Earthlings ~ participatory storymaking, nature connection and queer ecology


Earthlings is a collaboration between community gardener, Hari Byles and performance poet, Linden Katherine Mcmahon. We run participatory story making and creative writing workshops and events on the themes of soil, food growing, more than human relationships, and queer ecologies. Our last project involved, co-creating a poetry treasure trail through Bethnal Green’s community gardens, & was commissioned by the Live Art Development Agency (LADA) and supported by The Mayor of London’s Culture Seeds.

In 2018 we ran a Soil Ecology workshop with Olly Edmonds who led us through Bethnal Green Nature Reserve's meadow and woodlands to explore different kinds of soil ecology. Together we tested soil structure, biology and nutrient content and discussed what soil is and means to each of us. In the afternoon Linden led the group in a creative writing workshop responding to the soils we had encountered in the morning. Following this we invited participants to share their writings at a public event alongside contributions from Ama Josephine Budge, Helena Hunter, Maria Puig de la Bellacasa and Dimitris Papadopoulos. The event was hosted by Shumaisa Khan and Linden McMahon at Bethnal Green Nature Reserve, after which we made a zine which captured some of the learning, writing, wisdoms and findings which emerged from the process.

In 2021 we have joined forces once again with the wonderful Ama Josephine Budge to explore Queer Ecologies in Tower Hamlets Cemetery Park as part of an artist residency.

Image Credits

Open Gardens Treasure Trail map by Soofiya,

Everything is Connected billboard by Saif Osmani

Title: Open Gardens Treasure Trail Map, illustrated map of 9 community gardens surrounding Middleton Green park in Bethnal green. The illustration shows some buildings, orange connecting roads, green and yellow squiggles and seeds dotted around. It also includes an exercise in English and Bengali for using the senses. Bethnal Green tube station is in the bottom right hand corner.
7 people are sitting in a circle on the ground, surrounded by trees, one person is reading from a book whilst the others listen
Shumaisa Khan, Maria Puig de la Bellacasa & Dimitris Papadopoulos sit on logs in a nature reserve, as part of a panel discussion
Ama Josephine Budge sits on a lot in a nature reserve, gesticulating with one hand whilst reading to an audience sitting on the ground and on seats
Helena Hunter sits on a chair in a nature reserve, reading to a seated audience from a piece of paper
Linden McMahon stands in a nature reserve with a tree behind them, their legs firmly rooted to the ground, they read from a notebook
Linden Mcmahon reads from a notebook with around 20 audience members sitting around, with trees and logs in the surroundings
image from above of a craft table on woodchip ground, Linden McMaoh and Shair Begum pass an artwork between them whilst someone else nearby stands with a smartphone and pointed finger
dusk in the nature reserve, Linden Mcmahon is presenting to a smiling audience
package label with green and red writing in it attached to a branch and blowing in the breeze, reads: "I was one of the first residents here, alongside the Green family and their extended family too. My community consists of grafters and movers. Together we hold down the area. I’ve been deprived of all the essential good stuff I need to support all those around me. Over the years I’ve built up my resilience and structure to support others."
a craft table from above, blue type writer, different coloured paper, magazines, scissors and the Earthlings zine cover are spread out
image shows bright yellow billboard design with illustrations of people and plants and the words: "Everything is connected", "Megh de pani de chaya de", "Rain Water Shade".