MA Narrative Environments Major Project at Central Saint Martins
Creative Direction, Research, Writing, Design, Project Management
Winner of the 2021 Spatial Cultural Equity award from the Spatial Practices Program Prizes 
Nominated for a MullenLowe NOVA Award, the Spatial Practices Prize, and The Steve Lumby Drawing Prize
Queer Botany is a tour with a series of outdoor interpretive displays that tell stories about plants from marginalised perspectives. The focus is on such site-specific wild plants as the dog rose, horse chestnut, coppiced willow and yellow flag. Participants can either learn about them on the project website, find the displays on their own, or be part of a guided tour at the Walthamstow Marshes, northeast London. 

The primary audience is the 18-30-year-old east London LGBTQ+ community, interested in environmental issues. The project emerges from the theoretical lens of queer ecology, which brings together queer theory and eco-criticism. A queer ecological perspective can help displace the dualities that are perceived to exist in culture and nature, preferring instead to insist on multiplicity and diversity. The aims are to share marginalised perspectives, support more diverse representations about the environment and outdoors and affirm connections between queerness and nature.​​​​​​​
Go through the visitor experience of a botanical tour through the Walthamstow Marshes from a queer perspective.
Map of the Walthamstow Marshes with descriptions of plants from a queer perspective risograph printed on recycled paper. Photo by Ryan Powell.
To meet the project’s sustainability goals, it was important to prioritise biodegradable materials. Recycled paper, plant-based textiles, and coppiced wood made for more sustainable materials that minimised the project’s carbon footprint. This was also important as a means of embracing the ephemeral and ever-changing aspect of nature as opposed to the traditional approach to outdoor interpretive displays, which often employs metals, plastic vinyl, and toxic paints in the hopes of lasting forever and needing little-to-no upkeep. 

Due to the climate emergency, the subject of ecology is urgent. Talking more about plant species can help improve biodiversity. Through the event in Walthamstow Marshes, we brought people from the community together to discuss the environment, informed people on queer ecology, shared marginalised LGBTQ+ stories, and brought attention to wild plants in the Marshes. Plants hold a wide variety of stories to be explored through narratives new and old.

Find out more about the project at and @QueerBotany on Instagram.
Horse chestnut interpretive display with benches made of birch plywood and willow branches and natural linen printed banners. Photo by Lucy Hayhoe. 
Dog rose trellis interpretive display made of willow shoots, willow branches, and printed linen. Photo by Sixto-Juan Zavala. 
Coppiced willow picnic blanket interpretive display made using tree stools, organic ripstop, and printed linen. Photo by Sixto-Juan Zavala. 
Yellow flag interpretive display made of birch plywood, willow, and printed linen. Filmed by Sally Ashby. 
Queer Botany website.
See what it was like installing the interpretive displays and going on a queer botanical tour of the Walthamstow Marshes. Filmed by Sally Ashby. Music by The Empireal Formula. 

Site research photographing and studying the various plants in the Marshes.
We leveraged social media to communicate with our target audience and engage with the community through events and workshops.
Emotional map of the visitor experience.
Queer Botany visual language.
Queer Botany material language.
Interpretive display visualisations.
Technical drawings for dog rose trellis.
Process images for designing and building the interpretive displays.
For those not on the guided tour, the visitor can  scan the QR code, where they are taken to the project website page about the dog rose with the overarching story, extended text, audio description, and more information. Photo by Ryan Powell. 
Diagram of methodology to apply to other locations.

Botanical and Horticultural Consultancy
Sophie Leguile 

Botanical Consultancy
Lizzie Roeble

Kiron Ward 

Concept Development and Installation
Lucy Hayhoe 

Making and Installation
Rosa Pascual 

Spatial Design
Phark Lertchanyakul

Sewing and Pattern Cutting
Leanne Finn-Davis

Sally Ashby

Jess Barter

Haruyasu Yanagi

Callum Murphy

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