Changing currents – can we build a better world together?
8 February – 17 June 2023
Free & open to all
SPACE Ilford

Gallery open Wed 11am – 5pm, Sat 11am – 3pm

This project, funded by Arup, saw students from Beal High School in Redbridge co-create work alongside Arup experts, artist collective super/collider and the River Roding Trust. Together they explored the human impact on the River Roding in Redbridge and the wider environmental issues.

Inspired by Arup’s commitment to consider the influence of the built environment on the natural world, the students drew on the differing experiences of time, scale and senses to explore the river from the perspectives of both human and non-human animals.

Over a number of weeks, the students visited the river, walking along the banks to consider the different types of pollution, including litter, noise, water, air and light, and their effect on the natural environment. Using hydrophones and simple light refraction techniques, they were able to explore what it might be like for species living under the water to navigate artificial light and dark spaces created by our built environment. They used infra-red photography to depict the environment through the eyes of species living within the habitat, while microscopes attached to student smart phones helped them discover the world in close-up. Students documented their work via drawings and photographs, using environmentally sustainable materials to create prototypes, images, and natural cyanotype prints of their discoveries. They recorded their emotional responses in booklets and audio recordings, all of which are on display in the exhibition.

Curated by super/collider, the exhibition invites visitors to consider the way we interact with the world around us, both individually and collectively, encouraging us to consider the actions we can take to shape a better world for ourselves and our future.  A Tree of Hope will flourish throughout the duration of the show, collecting visitors’ thoughts and feelings, messages of hope and calls to action.


This project was funded by Arup

with thanks to
Arts Council England, River Roding Trust Arts Associate Andrew Brown, River Roding Trust, Beal High School and super/collider

About the partners

Dedicated to sustainable development, Arup is a collective of designers, consultants and experts working globally. Founded to be humane and excellent, we collaborate with our clients and partners using imagination, technology, and rigour to shape a better world.

Dima Zogheib
Trained as a landscape architect, Dima is a specialist in sustainable, resilient and inclusive design with international experience. She has delivered complex and large-scale landscapes and nature-based interventions from concept through to delivery, as well as smaller-scale community initiatives. She also advises clients and city governments on strategies, plans and guidelines for cities and districts to help them respond to critical agendas such as urban resilience and inclusive planning.

Notable projects she led and contributed to include Tirana’s 2,500ha Orbital Forest, a commission with the European Bank of Reconstruction and Development (EBRD), advising the bank and the Municipality of Tirana and building the design, technical and economic case for the forest, a Meanwhile Use research report for the Greater London Authority, resilience strategies via Arup’s work with the Rockefeller Foundation’s 100 Resilient Cities programme for more than 20+ cities globally including in South America, Effective Policies for Green Cities with EBRD, Cool Spaces Initiative for the Greater London Authority, Sustainable placemaking through food in London, a design strategy for children and youth in Belfast city centre, a Green Infrastructure design strategy for Thimphu (Bhutan), a landscape masterplan for the University of Sarajevo, and designing nature-based solutions for various public realm and urban development projects.

Hasnaa Shaddad
Hasnaa is a member of the blast engineering and structural resilience team in Arup. She has a strong background in Mechanical Engineering and computation specialising in high pressure gradient computational fluid dynamics. She now focuses on modelling blast wave propagation in the built environment for a range of blast engineering projects.​ Hasnaa also set up and has been running multiple outreach programs across the UK since 2014, aimed at teaching and mentoring underprivileged children and helping them pursue a career in STEM.

Maria Elges
Maria is a UX designer, who believes that design has the power to change the world, as long as we, the designers, take on responsibility for our work and consider the businesses, the customer, and the wider context in one holistic process. She brings an empathic design approach to the table along with the enthusiasm to use her strategic design skills to generate a positive impact on people’s life and the environment. Maria has experience in advertising, publishing, and UX/UI; working on a range of international client based and self-initiated projects with a focus on design culture, urbanism and systems.

