Trellis: Public Art 2020-21
Funded by UCL Public Art and the EPSRC Impact Acceleration Account

Trellis 2 concluded with a series of online events and digital exhibition in April 2021.  Visit the Trellis Festival website and find out more about the five collaborations. 

Trellis 2 kicked off in February 2020 when 80+ artists and researchers were brought together through a series of matchmaking events in east London. From this, nine artist-researcher partnerships were awarded £2,000 to develop collaborative ideas, and five partnerships were commissioned £15,000 to create work with each other and local east London communities. The five commissioned projects continued to develop work during the global pandemic. You can find out more about the process of developing partnerships during the pandemic

Trellis: Public Art is funded by UCL Public Art and the EPSRC Impact Acceleration Account, and aims to facilitate knowledge exchange between researchers, communities and individuals based around the future UCL East campus.

Flow Unlocked - Jon Adams, Briony Campbell and Georgia Pavlopoulou

Flow Unlocked is a creative participatory research project which seeks to highlight the importance of relationships to autistic people, rewrite the damaging stereotypes that exist about autistic people and investigate the questions of co-authorship and representation inherent to our process.

Traditionally, projects are made about autistic people not with them, the consequences of which continue to harm autistic lives. Flow Unlocked breaks the mould by redefining autistic narratives from the perspective of lived experience. Autistic people relate to the world with intense sensitivity. This is rarely recognised let alone celebrated. With our autistic participants we are reflecting on the relationships that have sustained autistic people during the pandemic, as well as those they miss. 

With authentic participation as a priority within Flow Unlocked, we are looking at our approach to collaboration not just as a methodology but also a subject to study in itself. We aim to turn our process inside out so it can be revealed to our audience, in parallel to the core stories of autistic relationships.  

Flow Unlocked is an interdisciplinary collaboration between Jon Adams, autistic artist and campaigner, Briony Campbell, artist and facilitator, and Dr Georgia Pavlopoulou, researcher in Developmental Psychology and Mental Health, UCL specialist in autistic people's relationships. 

Flow unlocked has been featured on the website of the The British Psychological Society.

Jon Adams

Jon is a polymath artist working cross-platform with image, poetry, sound, performance and spoken word. His work references synaesthesia, autism, dyslexia, autobiography, science and hidden metaphor, resulting in unique visual perspectives of systemizing history, time and place. 

His national artist profile includes commissions from Parliament, Autism Research Centre Cambridge, London2012, Wellcome, Arts Council England & Leverhulme grants and has worked alongside Sir Peter Brook. He campaigns for wider recognition, equity and understanding of Neurodivergent Culture within the arts as ‘Flow Observatorium’. He actively promotes research into suicide in autism, mental health of artists and dismantling barriers to inclusion and participation. 

Dr Georgia Pavlopoulou

I have been working for 18 years with autistic people and their families. I train mental health practitioners across the UK, through HEE fundings at Anna Freud Centre. I am an Early Career Researcher based at UCL, Department of Psychology and Human Development. I have a passion working with multidisciplinary teams, experts by experience and scholar activists in community-based mental health research. I am using a combination of behavioural, phenomenological and participatory techniques together with a developmental approach to understand social determinants of common aversive experiences in autistic people and their families (stress, sleep, loneliness, low mood, trauma). 

Briony Campbell 

I am a photographer, filmmaker and creative facilitator. I create stories about how our interactions form our identities, which have been exhibited and awarded internationally. Relationships, intercultural relations, social integration, and loss are main themes. Projects include: An ongoing documentary on British+African families in East Africa; 'The Dad Project', a collaboration with my Dad in the last months of his life; A film about differing belief systems within close relationships. I believe that participatory methodologies can amplify the diversity of voices that a healthy society needs to hear. I have collaborated with academics, health professionals, campaigners, activists and artists. Briony's website.

a hand casts a shadow over a round glass lampshade

Xenia Citizen Science Project - Sarah Carne, Charnett Chau and Danielle Purkiss

Over the course of six months Charnett Chau and Danielle Purkiss from the UCL Plastic Waste Innovation Hub and artist Sarah Carne will be collaborating with Xenia, a Hackney based organisation for women learning English and women who speak English. Together we will run a Citizen Science Project around plastic design, food waste and composting. Current data associated with the UCL Plastic Waste Innovation Hub’s Big Compost Experiment indicates there is a bias towards involvement by people who are already enthusiastic about the environment and have access to gardens or allotments. Our approach addresses this by inviting a community based on unrelated factors but who share with us an interest in knowledge exchange. Xenia’s values state: “We welcome all women, we value everyone’s experiences and knowledge, we take time to listen and understand, we all have something to teach, we all have something to learn.” By working together the project aims to increase our understanding of research processes, develop new approaches to public engagement and explore mediums for science-led production of art. 

Charnett Chau

Charnett is a Research Associate within the Department of Chemical Engineering and at the UCL Plastic Waste Innovation Hub (PWIH). She has a biochemical engineering background and is specialised in applying life cycle thinking to analyse the environmental impact of products and systems - life cycle assessments (LCAs). She has co-authored reports on the current UK system for biodegradable plastics and recently on the environmental dangers of single-use masks. Her research approach within the Hub informs areas for improvement within plastic systems and assists with the optimisation of sustainable design-interventions. Charnett is interested in the communication of research to the public and is intrigued by how art can enhance this communication.

