Skip to main content
KBS_Icon_questionmark link-ico

Thames memories & the exploration of future dust

Plastic pollution is fast becoming the most ubiquitous environmental and archaeological 'signature' of the Anthropocene, but it has yet to be recognised in the wider public realm.

With a focus on London’s river Thames, the project Thames memory & the exploration of future dust is a collaborative public art project that brings together the artist Maria Arceo, King’s College London and a wide network of cross-disciplinary partnerships on a mission to creatively inform and scientifically challenge our understanding of the widespread dispersion of plastic debris on both fluvial and marine environments.


EngageBetween September 2016 and September 2017, the artist Maria Arceo will conduct a whole river clean-up operation across all accessible foreshore beaches of the tidal Thames. King's students, members of the public and local schools will be invited to take action and join together at a wide programme of cleanups and litter monitoring events that show a new possible relation with, and commitment to the city’s environmental standards.


AnalyseThe clean-ups will be assisted by a comprehensive research project led by King’s College London Departments of Geography, Chemistry, Informatics and members from Thames21, which will scientifically investigate, collect accurate data and create new evidence; scaling from microscopic chemical components and bio-chemical properties to the macroscopic accumulations of litter along the Thames foreshore, as well as its distribution patterns and the wider ecological implications.



EducateThroughout the project, students, schools and members of the public will be invited to take part at a wide programme of interactive plastic workshops with the artist,  public talks and lectures at Kings College London, and many other events with project partners that will explore the histories, geographies, material properties and sustainable management solutions of plastics across various environments.



VisualiseThe project will culminate in September 2017 with the development of a large temporary art installation created by artist Maria Arceo, as part of the Totally Thames Festival 2017 and a result form the whole year cleanup campaign. This installation aims to give London’s citizens a real sensory perception and expose the real magnitude - both scientifically and visually - of the tide of plastic litter that runs off from London streets to the Thames, and ultimately to our oceans. 



InnovateThe project will finish with a interactive recycling workshop open to the public. Science and design students will be then invited to collaborate in the creation of a permanent commemorative object made from all the recycled plastic that will stand as both; a lasting reminder of the origin and true scale of the problem, and as a symbol of London’s determination to lead the way towards a more sustainable future.



The project is a collaboration between KIng's College London's Department of Geography, students from across the faculties and Artist, Maria Arceo. It is supported by the university's Culture team.

Stay in touch

Email the Culture team

Sign up to the newsletter