A hand-drawn map of Bolton Fell Moss in Cumbria with words and images, by Helen Cann

Mapping a Moss of many layers

A hand-drawn map of Bolton Fell Moss in Cumbria with words and images, by Helen Cann

One of the main artistic outputs from the Moss of Many Layers project is the map of Bolton Fell Moss created by Helen Cann. This post put together by Harriet Fraser gives a behind-the-scenes look at Helen’s process, and how the map came into being.

Helen’s map not only shows the history of the moss, but also the present, documenting the ongoing upkeep of the Moss, and the hoped-for future as restoration brings rewards.  The layers of time – past, present and future – were important in Helen’s thinking.

The map shares stories from local residents and insights from scientists, and portrays the wildlife communities that have returned to the moss since extraction ceased and are likely to thrive as their habitats improve. It’s a thing of beauty, something that draws you in.

Detail of a handdrawn map of Bolton Fell Moss by Helen Cann. The image contains words (View point and Old Mill) and images of people, with description of the formation of peat over a ten thousand year period

When the original map was shared at the Wide Open Day it was like a magnet – people gathered around it, pointed out things they recognised, new information that surprised them, and used it as a catalyst to share further stories. The map is hand-drawn, in wonderful detail. When further infrastructure is in place on Bolton Fell Moss, and accessible via the boardwalk, a reproduction of the map will be in place. We can’t wait to see it there!

Three people stand with their backs to the camera, while they look at a large map of Bolton Fell Moss


Helen’s process

Helen compiled the map over a number of months. As well as visiting the site (which she reflects on in her blog here), Other artist researchers in the team shared recordings with her, so she could listen to interviews with people who used to work on the site when peat was extracted and ecologists and rangers who are now monitoring recovery of vegetation, and the return of wildlife. And Helen had conversations with the scientists, restoration specialists and others on the Moss of Many Layers team. This approach is new to Helen, and it’s great to see how rewarding it has been.

‘I have rarely worked with an inter-disciplinary team before other than being given access to historian or curatorial research notes, for example. Moss of Many Layers gave me the opportunity to have face to face talks with experts. The site visit was fantastic and vital in understanding the land and being able to have conversations with experts in the field.’ 

Images and writing from a map created by Helen Cann of Bolton Fell Moss. Images include a hare, a curlew, a girl and a digger

The inter-disciplinary nature of this project impacted the approach of all the researchers, with a level of responsiveness that relied on iterative learning and conversations. ‘My experience as an illustrator means my practice involves following a brief and then delivering as near to the agreed brief as possible.  In this case, I created my own brief and then followed through.’

A woman and two men are looking at a peat sample taken from 9 metres beneath the surface of a raised mire.

When we talked about this, Helen reflected that this is quite unusual – but worked perfectly. Each artist began with a loose framework (in Helen’s case, to draw a map) and then let their work evolve according to ongoing learning from visits to the site and from other people. Helen’s visit to Bolton Fell Moss caused her to change some of her initial ideas (and do a fair amount of rubbing out!). This doesn’t happen often in her work. ‘In the future, it might be good to allow myself space for more ‘idea bouncing’ and the flexibility to change course from the initial brief if my thoughts develop or I’m inspired to go in other directions. In general, I’m not sure how acceptable this is for stakeholders if they’ve a been promised a particular outcome – I’d never do this as an illustrator but it’s good to know how/if this works within an art context.’ Perhaps this is a key difference between pure illustration and research-led illustrative artwork, where the shape, detail and overall feel of a piece, can alter along the way: it’s responsive. You can read more about Helen’s reflections on her process on her website here.

One of the aims of the Moss of Many Layers project was for the various pieces of artwork to reflect learning, rather than an aim for a predetermined outcome. We’re really happy that this is what happened – and when all the work is compiled and made available we’ll share a link to it through the project page.

Encountering the unexpected

I asked Helen if anything unexpected happened for her. This was her answer:

‘ – the realisation that the Moss was in a constant state of flux, was still a work in progress and that I’d need to adapt drawings made initially as thoughts and practice had changed over the months.  I’m used to maps becoming anachronistic over time but never within such a short time, and I have to acknowledge that some elements of the map may be out of date by the time it’s actually printed as a sign!’

