Workshop 2 Life and death in the cemetery

workshop 2 invitation

The second workshop, called Life and Death in the Cemetery, took place in July 2021. For this workshop we worked with partner organisation, The Roving Microscope, to explore multispecies relations across different scale (including the microscopic) and in the food web in urban space. The workshop took place in Tower Hamlets Cemetery Park, an overgrown Victorian cemetery that is home to many rare species. We worked with the Roving Microscope’s practices of collecting soil samples and viewing microscopic life through community microscopes as a way of paying attention to different species across different scales and considering ways of making the invisible perceptible. We also incorporated the some of the design probes and proposals from the workbook to generate ideas for new smart city services and infrastructures that could repair interspecies relations and create more equitable cities.

In the workshop participants were given a group of species involved in the food web to role-play throughout. These included: organic matter, protozoa, plants, earthworms, birds & mammals, nematodes, fungi, bacteria, and arthropods. Participants were given badges to wear to show their species group, and were given cards with information about their species group.

We started the workshop with a string game in which participants took it turns to throw a ball of string to someone else whose group was connected to them in the food web. After time, a large string web was made, showing the representing the complexity of the food web. Following this, participants explored the park and collected samples of evidence from their species group. We spend time looking at these collections under different microscopes, and finished the workshop by designing new urban services and infrastructures for interspecies relations.

You can read more about this workshop in a reflection by Hari Byles and Ellie Doney from the Roving Microscope, in a piece called Changing our relationship with microscopic life.

Workshop Material