We believe creativity is key to address the climate crisis and foreground more conscious, joyful or engaging ways to relate to food and ecology. With this in mind we love to invite professionals from different fields to develop new work by spending time at the gardens and engaging in our conversations.
Our most recent residents include artist Maia Magoga, poet Will Burns and biologist Kiran Lee. Read more about their residencies below.
Artist in Residency 2020-2021
Maia Magoga is a London-born visual artist and cook of mixed Brazilian and Argentinian descent. Growing up, food was the primary love language in her home. She inherited a fondness for the potential of food to carve out loving spaces- spaces of care + nourishment that simultaneously feed a sense of belonging. Her practice continues to foreground the boundless potential of food as metaphor to address conversations around ecology, the geo-political and ancestral ways of knowing. She works with food as both subject and object.
As part of her residency, Maia wrote and illustrated the limited edition print Soil as Cosmos, which was commissioned to explore the connections between OmVed’s garden and kitchen. You can download the piece here.
To celebrate the end of her residency, she presented the solo exhibition On the Need for New Rituals.
Poet in Residence 2021-2022
Will Burns was born in London and lives in Buckinghamshire. He likes gardening, sports and birds and is Poet-In-Residence at Caught By The River. He was named as one of the 4 Faber & Faber New Poets for 2014 with his debut pamphlet, praised in The Guardian for its ‘quiet intelligence and subtle ways of seeing’, in that series published in October 2014. 2019 saw the release of Chalk Hill Blue, a collaborative recording made with the composer Hannah Peel, which set his poems to her music. The pair toured extensively, finishing the run with a sold-out night at the Barbican, which also featured a contribution from esteemed sound artist Chris Watson. Will’s first full collection, Country Music, was published with Offord Road Books in 2020, and his debut novel, The Paper Lantern, was published in July 2021 with Weidenfeld & Nicholson. He was named as one of The Observer’s Top 10 Debut Novelists of 2021.
As part of his residency at OmVed Gardens, Will has been facilitating a Poetry Group every Saturday morning and written seasonal poems and prompts to explore the gardens that can be listened to on this Poetry Exploration Tour.
Biologist in Residence 2022-23
Kiran is a naturalist with a passion for understanding nature. He has previously volunteered at the Natural History Museum, London Zoo and London Wildlife Trust. Kiran is currently a PhD student with the Seychelles Warbler Project using genomics (entire DNA sequences of individuals) to understand the ecology and evolution of island-endemic Seychelles warblers, which had nearly gone extinct in the 1960s. Key influences are his mother, a keen gardener and grandmother, both botanist and biology teacher. He also aims to improve diversity and accessibility in science and in natural spaces. His research can be found on GitHub.
Kiran’s residency role is broad. Previously a defunct patch of tarmac and concrete, Kiran is mapping the ecology of OmVed gardens. By quantifying its “new” biodiversity, we hope to add understanding to the value of rewilding urban landscapes. As a highly curated site, observing what grows and what does not, helps us learn how to manage natural environments in urban spaces. He also aims to use the site as a playground for exploring and connecting us with nature.