This might be a little unexpected in the context of creating an illustration, but it is an encouraging reflection: now that extraction has come to an end and restoration work is beginning to have a positive effect in the way water balance is shifting on the moss, the process of healing is showing quick results. It’s part of the positive story of this place – the geographical location won’t change, but a lot else will.

And a final word from Helen? ‘It’s been a blast.  I learnt loads and am really pleased with how the map turned out. I wish I could have had some of that cake.*’

*The cake at the Wide Open Day was a 3D presentation of the bog.


Moss of Many Layers Film

By Juliet Klottrup

Juliet Klottrup was one of the five artists who worked as part of the team on the Moss of Many Layers project – here’s the film she made after months of research. Click the link and enjoy – it’s a 15-minute watch.

The film now features in the COP26 Virtual Peat Pavillion – visit it there and find out more about peat, mires, mosses and bogs across the world.

An image of the virtual peat pavillion at COP26

To find out more about the project, and the extraordinary Bolton Fell Moss National Nature Reserve, visit the project page here.

Three ceramic pots which are white with blue drawings on them representing food

food crops, sustainability & GM

Guest blog by Daksha Patel

This new work – a group of three ceramic pieces – explores themes of global food security and the impact of climate change and new pests and diseases upon food crops.

Three ceramic pots which are white with blue drawings on them representing food

We are today increasingly reliant on a very small number of food crop species worldwide. According to a report by the New Scientist only 0.1% of the planet’s edible plants are currently used to feed people. Research at Kew is exploring how traditional and wild food crop varieties, which are more resilient to shifting climatic conditions and emerging pests and diseases, can be used to breed genetic diversity into today’s food crops to make them more resilient.

I was commissioned to create this work as part of ‘A Modest Show’ collateral events at BAS9 (The British Art Show 9) in Manchester, 2022. The ceramic pieces featured at the event I’ll Bring You Flowers, a pop up meal and exhibition with fellow Suite Studio artists Fiona Donald and Lisa Remers. This brought together curators, artists, feminist chef and sommelier duo Anna Søgaard and Kim McBride from SUPPher, for an evening of wonderful food, wine and conversations with the general public. Some very interesting discussions about the environment, plant diversity, climate change and plant genetics ensued!

I often start new work by drawing. These sketches are of traditional food crops such as Akkoub (part of the sunflower family which grows in Lebanon, Syria and Palestine) and the Morama bean (an oilseed which grows in Botswana, Namibia, South Africa and the Kalahari desert). It is of course impossible to ignore the other man-made threat to global food security: the impact of war and conflict on the supply chains of staple foods such as wheat. I incorporated mapping lines into the drawings to suggest coastlines and shipping routes, connecting different plants and geographical regions together.

I wanted the forms of the pots to reflect glass instruments such as conical flasks and beakers typically used in research laboratories. They were thrown in porcelain by Steve Graham at Clay Studio Manchester who skilfully and precisely followed my designs.

I used cobalt oxide to decorate the pots, an intricate process using tissue paper to transfer my drawings with a fine brush. It was very difficult to see what the final result would be, as the cobalt oxide was gritty and didn’t emulsify in the way water colours do. It was simply a question of making different concentrations of oxide by mixing with water, and waiting to see what emerged after firing.

A white ceramic pot raised on a potter's wheel with a design

The genetic modification of food crops is enmeshed in all kinds of inter-related, unresolved and ongoing issues. Farmers may become increasing reliant upon expensive seeds from the very small number of biotech companies who own the intellectual property for the genetic variations. The impact of GMO contamination in the environment is an ongoing concern that needs more research. Ultimately, scientific research is implicated in wider social, political, economic and environmental issues.

Finely decorated porcelain pots and food are both deeply connected to social practices and culture. The juxtaposition of traditional crafts with the laboratory-based forms and drawings on the ceramics, positions the scientific research into food crops and genetics in wider social contexts.

Wide Open day at Bolton Fell Moss

What a day on Monday to celebrate Bolton Fell Moss and the work that’s been done through the Moss of Many Layers project. We were blessed with dry weather for the walk, and the buzz continued in Hethersgill Village Hall afterwards.

A group of people gathered in a car park before heading out on a walk

We were quite astounded with the uptake of tickets for the walk – more than seventy people came along. We separated into four smaller groups, each led by two members of the Moss of Many Layers team who shared insights about the bog.

