Gardening the Mind | Habits of Weeds (Transcript)

Gardening the Mind | Habits of Weeds (Transcript)
Archive Shelf Location BALTIC2021M
Publication Date 03 Feb 2021

The flourishing of urban plants and wildflowers in our towns and cities speaks of resilience, adaptation, survival and regeneration. This online event, with contributions from Sophie Leguil, Freelance Botanist Consultant; artist Uriel Orlow; and Dr. Nicolette Perry, Director of Dilston Physic Garden, will consider how urban plants, often cast aside as ‘weeds’, can be beneficial to both our ecosystem and our health.

The event will explore the connection between gardening and well-being, and the medicinal and healing properties of wild plants, inviting a new appreciation of our forgotten flora.

Note that Uriel Orlow's performance was not recorded. The trailer can be viewed here:


Sophie Leguil is trained as a biologist and ecologist, with experience in horticulture. She currently works in the UK and France, as a writer, photographer, speaker, translator and wildlife tour leader. Leguil’s research has focused on pollens of Psychotria (a fascinating genus with ethnobotanical uses), and the systematics of a small genus of African orchids. She is particularly interested in the love-hate relationship between plant conservation and horticulture, and more specifically how growing plants can help us better understand, preserve and raise awareness on the need to conserve plants. In 2019, Leguil founded the More Than Weeds project, aimed at changing the perception of spontaneous urban plants, and is currently working with local authorities, landscapers and community groups to raise awareness and promote best practice in the management of public spaces.

Uriel Orlow's practice is research-based, process-oriented and multi-disciplinary including film, photography, drawing and sound. His multi-media installations focus on specific locations and micro-histories and bring different image-regimes and narrative modes into correspondence. His work is concerned with residues of colonialism, spatial manifestations of memory, blind spots of representation and plants as political actors. Recent solo exhibitions include: Learning from Artemisia at State of Concept, Athens and La Loge, Brussels (both 2020); Conversing with Leaves, Kunsthalle Mainz (2019–20); The Fairest Heritage, Villa Romana, Florence (2019); Tabakalera, San Sebastian (2019); Soil Affinities, Les Laboratoires d’Aubervilliers Paris (2018) and Theatrum Botanicum, Market Photo Workshop, Johannesburg (2018). Orlow’s work has also been presented at major survey exhibitions including the 54th Venice Biennale, Manifesta 9 & 12, Lubumbashi Biennial VI, 13th Sharjah Biennial, 7th Moscow Biennial, 8th Mercosul Biennial, Aichi Triennale and Bergen Assembly amongst others, and will be included in British Art Show 9 in 2021–22.

Dr. Nicolette Perry is a pharmacognosist specialising in the scientific study of plant medicine, and the science director at Dilston Physic Garden in Northumberland. Perry received a BSc (Honours) degree in Biology of Health and Disease from Manchester Metropolitan University, and her PhD at King’s College London considered the beneficial effects of European sage for Alzheimer’s disease, triggering a move for global research in this field. Perry researches, teaches and writes on plant medicine for the brain and is focused on the education of plant medicine that is safe, effective and has science to verify its use. Her important work bridges the gap between plant medicine and general medicine to enable plant medicine, which can carry similar efficacy and fewer side effects to drugs, to work as an adjunct to general medicine and as preventative medicine.

Gardening the Mind - Events Season

This event is part of Gardening the Mind, a new season of online events focusing on mental health, conceived through the metaphor of the mind as a garden that we all need to collectively and continuously tend to.

Speakers Sophie Leguil, Dr. Nicolette Perry
Formats Transcript, PDF File
Related Artist Uriel Orlow
Month February 2021
Keywords botany, Health and related concepts, Gardens, Urban Landscape, Nature, botanical, Flora (plants), Ecology
Related Event Gardening the Mind (A season of online events 2020-21)
Related Gallery BALTIC Centre for Contemporary Art

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