. More recently, Jenny’s research has been informed by a community psychology approach and she works closely with Urban Wilderness as part of a research partnership. This on going research collaboration seeks to explore the ways in which nature and the arts are incorporated into community projects for children and young people which are designed to support wellbeing and tackle social inequality.