The Garrett Centre Commission: 2019 – Hari Byles and Linden McMahon

For the Garrett Centre Commission 2019, performance poet Linden McMahon and community gardener Hari Byles, developed a participatory project, Earthlings, which responded to a number of green spaces across Bethnal Green. Hari and Linden create participatory projects which respond to accessibility, sustainability, soil and alternative sanitation through poetry, performance and conversation.

During the project, Earthlings worked with Saif Osmani from the Bengali East End Heritage Society, and Margaret Cox from the Hollybush and Teesdale Residents Association, to organise an Open Gardens Treasure Trail through some of the growing spaces surrounding the Garrett Centre. The trail included writings, poems, stories, artworks and workshops by local groups, with a treasure map created by the artist Soofiya. They also worked with the Common House to help organise the Common Ground Festival, which all took place on 25th August 2019 around Middleton Green.

To document all of the writings, artwork, reflections and connections that emerged from this project, Linden and Hari produced a zine, which is currently circulating around Bethnal Green. If you would like a copy please click here, or write to [email protected]

In 2020-2021, Linden and Hari would like to build on the work they started during this commission, joining up with speculative fiction writer and pleasure activist, Ama Josephine Budge, to think and write together about queer ecologies in Bethnal Green and beyond.

The Garrett Centre commission is intended to contribute to LADA’s engagement with our neighbourhood, with individuals and communities in Bethnal Green, and to further our role as a Centre for Live Art. Commissioned projects explore and test ideas for new ways of working within and around the Garrett Centre, and new ways of engaging with local publics and partners.

The 2019 commission forms part of LADA’s Restock, Rethink, Reflect 5: on Managing the Radical (2019-21).

The project was also funded by the Mayor of London’s Culture Seeds.

Banner image credit:

Billboard design by Saif Osmani

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