Invited Artists & Writers


Simryn Gill

Simryn Gill is an artist based in New South Wales. Between 2000 and 2003, Gill photographed abandoned, decaying building projects around Malaysia. The series presents ambitious, never-completed structures include apartment blocks, hotels and shopping malls; they are epic monuments to the Asian economic crash in the late 1990s. Alongside these contemporary structures sit abandoned properties that are the legacy of the colonial period. In the intervening years, the tropical landscape slowly reclaims these sites. Gill’s work has shown at Tate Modern, the Sydney Biennale, and the Smithsonian Institute, Washington DC.

Mandy Lee Jandrell

Mandy Lee Jandrell is an artist based in London. In projects such as ‘Eidyllion’, Jandrell photographs wildlife parks, theme parks, botanical gardens, historical recreation sites, etc. Her work examines the notion of nature as leisure activity within a consumer culture. Jandrell’s photographs expose a highly constructed manifestation of nature courtesy of the global leisure industries. Jandrell’s work has shown at Whitechapel Art Gallery, the Johannesburg Biennale, and the Royal Academy of Art, London. See,

Virginia Nimarkoh

Virginia Nimarkoh is an artist based in London. She photographs urban municipal green spaces such as parks, community gardens, city farms, etc, in south London. The project, ‘Urban Utopias’, looks at how such spaces contest our understanding of the city. Key to the work is a notion of community and provision, evident in the self-sufficiency of the allotment movement, for example. Her photography presents a horticultural ideal that belies the modest urban location. Her work has shown at ICA, London, Threadwaxing Space, New York and the Renaissance Society, Chicago.

David Spero

David Spero is an artist based in London. In ‘Settlements’, Spero photographs low impact, ecological housing in rural Britain. The structures contest what we understand as contemporary architecture, being self-built and made from recycled, natural materials, often garnered from their locale. Spero’s poignant photographs provide a view of communities whose lifestyle choices contest current debates on property, land, and the environment. Spero’s work has shown at Tate Britain, the Photographer’s Gallery and Photo España, Madrid. See,


Paul Halliday

Paul Halliday is a photographer, filmmaker and cultural sociologist based in the Centre for Urban and Community Research (CUCR). His main research interests are urban photography, visual ethnography, sociologies of art practice, ethnographic and experimental film. Paul completed a twenty-year photographic and film project about public places in London in 2006 (, and is currently completing a book project focusing on a series of urban walks in Berlin, Shanghai, London and other global cities. After several years in the CUCR as a visiting fellow researching the relationship between photography and urban ethnography, he is now the course leader of the Centre’s international MA in Photography and Urban Cultures.

Anthony Iles

Anthony Iles is a freelance writer and editor based in London. He is a contributing editor to Mute, an online and quarterly print magazine: and a regular contributor to current debates about the urban regeneration around the London 2012 Olympics. He is author of the essay ‘Of Lammas Land & Olympic Dreams’:, ‘Heavy Opera’ a review of a climate change opera/audio tour produced by the environmental group Platform: and a self-published pamphlet entitled ‘The Lower Lea Valley as Fun Palace and Creative Prison’:

Kate Soper

Kate Soper is Emeritus Professor of Philosophy in the Institute for the Study of European Transformations at London Metropolitan University. Her research interests include theory of needs and consumption, environmental philosophy and the aesthetics of nature. Her recent study on ‘alternative hedonism’ was funded in the ESRC/AHRC ‘Cultures of Consumption’ Programme ( She has contributed to Radical Philosophy, New Left Review, and Capitalism, Nature, Socialism. She is the author of What is Nature? Culture, Politics and the Non-Human (1995), and has recently published The Politics and Pleasures of Consuming Differently (ed. With Lyn Thomas and Martin Ryle), Palgrave, 2008.

John Wood

John Wood is Professor of Design at Goldsmiths, University of London, where he is coordinator of the MA Design Futures programme. He has published over 100 papers, articles and chapters, in addition to several books, the most recent of which is The Design of Micro-Utopias (2008, Ashgate). John co-founded the Attainable Utopias Network and the Journal of Writing in Creative Practice (Intellect), which he also co-authors with Julia Lockheart. Since 2005, he has led an EPSRC/AHRC funded research project exploring ‘metadesign’ and is a member of several think tanks.