Huge thanks to everyone who came along – in each group there were people who had never been here before, as well as people who have connections with this place, so there was a lot to be shared, including stories of working here during the bog’s time as a site of peat extraction, or of working on restoration tasks, surveying and conservation. The children shared their own stories and the knowledge they’ve gained during the past year and were able to show others the peat ‘bunds’ they had created, which are now holding water, ready for sphagnum mosses to become established.

In the hall there was plenty of time for people to chat and find out more about Bolton Fell Moss and about the Moss of Many Layers project. People arrived who hadn’t joined the walk, it was a real pleasure to meet so many people who live locally and have their own connections with the bog. There is a lot of pride in this wonderful place!

The ‘star’ of the show was the peat core, which at more than 8-metres long took pride of place. Other work on display included Helen’s beautiful map; a series of portrait images taken by Rob, to share the faces and stories of people connected with this place; artwork from Shankhill Primary School children and young people from William Howard School who have worked with Anne; information about the Moss put together by Emma; a set of poetry written by Harriet; and a drone and GPS tracking devices that the scientists have been using for their research. And Juliet’s film had its premier with back to back screenings.

As with most gatherings, the party extended into the kitchen, and around the wonderful ‘Moss of Many Layers’ cake.

The best way to tell the story is through some images of the day. A digital collection of the work that’s been produced will be coming in due course, and we’ll be sharing the film as well. Watch this space!

A cake decorated to look like Bolton Fell Moss, a recovering peat bog. The train in the foreground carried peat in the days of extraction, in the background the cake is green
Every event deserves a good cake

To find out more about the Moss of Many Layers project and the team, visit this page.

a young child looking at a fern through a magnifying lens

hand in hand

Working with young people: Reflections from Anne Waggot Knott


Let’s burrow and borrow,

hand in hand, for tomorrow.


a child's hands squidging a lump of wet peat_creditAWK

The crux of the Moss of Many Layers project has always been about facilitating a deeper connection between the community and Bolton Fell Moss, more than just visiting the bog and creating work inspired by our visits. Reflecting on our engagement with young people, I think we’ve achieved a rich and profound process of exchange and reciprocity, of sharing and balance, between the students and the bog itself. Not just sharing information and ideas, but a tangible, physical, corporeal exchange.

The students have contributed their time, their minds, their hands and their handiwork. They committed a level of bravery; physical and mental exposure to this unpredictable, new environment and its elements. They’ve been listening and looking and trusting and digging and pushing and probing deep into the peat itself, getting dirt behind their nails, and (literally, in some cases!) immersing themselves the bog. They planted restorative species, putting something back into the landscape, a physical symbol of their involvement.

In return, Bolton Fell Moss has given back to them. As new ambassadors and stewards for this valuable place, they have watched it change through the seasons and they carry with them fresh knowledge and understanding from the land. The bog also gave up pieces of flora and fauna to take away and use in their artwork.

a young child looking at a fern through a magnifying lens

Building relationships

Foraging forces a slow, vigilant journey in the landscape. Through the careful acts of identifying, collecting, handling, protecting and transporting their finds, students developed a sense of ownership and responsibility for these tiny fragments. Their pride was evident in producing their foraged items back in the art room, examining them repeatedly and becoming familiar with the detail. This physical contact with the plantlife over a period of time, this guardianship and forensic examination, cements and reinforces a relationship, like hugging or holding hands.

Prior to industrial peat extraction, bogs were similarly part of the community as domestic sources of foraged foodstuffs. People picked berries, fungi and medicinal plants, and enjoyed a familiarity with their peat landscapes. It’s satisfying to have catalysed an intimate, tactile relationship between the bog and people once again. I like to think of the students’ work as a collective portrait of the bog, personifying and celebrating it as we would a prominent member of the family. We’ve welcomed it as part of the community again.

Letting things happen

I had very fluid expectations of these creative sessions. Although structured, I’ve assumed a broad acceptance of whatever the students and the bog bring to the table on the day. The act of making has proved fruitful as a vehicle for continued, pressure-free conversation and discussion. As we drew and stuck and printed, we’ve created so many opportunities for holistic conversations, anchored in the bog but relevant to the climate emergency and the way we use our natural resources. The students have enjoyed an opportunity to manifest their findings in a personal way, playing to their own strengths, reaching their own conclusions, and processing their experience with no judgement or assessment.

