Roving Microscope

The Roving Microscope is a community microscope club in Bethnal Green exploring human/soil ecologies.

Hari Byles, Melissa Thompson and I applied for funding to buy a microscope and make it available to people for looking at their environment. We are from art/design/anthropology/social practice backgrounds so are amateur microscopists.

We initially hosted a series of Microscopic Lunches – group microscope gazing sessions for local residents and growers to explore the intersections between the food we feed ourselves, our plants and soil. We are exploring collaboration with microbes through microanimals and worms, bio fertilisers, and bokashi, probiotic and fermented foods, and how we can use all our senses to understand the micro world.  Together we have been printmaking, painting, creative writing, and exploring different ways of seeing and understanding the mico world. These lunches were also scoping sessions in the run-up to 4 events in 2019, connecting making, materials, microbe and soil experts and enthusiasts with local growers, communities and places. More images below or on the Materials Research Kitchen Flickr account:

  1. Remaking the Soil Food Web
  2. Close Encounters with Materials and Microbes
  3. Under the Microscope, the joy of decomposition
  4. Soil stories and Symbionts

The microscope also roved to Grizedale Arts 20th Anniversary event, and Fungifest in 2019.

My interest in the microscopic world is in reimagining the borders of human and non-human matter through ingested microbes and micro-materials, and their effect on structure and properties/qualities in food and the human body.

Microscope and events partially funded by the British Ecological Society and the East End Community Foundation.