The Bartlett Centre for Advanced Spatial Analysis


Spotlight On: Leah Lovett

9 May 2019

Leah Lovett is Research Fellow on the The Listening Wood (IoT of Trees).

Leah Lovett

How would you summarise your personal research?

I'm an artist who uses performance-based methods as a means of understanding and engaging the social dimension of urban space.

Tell us a little about the research you’re doing at the moment:

The Listening Wood is a participatory, site-specific art project and digital poetic walk around fourteen of Hampstead Heath's veteran trees resulting from a collaboration with the City of London arborists who manage them. It asks how pervasive mobile technologies and technologies associated with the Internet of Things (IoT) might be deployed in open spaces like the Heath to engage visitors with the stories of its veteran trees. Veteran trees are defined as ancient for their species, or as having features, such as hollow trunks, more often associated with ancient trees. As well as supporting urban biodiversity, for instance, by providing habitats for local wildlife, the veteran trees of the Heath have an especially important cultural heritage value. Almost two centuries before its inclusion in The Listening Wood, the leaning pine of Sandy Heath was painted by the landscape artist John Constable, and the Heath is one of the key sites that has shaped the popular image of the British landscape through the work of Romantic poets such as John Keats. The Listening Wood revisits this cultural and poetic past and draws it into the digital age, using mobile communication and IoT technologies to encourage people to slow down, look up and appreciate our urban veteran trees.

What is your favourite thing about CASA?

Being able to work so closely with experts in different fields than my own - for an artist like me who tends to work collaboratively, this is the dream! 

Where can people find out more about your work?

You can find out more about The Listening Wood via thelisteningwood.com or by picking up the free handout available at Golders Hill Park cafe. I will be performing and speaking about music and migration through the lens of the Jewish diaspora at an event in London on 4th June (see https://journeytojustice.org.uk for more information). For examples of my other projects, see leahlovett.co.uk.

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