Art, science and community

I think we’ve also helped to embed the idea, early and subconsciously, that science and art don’t sit separately. And that this is a generation of connected, multidisciplinary young people who are broad, creative, confident, analytical thinkers, capable of bringing great breadth and depth to future environmental research and policymaking.

Artists and scientists work in similar ways: we research, experiment, create outcomes, disseminate and evaluate. From my perspective, Moss of Many Layers exemplifies the successful intertwining of approaches and processes, with funded time and space for experimentation. It has created a basis for triangulating art, science and community around our protected landscapes. It’s encouraging to see many more research and engagement projects take this approach as a matter of course, recognising the value of embedding artists and scientists in relationship with our natural world, hand-in-hand.

a child's hands holding the root ball of a plant
a child's bright collagraph print of a butterfly

Find out more: the NERC-funded Moss of Many Layers project.

Film still: Simon Carr on Bolton Fell Moss

Restoration Joy

A quick post with a short piece of ad-hoc filming at Bolton Fell Moss back in December 2021. Dr Simon Carr, PhD student Jack Brennand and Natural England Senior Reserves Manager Emma Austin share their delight in the progress that’s being made. Looking over some of the peat milling fields, they explain what we can see. Restoration work has included the creation of bunds, where peat has been moved to re-profile the land so that water can begin to settle.

Slowly, mosses and grasses will begin to colonise but all this happens much more quickly with a little help. Jane Barker of Barker and Bland has been critical in this process, and some of the restoration work on Bolton Fell Moss has involved adding sphagnum moss and cotton grass back to the bare surface of the peat.

More about this process, the way peat works, and what’s needed to restore damaged peatlands, will be shared on the Wide Open Day, and in the work that Rob and Juliet are creating with their photographs and film.

For more on the team, see this page here.

'Time Settles Darkly' Canvas installed on Bolton Fell Moss, with artist Harriet Fraser

A poem, Settling

Finding a poem to fit a place. Harriet Fraser reflects on the process behind the composition of a poem that will be sited on Bolton Fell Moss, as part of the Moss of Many Layers Project.

A bog is an other place. A place where time happens at a different pace. Writing too.

As the poet on the team with Moss of Many Layers I’ve been feeling my way in to the place and its story, listening to the scientists who relate tales of peat creation, carbon sequestration, mosses and more. I’ve been listening to and getting a feel for the place, the wind sweeping through grasses, the birds who change their tunes depending on the time of year, the silence of a surfaced bog oak, the buzz of dragonflies, the squelch of peat when I push a finger or a rod through it, and the sense of space and expansion out here. I’ve chatted with men who work on diggers moving tonnes of peat around to fashion bunds and ditches, doing what they can to help the water on this drained peatland find a level that’s perfect for moss. I’ve learnt from the Natural England reserve managers, from ecologists, and I’ve heard from people who once worked here, or knew someone who did, cutting into peat, or moving the tracks that supported carriages that carried peat out of its soft deep home and onto hard standing before being sent off for the horticultural industry. This moss is a place of layered lives.

The words for poetry have behaved a bit like ancient peat, staying quiet, taking time. They work their way to the front of my mind slowly, mostly while I sit with the vast bog and the edgeless sky around me, and let my mental tempo shift.

A large canvas set on the flat ground of a peat bog. The words on the canvas read 'AN OTHER PLACE'

Away from the bog, I’ve listened back to recordings of conversations and the sounds of the bog to remind me of the things I’ve heard. Parts per million. A thousand years in a metre of peat. Lapwings playing. Children wondering about carbon. Laughter about machines sinking. The colours of sphagnum. The call of a golden plover.

Early on in the ideas-phase of this project, I had the intention of composing a poem that could be placed, physically, in sections around the bog, visible from the boardwalk (which runs for roughly 3000m). I enjoy the challenge of installing words on hard materials – it’s not just finding the right words for the location but there’s the necessity of paring things down to fit available space. Returning several times to re-think and re-work the words has been essential. Using a large canvas to play with some phrases was also a key part of the process: a way to spend a lot of time sitting with place and words, with wind, sky and birds, and get a sense for what feels right.

in this moss of many layers
time settles darkly
a measure of healing

The words for the physical poem have now settled with me: they will be laser-cut into galvanised steel so the letters are voids, with a steel surround. The material I’ve chosen picks up on the industrial heritage of Bolton Fell Moss – remnants of steel are still scattered here, rusted to the colour of young peat. It won’t be long before the poem signs take on this colour. The letters will pick up the colour and texture of sky, moss, cotton grass, or maybe mist.

