Léonie Hampton in the Department of Geography
Léonie Hampton is an artist-in-residence at King’s College London. Working in collaboration with Dr Jane Catford, Reader in Ecology, Léonie will be developing a project exploring perceptions of human and plant “nativeness” to perceive ourselves in relation to biodiversity and climate crises.
Activate from the series 'Beyond Triffids: Plants without Prejudice 2023 by Léonie Hampton.
Beyond Triffids: Plants without Prejudice
Invasive alien species are recognised as one of the greatest threats to global biodiversity, their invasion facilitated by, and compounding impacts of, climate change. Within ecology and conservation biology there is a heated debate about whether alien plant invasions are good or bad for biodiversity. Do human-introduced alien species increase diversity and compensate for native species loss? Or are alien plants a major threat to biodiversity, warranting active management and restrictions on trade and travel?
Through the lens of alien plants we will particularly focus on perceptions of “nativeness” – both human and plant. Our interdisciplinary approach – co-created between arts, science and humanities – will challenge and interrogate understandings and value judgements, and how these values may need re-evaluation in light of biodiversity loss and migration.
Just as speculative fiction creates the potential, far off in space, where we might see ourselves more clearly, this creative collaboration will work with the perceptions and values of plants to perceive ourselves in relation to our urgent biodiversity and climate crisis.
Dr Jane Catford is a Reader in Ecology in the Department of Geography at King’s College London. She is a plant community ecologist with interests in biological invasions, environmental change and biodiversity. She is particularly interested in the causes, consequences and processes of vegetation change, and typically focuses on species invasions to tackle such questions.
Léonie Hampton is within Still Moving, an artist collective that is process-oriented. Remaining open to the possibilities that through collaboration and immersion, they will come into contact with what they do not already know. They are intrigued by how interactions with other epistemologies infect and influence one another and offer up new possibilities.
Dr Rowan Boyson is a Reader in Eighteenth-Century and Romantic Literature in the Department of English. She is the author of Wordsworth and the Enlightenment Idea of Pleasure (2012), winner of the 2013 College English Prize, and the co-editor with Tom Jones of The Poetic Enlightenment: Poetry and Human Science, 1650–1820 (2013). She has published numerous articles on Mary Wollstonecraft, Jean-Jacques Rousseau, the history of the senses, and scent in William Wordsworth and Percy Shelley. Dr Boyson was awarded a Leverhulme Research Fellowship (2021-22) to work on her current project, provisionally entitled The Shared Air: Atmosphere and the Right to Breathe in Enlightenment Britain.