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Littered Bodies: Practice-research with Millers Pond

Sholing Valleys is currently working with artist and researcher, Rae Turpin who is basing her PhD research in and around Millers Pond over the coming months. Her interdisciplinary research explores ecosocial relationship building in the “urban wilds”.

Here is a brief summary of Rae’s research: :

My project, “Littered Bodies: Belonging in the Urban Wilds”, broadly seeks to understand how we become, and build a sense of belonging, in urban wild settings; specifically as part of a “multispecies” (human and nonhuman) community. In particular, it aims to:

  1. understand how creative and collaborative practices can support us in creating stronger human-nonhuman relationships and better mutual futures;

  2. explore the role of so-called “undesirable” or “inconvenient” beings and things (e.g. litter, invasive species) in multispecies community building.

In focusing on the idea of “undesirables” in this community, I hope to consider how they can enable and disable our relationships with others and ourselves, and how they might potentially support us in creating better mutual futures.

As an existing volunteer at Sholing Valleys, I was inspired by Millers Pond for its unique postindustrial history, as well as the strong community of people that has emerged around it. For me, it serves as a very powerful example of how humans and nonhumans can work towards sharing spaces for mutual benefit, and with that a unique space for multispecies learnings to occur.

I will be conducting ‘field work’ with Sholing Valleys over the coming months, particularly though hosting open sessions, and a Wild Arts group. Through these I both hope to be able to work with community members to explore new immersive and creative ways of practising connection and care across the reserve.

Ways to get involved:

As a collaborative project, you can be part of this exciting research simply by coming along! Join the open sessions this spring and summer, the Wild Arts group, or any other regular Sholing Valleys activities to be part of the thriving community of multispecies care and impact the project.

Several additional community researchers who will also be working with Rae to make ‘field notes’ about their experiences. But anyone and everyone can be a researcher! Rae encourages anyone else who is willing to make notes, drawings, clippings or other types of reflections and creations regarding their experiences and observations in and around Millers Pond to share them as part of the research project. Share them here:


Rae is studying at Goldsmiths, University of London, based between the departments of Social, Therapeutic and Community Studies (STaCS) and Educational Studies. For more information visit her website ( or contact her on, or find her at a Sholing Valleys event to say hi.

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