Sofia Paredes Estrada
Sofia is a landscape architect within the Cities Planning and Design team at Arup in London. Sofia’s international background in Mexico, Brazil, Spain, and Sweden has shaped her interest and understanding of people, place, and historical context. She is an advocate for sensitive, resilient, and inclusive public spaces that integrate the ever-changing social and environmental dynamics of urban life. Sofia has worked on a wide range of residential, commercial, and mixed-use developments of varying scales, as well as small- and large-scale competitions in the UK, Asia and Australia. Sofia is actively engaged in a range of community engagement projects within Arup, with a focus on local London schools. She is dedicated to engaging young people with STEAM subjects, through the lens of the climate emergency, to create a more sustainable and equitable future for all.

Sophie Liu
Sophie is a multidisciplinary designer, whose practice consists of research, visual storytelling, interactive media and community engagement. She is interested in using design to enable communities to tackle issues that matter collaboratively, developing designs and strategies to enable positive change. At Arup, she develops visuals, workshops and digital engagement tools to engage the public, in developing strategies and designs influencing users, systems and cities.

Emily Walport
Emily supports clients to understand what a transition to the circular economy means for their business, and in identifying the first steps to take to accelerate the transition. A chartered, senior materials engineer Emily has a wealth of materials sustainability expertise, from embodied carbon and life cycle assessments through to ecotoxicity and biomaterials. She recently co-authored ‘Circular Biobased Construction in the North East and Yorkshire’, overviewing the current bio based construction industry in the region and evaluating the potential to scale.

Invited Speakers

Inessa Lomas 
Inessa is most passionate about expanding the value brought through a considered and inclusive design to the built environment and its inhabitants.​ Inessa Lomas joined Arup’s London lighting team in March 2016, and from 2023 holds the position of Senior Designer in the Landscape Architecture Team. By combining her skills in art, design and architecture, Inessa brings innovative ideas to projects throughout different scales and stages of development. Working with all design team parties involved, she is keen to provide full support and deep understanding of values that drive the best projects forward.  

Lizzie Gardner
Lizzie is an aquatic ecologist with nine years of experience in the environmental sector and has developed a wealth of ecological knowledge and environmental consulting expertise, especially via her completion of a multidisciplinary PhD at University College London (UCL). Her study focussed on the ecology, hydrology and management of freshwater lake and wetland systems in the context of climate change and European policies. She has also published a number of scientific research papers in the coastal, freshwater and terrestrial environment space, including in the Journal of Coastal Conservation and Irish Geography. At Arup, Lizzie applies her extensive ecological consulting experience to developing highly complex biodiversity strategies and providing ecological design advice throughout the planning, design and implementation stages of development projects.

Ola Kamel
Ola graduated with an M.Eng Architectural Engineering, worked in different engineering disciplines and is a BREEAM Associate. This background has served her in her current role as a Lighting Designer, where she addresses each project with the mixture of the outlooks: technical, design and sustainable. Ola seeks to work on innovative forward thinking projects that can challenge the norms and have a wider positive impact. 

Phillipa Stanley
Phillipa has a Master’s in Civil and Environmental Engineering from the University of Exeter. Together with Arup’s Civil Engineering team, Phillipa has played a part in the development of the City Water Resilience Approach (CWRA) – assisting cities to manage their water systems. She has co-authored and project managed the publication of a White Paper for the 50L Home Coalition, on a Circular Water Future. She is currently working on a Climate finance diagnostic for the water sector, the CWRA in three major African cities and is providing technical specifications for the development of drinking water fountains. She has experience as a water consultant for GIZ in Tanzania, where she developed a framework to improve urban water resilience, focusing on industrial wastewater management systems. Phillipa has a background in Civil and Environmental Engineering with experience in the water sector, focusing on water strategy, advisory, innovation and technical applications.