Danielle Purkiss

Danielle is an Architect, designer, communicator, and Research Fellow at the UCL Plastic Waste Innovation Hub (PWIH). Drawing from a diverse range of design and communication skills, her research focus is on sustainable design led systems interventions and circular economy thinking. Danielle is co-creator of the Big Compost Experiment citizen science study into compostable plastics, and has co-authored reports on the current UK system for biodegradable plastics with PWIH. Danielle is interested in exploring the intersection of art, design, and materials research, with a particular focus on the role of communication techniques to facilitate the exchange of ideas.

Sarah Carne

Sarah Carne is an artist based in east London whose concerns are around status, value and rank and how these determine the opportunities we access, the materials we use and how we are perceived. Of particular interest are age, gender and how our society is structured to privilege those who can manifest confidence. She uses text, video and conversation as a way of drawing attention to and undermining the metrics and language that serve as barriers to participation. She has no interest in telling anyone they should be the best version of themselves but might ask what their best vegetable is. 

Mulberry: The Tree of Plenty - Sara Heywood & Jane Watt and David Chau

Mulberry - The Tree of Plenty is a collaborative project by artists Sara Heywood & Jane Watt and David Chau, Associate Professor in Biomaterials and Allied Subjects at the Eastman Dental Institute, UCL. The project will explore how the iconic mulberry tree can be used as a vehicle to stimulate discussion, debate and engagement in cutting-edge research and applications in biotechnology, heritage and contemporary engaged art practice. The process of material investigation and its applications are at the heart of this project. Researcher and artists will work with community participants to embark on a journey to learn more about this iconic tree in Bethnal Green, east London. Together, they will explore local heritage using interactive sessions that include walks, mulberry tasting, ink and dye drawing, cultivation of tree cuttings as well as a range of scientific experiments that incorporate techniques such as microscopy, gel development and characterisation, and the skeletonizing/ghosting of mulberry leaves.

Their findings will form a new art work that will be shared with a wider audience through a temporary exhibition in spring 2021.

Sara Heywood & Jane Watt

Sara Heywood and Jane Watt have developed and presented art projects independently and collaboratively for over twenty years, nationally and internationally. They apply analogue and digital techniques to drawing, installation, performance, film, photography, audio and sculpture. Intrinsic to their practice is a shared interest in developing partnership and collaboration through dialogue with people and place such as commission projects with Bow Arts and Notting Hill Housing at Royal Docklands, London as well as Central St Martin’s, Islington Council with TfL in Archway, London. Their recent public commission Reflections on Home involved over 250 local people on the Alton Estate, Roehampton, resulting in interactive sound sculptures, performance walks and a mobile walking app. 

Instagram: @sara.heywood    @janewattprojects.com

David Chau

David specialises in the development and (re)purposing of materials for novel uses including healthcare, drug development, the environment and sustainability. He originally trained as a chemical engineer before gaining an interest in biotechnology (BEng, MSc, University of Birmingham) which led to the completion of a PhD in Tissue Engineering and Biomaterials (Nottingham Trent/Aston University). He undertook a PDRA role with Professor Kevin Shakesheff and Professor Amir Ghaemmaghami (University of Nottingham) in Tissue Engineering/Advanced Drug Delivery/Immunology, as well as a Senior PDRA with the Cell and Organism Engineering Laboratory of Professor Alan Tunnacliffe (University of Cambridge). Continuing his research and academic interests as Lecturer/Senior Lecturer in Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences, at the University of Hertfordshire, he then joined UCL. Information on David's work is available on the UCL website.

Edwin Mingard and Keren Weitzberg

Edwin Mingard and Keren Weitzberg are working on a moving-image piece that explores surveillance and asylum seeking in East London. Whilst the project is borne from overlapping professional interests, we see it as a chance to work in a mutual way with partners who have been oppressed by the UK’s border regime, providing the platform and support to tell a story with many voices. The piece will be produced in close collaboration with those who have first-hand experience, and other stakeholders including migrant advocacy groups. The overriding conceptual concern of the piece is the relationship between ‘identity’ (individually and socially constructed narratives of self) and ‘identification’ (the state-driven processes of labeling and authenticating individuals). The work will juxtapose the machine-readable, databased human so central to the architecture of the Home Office, with the multi-dimensional human realities of migrants’ lives. We see this work as a way of turning the lens on the hostile environment policy which has brought devastation to so many, whilst exploring that which escapes the grasp of the Home Office: the rich, textured cultural and social lives of those who have made East London their home. 

Keren Weitzberg

I am an interdisciplinary historian who works at the intersection of science and technology studies, migration studies, and critical race studies. I examine problematics related to mobility, digital identity, and biometrics. My first book, We Do Not Have Borders: Greater Somalia and the Predicaments of Belonging in Kenya, looked at Somali transnational networks in Kenya. My new project explores the history of biometric identification in Kenya and the impact of new digital identity systems on those at the political and economic margins. My recent work has been funded by the British Academy/Leverhulme Trust, the American Council of Learned Societies, the Fulbright Program, Privacy International, and the Alan Turing Institute.

