Sophy King

Art, Landscape, Environment

Jubilee Gardens @ Allery Gallery

Whalley Range, Jubilee Weekend, 2012

Jubilee Gardens was the first iteration of the Mobile Meadow.  A pastiche on the idea of a commissioned park to celebrate the Queen’s Jubilee, it provided a green resting place in an urban alleyway.

The Allery Gallery was a pop-up gallery working in partnership with local residents and businesses.

The Allery Gallery invited artists from any discipline to transform an alleyway into an exhibition of life & living over the Jubilee weekend. There was art in the alley, and talks and performances in the local bars and cafes.

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Reach Art Project Designs

The Reach Art Project’s community engagement program led to designs for the regeneration of the Promenade at Lytham St Anne’s.  The concept is to create a bold new multi-functional public space. Plenty of seating and lighting are installed to make a space for meeting, chatting, picnicking.  Space is retained for everyday parking, which is transformed into an arts and crafts market on special occasions.  Further towards the swimming pool is a circular space which can be used for events and performances. 

The designs for this part of the promenade blur the boundaries between different elements of the area and create connections between the distinct character areas of the town, the promenade and the beach/dunes.  Sightlines are opened up and emphasized to create more connection and help wayfinding

We delivered workshops to several schools and community groups in the area as well as drop-in workshops around the town, and the project culminated in the Reach Art Festival that animated the promenade.


Our Museum


Our Museum was a three-year programme funded by the Paul Hamlyn Foundation involving nine UK museums and galleries working collaboratively with community partners in ways that embed community voices. See

This piece of participatory art developed over the two days of the first peer review conference. Delegates included museum management, staff, volunteers and community partners. The artwork created an invitation for people to respond – sharing their thoughts, ideas, reactions, feelings, emotions in real time as the review took place.

Different coloured tracing paper reflected different categories and feelings. The anonymity of the window allowed freedom of communication in a way that face to face conversation did not. The positioning and ratio of colours created snapshots of the mood of the event.

A feedback loop emerged, as the participants started to comment not just on the conference and the programme but on each others contributions to the window.


Guerilla Greening – with Helen Meade


The Big Green Weekend, Hebden Bridge, 2008concept drawings and execution of random acts of greening with a shed and a shopping trolley

We worked with objects common to the urban environment, and a variety of plants to create sculptural interventions to spark the imagination. Our intention was to radically change them and the way they are usually perceived. We took the negative connotations of a “carbon footprint”, and transformed it into a “growing footprint” that can be celebrated.

Stockport Women’s Aid Gardens


Stockport Womens Aid Gardens, 2011

Stockport Womens Aid commissioned me to landscape the external areas of their Refuge. The shelter houses vulnerable women and their children for periods of between 2 months and a year. For a budget of only £6000 they wanted to refurbish an existing play area, and to create a ‘calm space’ for residents to sit and relax.

Consultation identified specific problems, firstly the play area had a ‘prisonyard feel’. There was a lack of colour. Also it did not cater to the wide age ranges of the resident children.

Murals on the walls, devised with the children, inspire imaginative play and draw the eye away from the security spikes. The markings on the floor add colour. The existing playhouse given its own space to link up with colourful planting. The space seems friendlier and full of life.

The resident children left handprints on the walls. This serves to give them ownership of the space and also to reassure future residents that they are not alone.

An unused lawned area at the back of the refuge was transformed into a peaceful garden with seating, herb bed and planting. The children expressed a need for a ‘hidey-hole’ and we built a living willow shelter which will continue to grow.

The planting was designed to give interest throughout the year and to to require minimal maintenance. The residents, however, enjoy tending it and picking herbs for cooking. In time climbers will cover the walls, adding to the feeling of the ‘Secret Garden’, a haven from the city around them.