Talking Dirty

About Talking Dirty

Talking Dirty: Tongue First! Experiments at the Mouth of the Thames

Calling people of Essex join us for a Southend tongue first experimentation and citizen science workshops!
'Talking Dirty: Tongue First!' is a series of public events involving local foods, their source, preparation and consumption, leading to a recipe book produced in collaboration with the situated knowledge of South Essex people, containing instructions for cooking with estuary ingredients: from Thames fish to back garden elderflower cordial and soy soy made from local hairdressers.

Through public, cooking and eating workshops in Leigh-on-Sea, we will create public tastings that explore environmental change. Alongside these tastings, citizen science workshops will investigate the traces of waste disposal on the 'unnatural' nature reserve of Two Tree Island in Leigh-on-Sea.

The project is led by local Southend artists Fran Gallardo, YoHa and Andy Freeman with environmental chemist and food scientist Mark Scrimshaw.

The citizen science workshops will involve using digital and mobile technologies to investigate the legacy of generations of industrial use (and misuse) in the estuary landscape.

Talking Dirty is part of Wrecked on The Intertidal Zone, an art and citizen science project that will uncover and highlight local knowledge about the changing ecology, society and industry of the Thames estuary. Artists YoHa, Critical Art Ensemble, Andy Freeman and Fran Gallardo, with The Arts Catalyst, are collaborating with local people in Southend and Leigh-on-Sea.

Public Events & Workshops:

Open Jamming at Leigh-on-Sea Maritime Festival. Come one, come all!
Date: Sunday 2 August 2015, 11am – 4pm

Location: Victoria Wharf, Leigh-on-Sea, Southend
Booking: No booking required
Join local artists Fran Gallardo and YoHa at Leigh-on-Sea's annual Maritime Festival. You will find us somewhere among the sea shanties and Maldon oysters. We encourage you to bring berries and edible flowers samples from your garden, park or elsewhere to create an 'Open Jamming' (please bring the postcode as well). We will prepare jam, cordials and other seasonal cocktails on which you can choose from where berries have the sweetest earthy taste, which elderberries tickle your tongue the most, and create collective jam and cordials!
PS: We would love to hear about your recipes using local ingredients

Fluids and Mud Science (citizen science workshop 1)

Date: Saturday 15 August 2015, 10am – 5pm
Meeting Point: Fishermens Chapel, New Road, Leigh-on-Sea, SS9

Booking: please email (please note these workshops are specifically for people local to Essex)

Investigate Two Tree Island in this day workshop led by Andy Freeman with Two Tree scientific expert Dr Mark Scrimshaw (Reader in Environmental Chemistry at Brunel University) to explore the use of scientific testing outdoors. Participants will learn about and make observations of a range of gases and contaminants found in the air and water in the Thames estuary using testing kits. Observations will be geotagged using mobile phones and then uploaded to a custom digital map of the locality and shared online.

Wildlife and Not So Wild Life (citizen science workshop 2)

Date: Saturday 22 August 2015, 10am – 5pm

Meeting Point: Fishermens Chapel, New Road, Leigh-on-Sea, SS9

Booking: please email (please note these workshops are specifically for people local to Essex)

Andy Freeman and Mark Scrimshaw with local reserves manager Marc Outten (Essex Wildlife Trust) lead this workshop, which will bring together wild life spotting, digital technologies and scientific testing of the elements. Get to know your fellow organisms, animals and local inhabitants of this complex nature reserve, including the people and industries that surround it.

Public Tasting: Explore your Tongue

Date: Sunday 30 August 2015 (7pm to 8pm)

Location: Belton Way Beach, Leigh-on-Sea, Southend
Fran Gallardo will lead an open air cooking experiment for using local ingredients (menu released on the day). Fran will present intriguing recipes that represent and re-imagine webs of connections between gastronomy and ecology within many environments: from human microbiomes, eels, fungi, geese, ships, landfills and human-made islands. Come and taste, smell and dive into the sensorial experience of the estuary and all its complex delicacies!

Leigh Regatta: Chachacha with Local Ingredients

Date: Sunday 20 September 2015, 10.30am – 5pm

Location: Leigh-on-Sea (exact location announced soon)

Before Autumn sets in, Fran Gallardo will present one more chance for a tongue first exploration. Come and join us for a sensory undressing of the estuary! 

Artists Residency: Tongue First Research Centre

Date: January 2016 (exact dates announced soon)

Location: The Arts Catalyst, 74-76 Cromer Street, London WC1H 8DR

Fran Gallardo will lead a week long residency at the Arts Catalyst's Centre for Art, Science and Technology. Further details announced in September.

Talking Dirty is supported by a Wellcome Trust People Award, Arts Council England andLeigh Town Council.
 Many thanks to the Institute of Environmental, Health and Societies (Brunel University), Belton Way Small Craft Club, BioHackspace London, Essex Wildlife Trust, Natural England, Leigh Marina Secure Measures Ltd., Southend Council and Metal (Southend).
Please note we do not encourage large groups of people foraging or collecting plants from local areas along the estuary. The Two Tree Island is considered a Site of Specific Scientific Interest (see and is a National Nature Reserve (see where wildlife is not to be disturbed.