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biome: experiments in radical kinship

A collage of photos of Black women's hands and feet, combined with green mossy boxes and fractal reflections
Collage by Zoë Laureen Palmer

biome: a biological community that has formed in response to climate and the physical environment 

Zoë Laureen Palmer is the artist in residence at the Artsadmin Canteen from summer 2023 to spring 2024.

Over the coming year, biome: experiments in radical kinship will explore how we can feel our way into meaningful relationships with the natural world, within the communities local to Toynbee Studios.

Zoë’s residency aims to open up dialogues about biodiversity to include the small things: the unseen, the algae, bacteria and microbiomes that support our ecosystems, asking:

What if biodiversity begins at home in our bodies, our microbiomes and embodied ecologies?

In the face of devastating biodiversity loss, how can we nurture the wellbeing of our inner gardens and extend this care into the living world of which we are a part? 

How can we become more implicated in the continuous growth, protection and flourishing of the earth we choose to tend, however small, polluted and degraded it might currently be? 

What are the mundane rituals we need to cultivate connection in these dangerous times?

Public programme

Summer 2023

What Shall We Grow Here?

The residency began in July with What Shall We Grow Here? – an installation and open workshop exploring seeding and planting rituals in the local area. It took place during What Shall We Build Here 2023, Artsadmin’s biannual festival of art, climate and community and was co-curated by the Community Climate Champions.

Autumn 2023

biome: sprouts and micro greens | 29 September 2023 | Past Event

sprouts and micro greens are currently being cultivated in the Artsadmin Canteen in collaboration with Caffè Genco, who will share responsibilities for maintaining and harvesting the plants. In September, Zoë ran a sprouts and micro greens workshop, where people learnt more about them and their uses, found out how to grow them, and shared different recipes.

biome: forrest

forrest is a temporary installation which will serve as an experimental urban sanctuary for rest and regeneration within the Artsadmin Canteen. This tiny biome will be populated with more-than-human kin including houseplants, mosses, and the ancient cyanobacteria spirulina. Spirulina will be cycled into a closed loop – providing regenerative nutrients and minerals to sustain the forrest. In deep and future time, more-than-human ancestors of this landscape will rest and be cared for.

Extending an invitation to participate in its co-creation, forrest is a place for people to bring in their dying, wilting or ailing houseplants to the canteen. Here they will either be tended and revitalised through collective care, or composted and gifted back as nourishment for the forrest. forrest is enriched by a durational soundscape created by sound artist Keir Vine, and a botanical mocktail of your own imagining. In this time of unprecedented environmental collapse and urgency, forrest is a portal inviting us to slow down, surrender and allow space for the flourishing of our radical imaginations.

Winter 2023

biome ballroom

A series of evening events in collaboration with sound artist Keir Vine.

biome ballroom is a durational ritual, dance and liberatory dreaming practise that creates a space for disruption, mischief and joy during times characterised by biodiversity loss and collective despair. biome ballroom gives a nod to the visionary hip-hop producer J Dilla who, facing his own early death, played with rhythm and time like no other. 

These twilight events are an invitation to choose your own journey through the ballroom – a world of immersive sound, scent, dancing and interspecies rest. There will be opportunities for conversation afterwards in the biome bar, where participants are invited to mix their own mocktails to beats from our more-than-human selecta. The first biome ballroom: peatlands, took place on 20 October, 6:30 – 9pm in the Artsadmin Canteen. Keep a lookout on our social media for the next ballroom event announcement.

Spring 2024

Seeding and planting workshops

Beginning next spring, Zoë will be running a series of practical growing workshops to make use of the spaces in front of, above, and around Toynbee Studios, in collaboration with community participants. Through collective embodied practise, local residents and workers will come together to grow a space of collaborative nurture. Dates and times to be announced shortly.

biome: experiments in radical kinship is supported by BE PART, through the Creative Europe programme of the European Union, and Arts Council England


Date Location More info
biome: forrest
17 October – 15 December 2023
11am, 12pm, 1pm bookable slots, Monday - Friday
Toynbee Studios, London Details and tickets
An afternoon with The Gardening Drawing Club
10 December 2023
Toynbee Studios, London Details and tickets

Date Title Venue City
25 November 2023 biome ballroom: hinterlands
20 October 2023 biome ballroom: peatlands Artsadmin Canteen, Toynbee Studios
29 September 2023 biome: sprouts and microgreens workshop Artsadmin Canteen, Toynbee Studios
1 July 2023 What Shall We Grow Here? Artsadmin Canteen, Toynbee Studios What Shall We Build Here
28 June – 2 July 2023 What Shall We Build Here Various locations:
8–12 September 2021 What Shall We Build Here Various locations:
A collage of photos of Black women's hands and feet, combined with green mossy boxes and fractal reflections
Collage by Zoë Laureen Palmer