Ask the Wood

16 May 2017

Event times

Doors open from 6.30pm for drinks and introduction to the SLBI herbarium, library and garden.
Panel event starts 7.15pm

Cost of entry

Tickets £8 / £6 SLBI members

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South London Botanical Institute

England, United Kingdom

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British artists Marcus Coates and Feral Practice, together with an esteemed panel of naturalists, invite the audience to bring deep-rooted personal questions and thorny problems to be deliberated and fathomed via the wisdom of the woods.


British artist Marcus Coates, together with an esteemed panel of naturalists – forest scientist Gabriel Hemery, mycologist Irene Palmer, urban ecologist Mathew Frith and plant folklorist Roy Vickery - invite the audience to bring deep-rooted personal questions and thorny problems to be deliberated and fathomed via the wisdom of the woods.

Subverting a ‘Gardeners Question Time’ format, Ask the Wood will look at strategies and relationships that have evolved between species in woodlands that could provide new frameworks for approaching questions concerned with human society (e.g. How can I avoid conflicts with my difficult neighbour?). The panel will use their specialist knowledge of the intricate relationships that have evolved in nature to open up unexpected pathways of creative thinking for everyday life.

The event pushes at the edge of what we think we know and interweaves traditionally opposed disciplines in knowledge to re-entwine human and nonhuman meaning-making.

We invite audience members, and others, to generate a question of concern to them, which can be considered by the panel. Please email your question to fiona@feralpractice.com, tweet to @feralpractice, or bring it with you on the night.

The Panel

Marcus Coates is a British artist best known for his performances and projects that access understanding beyond the rational and explore our relationship to non-human nature.

Gabriel Hemery is a forest scientist and author of several books on forests and trees, including The New Sylva in 2014.

Irene Palmer is a fungi and orchid specialist and Chair of the Orpington Field Club.

Roy Vickery is a botanist and author of several books on British plant folklore, and President of the SLBI.

Mathew Frith is an urban ecologist and Director of Conservation for the London Wildlife Trust.

Feral Practice is the multispecies art collective conducted by British artist Fiona MacDonald.

Please note that we will be audio recording the event and taking photographs.

Venue details:


Ticket sales:


Or contact SLBI direct on: 020 8674 5787 / info@slbi.org.uk

(tickets are available from 20 April)


Fiona MacDonald

Exhibiting artistsToggle

Marcus Coates

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