Urban Wilderness Team

Urban Wilderness CIC is a social enterprise grown from a belief in the power of art to make social change. Working with young people living in areas of urban deprivation has bred a determination to champion the rights of young people to play, make art and be heard.

Urban Wilderness - headshots-2.jpg



Laurel has been working with young people in formal and informal settings since 2003 when she trained as a teacher in secondary education. She is a practicing painter whose work illustrates tensions between domesticity, childhood and a desire to return to the wild.

Moving to Stoke-on-Trent in 2014 inspired her interdisciplinary research project Feral Spaces, working with young people and artists to re purpose disused urban spaces for adventure, creativity and play.

"For me it's all about empowering young people. Feeling connected to the place you live, the nature around you and the communities you live in has a significant effect on young sense of identity and wellbeing”

Urban Wilderness - headshots-5.jpg



Isla Telford is a project and arts events manager with a background in community development. She is also an award winning short fiction writer who uses creative writing as a placemaking process.

Isla has worked with a range of organisations in Stoke-on-Trent and North Staffordshire to animate and celebrate public spaces, including the New Vic Theatre, Keele University, B-Arts, Newcastle Lanterns and FRONTLINEdance.

"Children typically have a lot of restrictions and expectations placed upon them. When you step back and listen, allow them space and time, and respond by adapting your approach to their needs, everybody is enriched and the results are amazing."

Urban Wilderness - headshots-1.jpg



A ‘Stokie’ born and bred, Jenny qualified as a solicitor before becoming a documentary photographer and videographer after having her children.

Jenny has worked on the Feral Spaces project since 2016. She is passionate about the benefits of being outdoors and taking advantage of the vast array of wonderful disused green spaces in urban environments.

“I love working creatively with young people. They are less reserved about sharing their thoughts and more open to new ideas and experiences”


Susan Clarke, Artistic Director of B-Arts

Lisa Tomkinson, Community Practitioner at Community Ventures

Gemma Thomas, Director of Appetite Stoke

Chris Thompson, Chair of Foxlowe Arts Centre

Allison Walters, Director and Principle Landscape Architect at awSCAPE

Rowan Hoban, Director of Wild Rumpus