Edwin Mingard

I am a socially engaged visual artist. I hold a Philosophy degree from the London School of Economics and Political Science. I have a parallel moving image curatorial practice, and have founded collaborative organisations in the arts sector including Deptford Cinema (London, UK) and satellite, a moving image organisation. Recently I was selected for Constellations (2019-20), a national, socially-engaged artists research programme curated by UP Projects/FlatTime House; received a BFI Made Of Truth Award (2019); received Encounters Festival’s Depict British Special Mention Award (2018) for my artists film Walk; and was selected as one of 2020’s Bloomberg New Contemporaries. 

Light-Wave - Rubbena Aurangzeb-Tariq and Bencie Woll

Light-Wave is a collaboration between Professor Bencie Woll (DCAL), Rubbena Aurangzeb-Tariq (Artist) and the east London deaf community.

East London’s deaf Community is a long-established, constituent part of East London life. However, the community has invariably been underrepresented or wholly unrepresented in cultural discourses. Our project aspires to facilitate a creative collaboration between us and local deaf people which affords recognition to the east London Deaf community’s history, culture and language, thereby creating an artistic and academic legacy and tangible symbol of the community’s richness and resilience.

Our research has involved multiple facilitated group discussions with deaf community members where we have explored themes such as:

  • The historical development of the community and sites of deaf historical significance in the area.
  • Sign Language development and use in East London, and its relationship to the wider corpus of British Sign Language (BSL)
  • Community diversity, and faith-community influences on development and use of sign language, and technological influences
  • Ideas for co-creation of artwork.

Our discussion groups were drawn to the theme of cartographic representation, where east London locations that have deaf cultural and historical significance could be ‘mapped’ in a mosaic style using imagery of Sign Language specific to the area. 

Covid meant that all discussions have taken place remotely. By this happy ‘accident’ the myriad of creative possibilities of digital video platforms became increasingly apparent to us. Sign Languages are uniquely visuo-spatial and kinetic in nature, and digital platforms such as Zoom can enable co-creation where the sign language and the deaf people themselves can move to the heart of the creative process in a uniquely innovative way.

Importantly use of digital video technology enables recording of discussions and sign language in a format which can be incorporated into DCAL’s BSL Corpus to become an invaluable linguistic research resource.

Light Wave references Deaf culture, when Deaf people gather together they wave hands and flash lights to gain attention, and this project is endeavouring to bring wider attention and visibility to the east London deaf community's presence.

Rubbena Aurangzeb-Tariq

Rubbena is a London-based artist and facilitator whose work concerns culture, deaf identity and, as a deaf woman of Pakistani heritage, the multi-faceted nature of being a ‘minority within a minority’. Through painting and installations, she creates visual representations of language and emotional expression through her use of colour and form. Rubbena has exhibited widely nationally and internationally and has featured several times on national TV. Recent commissions have included work for the ITV ‘Create’ series broadcast in 2019, and being Lead Artist for ‘Translating the Deaf Self’, a joint academic and artistic project exploring deaf peoples’ lived experience of being represented through translation. 

Bencie Woll

I have been involved in sign language research for nearly 40 years, and have been at UCL since 2005, founding the Deafness Cognition and Language Research Centre in 2006. My research and teaching interests embrace a wide range of topics related to sign language, including the linguistics of British Sign Language (BSL), the history and sociolinguistics of BSL and the Deaf community, sign language and the brain, and automated translation of BSL. In 2012 I was elected as a Fellow of the British Academy, and in 2016 as a Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science.


These five projects were selected from nine collaborations that were seed funded £2,000 to work up an idea. These nine projects were led by:

  • Artist Sarah Carne working with Danielle Purkiss (Civil, Environmental and Geomatic Engineering) and Charnett Chau (Chemical Engineering), both working in the Plastic Waste Innovation Hub.
  • Artist Jo Guile working with Dr Emily J. Patterson (Institute of Ophthalmology)
  • Artist Dana Olarescu working with Kirsty Badenoch (Bartlett School of Architecture)
  • Artist Mark Titchner working with Dr Tabea Schoeler (Department of Clinical, Educational and Health Psychology)
  • Artist Rubbena Aurangzeb-Tariq working with Prof Bencie Woll (Deafness Cognition and Language Research Centre (DCAL)
  • Artists Sara Heywood and Jane Watt working with Dr David Chau (Division of Biomaterials and Tissue Engineering, Eastman Dental Institute)
  • Artist Helena Hunter working with Tchern Lenn (MRC Laboratory for Molecular Cell Biology (LMCB)) and Rafael Schacter (UCL Anthropology)
  • Artists Briony Campbell and Jon Adams working with Dr Georgia Pavlopoulou (Psychology & Human Development and Psychology and Language Science)
  • Artist Edwin Mingard working with Dr Keren Weitzberg (UCL History)
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