Beal High School is a mixed 11 – 18 comprehensive, with over 2,600 students. With 360 pupils organised into 12 forms, and over 800 students in our Sixth Form, Beal High is one of the largest secondary schools in England. In 2014, Beal converted to Academy status and established the Beacon Academy Trust. This partnership incorporates Beal High School, The Forest Academy, the Beacon Business Innovation Hub, and the NELTA SCITT (School Centred Initial Teacher Training) to provide quality learning experiences. Beal High School is currently working towards an Arts Mark Award accredited by Arts Council England.  

Beal High School is exceptional. It is a diverse, vibrant community with a strong sense of mutual respect and high expectations and an inclusive culture. Our students experience a rich, varied curriculum which unlocks their potential, ensuring outstanding outcomes and confident progression for all.

The Beal High Sixth form offers a wide range of courses to support students’ interests and career progression. The participating students were selected from the A-level courses Fine Art, 3D Design and Photography.

Marianne Carlton is an Art Coordinator and teacher of Art and Photography at Beal High School. Working as an art educator since 2005, she has led and contributed to a range of art partnerships and outreach projects.  She believes collaboration within the Arts is fundamental to the personal growth of young people, building resilience and helping them connect with a wider community.

Within her role as Art Coordinator, Marianne is currently supporting Beal High School achieving Artsmark status, accredited by Arts Council England.

Directors: Louise Beer and Melanie King. Both artists live in Thanet, Kent. Collaboratively, Louise and Melanie have curated 7 national and international artists residencies, 80 exhibitions and 80 events about art and science and have collaborated on numerous artwork commissions. 

Founded in 2006, super/collider is an independent agency that celebrates and champions the connections between science, culture and creativity. Working in and with people from the creative industries, we explore science and bring its wonders and wisdom to new audiences through events, expeditions, books and artwork. super/collider has been commissioned by Space Studios (2022), Signal Film and Media (2022), Imperial College London (2020), Well Projects (2020), Bompas and Parr (2018). 

Louise Beer is an artist and curator, born in Aotearoa New Zealand. She uses installation, moving image, photography and sound to explore humanity’s evolving understanding of Earth’s environments and the cosmos. Louise is currently a co-investigator on a Vera C. Rubin Observatory Grant at the University of Canterbury Mount John Observatory, NZ where she is developing an artists residency with planetary astronomer Dr Michele Bannister. She has recently completed her CreaTures Art/ Tech/ Nature/ Culture Curatorial and Creative Residency and BigCi Environmental Art Award Residency in Australia. Louise is currently developing a commission for Derby Cathedral for FORMAT23 Photography Festival.

Melanie King is a working class artist and curator, originally from Manchester, UK. She is co-Director of super/collider, Lumen Studios and founder of the London Alternative Photography Collective. Melanie is a PhD Candidate at the Royal College of Art (2015-2022). She is Lecturer In Photography at Canterbury Christ Church University.  Melanie is interested in the relationship between the environment, photography and materiality.  Melanie intends to highlight the intimate connection between celestial objects (sun, moon, stars), photographic material and the natural world. Melanie is currently researching a number of sustainable photographic processes, to minimise the environmental impact of her artistic practice, informed by the Sustainable Darkroom movement.

Andrew Brown is an artist and educator based at SPACE Studios, Ilford, and is Arts Associate for the River Roding Trust. He uses analogue, digital, alternative and historic photographic processes alongside soundscapes, documents and objects to explore the impact on communities of rapid changes in the built and natural environment in east London. Recent commissions include SPACE/Aetreum, UP projects and the Arts Council, and collaborative work with East London Textile Arts, Humorisk CIC and Thames Ward Community Project. Following a career in education, he studied photography at Falmouth University and is now working towards a Doctorate in Fine Art at the University of East London.

The River Roding Trust was formed in 2019 with the mission of preserving, protecting and restoring the River Roding for public benefit. Working with the local community, the Trust has removed tonnes of litter from the river, planted hundreds of trees, monitored and campaigned against water pollution, and organised activities to improve public awareness of, access to and care for the river.