Margot Bannerman

Senior Lecturer BA and MA Fine Art

Central Saint Martins

Research interests

Co-opting, re-deploying, borrowing spaces, ongoing and unfinished states, critical urbanism, environmental art / activism, permaculture / overlaps between the social, institutional and organic.

Research statement

The idea of ‘drawing’ on, and with, existing structures follows a continued interest in how ‘found’ surfaces and structures can be co-opted to suggest contingency: temporary interruptions / occupations / re-use. Whether working on plates or plastic bags, office windows or rooftops there has been a concern with the edges between the functional, social and aesthetic in ways that seeks to reconcile tactile pleasures with work produced in an age of accelerated environmental awareness.

Recent research has focused on the potential of re-deploying different structures and spaces in urban sites previously deemed seemingly unsuitable for plant life. Using planting (particularly edible) and portable growing structures as another means of drawing in or reconfiguring space, the idea of ‘drawing with growing’ in built environments explores ways in which perceptions of locality can be altered with sometimes minimal interventions. I am inspired by the idea of ‘tactical’ responses to the strictures of the everyday and how working round given structures and constraints can prompt the convergence of the pragmatic, poetic and political.

Ongoing projects are partly predicated on research into the impact of ‘greening’ in high-density built environments, which points to the efficacy of replacing hard impervious surfaces with moisture retaining, evaporating surfaces. The accompanying interest is in how co-opting even small areas might highlight and test the social and organic interfaces in our direct surroundings. Attention to locality, the notion of sustainability in terms of praxis and artists and designers’ responses to environmental imperatives are concerns in both my practice and teaching. 

Projects include collaborations with PIDC (Public Art Innovation Centre) at Kyung-Won University Seoul in Seoul and London; ‘Bee Stop’ a green roof installation for Upprojects / Islington Council; edible growing project at the Archway site at CSM. Forthcoming projects include ‘Arboreal Archway’ for Archway Town centre and ‘Cally Calls’ an AIR project.