JC Niala: 1918 Allotment

updated 18 march 1918 allotment event


Old Fire Station, Oxford

Saturday 19 March 2022,  2pm - 5pm

Click here to purchase your in person tickets 

If you cannot attend in person, the event will also be livestreamed below.


Join JC Niala and special guests for an afternoon of talks discussing her project recreating a 1918 allotment in Oxford – exploring relations between the Spanish Flu (1918/19) and COVID-19 pandemics, World War One, and the role of outdoor space and allotments within them. Invited guests will speak to a range of topics, including the history of allotments, gardening in the trenches, and growing practices during the pandemic.

'At a time when we were still navigating lockdowns, it felt apt to recreate an allotment in the style of 1918, to learn from the rescilience of the past and work with the healing power of being and growing outdoors.' JC Niala




JC Niala is an anthropologist, historian and poet. She is a final year doctoral researcher at the School of Anthropology and Museum Ethnography at the University of Oxford. Her thesis is entitled ‘Banal Utopia: urban gardening as a practice for materialising utopic spaces in cities.’

Alex Mayhew is a historian based at the London School of Economics and researches the cultural, military, and social history of war, recently writing on ‘British Expeditionary Force Vegetable Shows, Allotment Culture, and Life Behind the Lines during the First World War’.

Claire Ratinon is an organic food grower and writer based in East Sussex, and author of ‘How to Grow Your Dinner Without Leaving the House’ (2020) and ‘Unearthed: On Race and Roots, and How the Soil Taught Me I Belong’ (2022).

Jeremy Burchardt is Associate Professor at the University of Reading and author of ‘The Allotment Movement in England’ and ‘Paradise Lost: Rural Idyll and Social Change Since 1800’.

Elizabeth Ewart is Associate Professor in the Anthropology at Linacre College and a specialist in Indigenous peoples of the Americas, including garden design and culture.

A collection of poetry by JC Niala inspired by the project will also be launched at the event and brought to life in an exhibition in the OFS galleries in Oxford, 19 March – 16 April.


This project is supported by TORCH as part of the Humanities Cultural Programme, and by Arts Council England.
Commissioned by Fig.studio