“In The Treaty of Finsbury Park 2025, we are catapulted several years into the future where all the species of the park have risen up to demand equal rights with humans. After much unrest, it has been agreed that a treaty will be drawn up, designating these rights, but first humans must learn to better relate to and understand non-humans so they can cooperate better together. Thankfully there has been a new invention - The Sentience Dial - which allows humans to tune into all the flora and fauna of Finsbury Park.

The Treaty of Finsbury Park 2025 is a collaborative project that depicts the story of the dawning of interspecies democracy. It’s a new era of equal rights for all living beings, where all species come together to organise and shape the environments and cultures they inhabit, in Finsbury Park (and urban green spaces across the UK, the world, and beyond!) Like many urban parks, Finsbury Park is fraught with environmental issues from noxious gases and traffic noises to governance struggles and financial sustainability.

If colonial systems of dominance and control over living beings continue we all face an apocalypse.

Based around a set of LARPs - or live action role play games - the Treaty of Finsbury Park 2025 is an immersive fiction played from more-than-human perspectives. Powered by the Sentience Dial it encourages the blooming of a bountiful biodiversity born of interspecies political action. Think like a dog, bee or even grass and help change the way we all see and participate in our local urban green spaces FOREVER

Join the Interspecies Assemblies!

There are 3 parts to the story of the Treaty of Finsbury Park

Part 1. 2021-2022. The Interspecies Assemblies - these games where everyone plans the Interspecies Festival of Finsbury Park 2023 - an event which will celebrate the drawing up of the treaty itself.

Part 2. 2023. The Interspecies Festival of Finsbury Park - all the species of Finsbury Park are invited to join the festival in Summer 2023. Everyone then will be invited to choose from a set of proposed Treaty obligations and share their priorities and feelings.

Part 3. 2023-25. The Treaty of Finsbury Park - a treaty of interspecies cooperation goes on display at Furtherfield Gallery along with Festival highlights and an invitation to ALL park users to pledge their support to bountiful biodiversity in Finsbury Park.

By planning the Interspecies Festival together, human people from the locality and around the world have been engaged in building empathy pathways to other beings. They have been learning about what really matters to them and their habitats. They have been intensively exploring what it might mean to acknowledge the equal rights of more-than-human beings. They have drafted the Treaty and decided how to connect even more deeply with all the species of the park through a festival for all.

From Autumn 2023 scannable hoardings will wrap the Furtherfield Gallery in Finsbury Park with an exhibition featuring highlights from the festivals showing the new knowledge and relationships formed by assembly members for the benefit of biodiversity locally and worldwide. This will also begin the period in which everyone is invited to review the treaty and make a pledge to play a part in advancing interspecies justice.

The Story So Far...

Part 1. 2021-22 - The Interspecies Assemblies Game

In the PUBLIC game of ‘Interspecies Assemblies’, human players were partnered with a mentor representing one of 7 species based in Finsbury Park. These included a tree, a bee, a goose, grass, a squirrel, a stag beetle and a dog. Players tuned into their mentor’s needs and experiences and represented them at a series of online assemblies held to devise activities, events and choose locations in the park for the first ever Interspecies Festival of Finsbury Park.

Part 2. 2023 - The Interspecies Festival of Finsbury Park

This Summer the Interspecies Festival will open as an immersive role-play event across three biodiversity habitats: the old forest, the new forest and the wildflower meadow to be enjoyed by the park’s public. Players will be supported to inhabit the bodies of their new species, and explore the park with new eyes, ears and a totally new sense of what is important.

Based on everything learned and proposed through the Assemblies we embark - in our new species bodies (in mask and costume) - on a voyage of discovery, marvels, sombre reflection and broadened horizons.

⇨ In the Multisensory Mystery Tour we see, hear and smell the old forest through the sensory superpowers of squirrels, trees, and dogs.

⇨ We enjoy movement, mindfulness, respite and relaxation in the Interspecies Day Care and Spa at the new forest.

⇨ Finally at the wildflower meadow we enjoy the Festival of Poop. This includes ‘songs’ from the Multispecies Choir and a game of Pass-the-Poop-Parcel - a brilliant innovation in waste-free interspecies gastronomy.

⇨ Events will take place alongside the presentation of the draft Treaty for discussion by all the human and more-than-human people of the park.

Part 3. 2023-25 The Treaty of Finsbury Park

The centrepiece of the Interspecies Festival of Finsbury Park is the Treaty itself which will remain in development until the Summer of 2025. The Treaty is being generated through on-going research and creative projects produced by Furtherfield, collaborators, and partners and building on the above and all our other local projects.

In late 2023 scannable hoardings will wrap the Furtherfield Gallery in Finsbury Park. And in 2024 Everyone - human or otherwise - is invited to attend, scan, and view Festival highlights. The Draft Treaty will also be on display for feedback and for anyone and everyone to pledge action to best serve the bountiful biodiversity of the park.

In 2025 the Final Treaty will be ratified (by all beings, not just the rats!), and celebrated, showcasing thousands of pledges made by local people to to support biodiverse rights for all. Like the park itself it will grow and flourish down the multi-species generations.

What Is A Live Action Role-Play?

A Live Action Role-Play or LARP is a form of make-believe game where participants play characters who interact to pursue goals within a fictional setting

We create a new reality by asking each other questions about our characters' lives, memories, opinions, needs.

There are 2 rules in this kind of game

1. We act as we imagine our characters would and stay in character at all times.

2. We are kind, generous and supportive of each other as we create a new world together.

Play can be intense, funny, fascinating and sometimes a bit awkward. Characters can disagree with each other but they don't question the reality of the character's existence. Sometimes the characters in our fictional worlds are delightful, sometimes unpleasant (as people are in the actual world). Unpleasant things may happen to them or between them. If any player becomes uncomfortable for any reason they can take a break by stepping out. They are also free to leave if they decide that it is not for them. Game hosts are always there to support players.

Concept and Credits

The Treaty of Finsbury Park 2025 is a major project exploring new ways to build empathy pathways to non-human lifeforms through play.

It represents a major undertaking to do long-term work exploring how an arts organisation based in the heart of an urban green space can support a deeper understanding of that green space and ALL its inhabitants. Beginning in 2020 and spanning 5 years, the work was originally developed in a collaboration between Furtherfield and The New Design Congress. The first 3 years were supported by CreaTures Creative Practices for Transformational Futures. CreaTures project has received funding from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under grant agreement No 870759. The content presented represents the views of the authors, and the European Commission has no liability in respect of the content.

Concept by Cade Diem and Ruth Catlow
Artistic Direction by Ruth Catlow
LARP Design by Ruth Catlow, Bea Xu and Max Dovey
Writing by Dr Charlotte Frost and Ruth Catlow
Music by Matt Catlow
Videography by Tracy Kiryango
Multispecies Choir led by Xenia Davis
Multispecies Movement consultant Lucy Suggate
Outreach, Care and Accessibility Management by Lekey Leideker
Production by Tanya Boyarkina
Communications and Engagement by Pita Arreola
Research Dr Lara Houston and Dr Ann Light
Digital Mask animation by Popul-ar
Visual and technical design by Cade Diem
Illustrations by Sajan Rai
With additional graphic design by Studio Hyte

With thanks to early players of the game:Shawn, Carien, Anne, Tom and Ricard.

Special thanks to Ricard Zanoli, Finsbury Park Ranger, for introducing us to all the different lives of the park and guiding us along the way.