There will be seven signs, each with a short phrase. Each phrase, I hope, invites a pause, and also connects with the next, whether you walk clockwise or widdershins. Together the set of seven forms a poem that can be read in either direction.

Cutting out phrases, moving things around, working things out over breakfast

In thinking about the physicality of the work, I’ve had lots of conversations with others in the team, particularly with Rob who often helps me work through logistical issues, and with Emma Austin, who’s Senior Reserve Manager, and Jack Brennand, whose PhD study dives into peat restoration; he has explained the way ‘surface-level rods’ are used to measure long-term peat growth. All this has influenced the decision to use supports for the signs that run down to the mineral layer beneath the peat, so that they can act as monitors of change. As peat forms at a rate of one millimeter a year, it’s true that we personally won’t live to see much difference in the peat layer, but where sphagnum grows the upper layer (or acratelm) can accumulate at around ten centimeters a year. The poem signs will join other measurement tools across the bog. This crossover between poetry, place and science, head and heart, makes me grin. Is it just me? It feels so very satisfying.

The phrases contained in the short poem will appear in a longer poem (that I’m writing on paper instead of steel), as part of a series. My aim is to bring in a number of perspectives: time, peat, the work of extraction, and restoration, birds, animals, questions, concerns, change, hope.

I’ll be sharing some of the poems during the Poetry Walk on September 10th, and the full set of poems will be revealed at the ‘Wide Open Day’ on September 19th.

The poem signs will be installed on Bolton Fell Moss ready for the site’s opening to the public next year.

how does it feel
sky and earth
shifting

A notebook is held open on a table, showing pencil-writing; these are notes made by poet Harriet Fraser
Some of the notes I’ve made while spending time with the bog
Animage of a pepper moth which is black and white, shown against a branch

Many layers

A blog from Anne Waggot Knott, reflecting on the Moss of Many Layers project


a school minibus in the distance, driven by sideways rain

heralds the widening of eyes

and the blooming of minds

in the wilderness

 


Animage of a pepper moth which is black and white, shown against a branch

As we reflect on the second of three creative activity sessions with young participants on Bolton Fell Moss, I realise we have now really begun to unpack the many layers in the title of the project.

This visit was all about exploring what lives and depends on the moss: plants, insects, spiders, moths and birdlife.

We unloaded moth traps, uncovering beautiful, fragile beasties camouflaged against lichen and logs. We foraged for slugs and beetles and squirmed as a mass of spider babies spilled from their mother’s egg sac. We wafted our sweep nets after butterflies and captured all of the breathless wilderness wonder we could find.

A line of children on a mossy piece of ground watching a man reach into a moth trap to see what they have found
Looking in the moth trap

Our final exercise was to guard ‘curlew eggs’ (actually hardboiled chicken eggs), encouraging the students to understand the vulnerability of ground-nesting birds. I had to leave them at this point but the pupils each took an egg and spread out intrepidly to find their own nesting sites out on the reserve.

I turned to face the rain and my trudge to the car park. As I looked back across the vast expanse of heather, I could see little eight-year-old heads hunkered momentarily alone in the moss; sitting grounded like curlews on a nest, looking quietly around themselves with a new wonder and awareness, fully entrenched in their environment. They were totally absorbed, individually forming new ways of understanding the world.

A child making a picture of a moth by sticking fabric and buttons to an outline of a moth
Collograph plate

Reinforcing and embedding this experience through creative activity is a challenge, a layer of learning for me and for the other delivery partners too. This time we made collagraph printing plates inspired by the beasties we found, using recycled and repurposed collage materials, embedding another level of environmentally sensitive practice into the project.

An image showing the process of making a collograph print, creating a moth with drawing, ink roller, ink pad and print shown on a table

One of the most rewarding things about truly multi-disciplinary science-arts engagement is that we can find ways of reaching every individual participant. As an accompanying teacher pointed out last time, literally everyone enjoyed it. A neurodivergent student was completely mesmerised by the insects and moths. This generated a new admiration from their classmates and helped them focus on the follow up creative session too as they were already hooked. Abstract printmaking is satisfyingly inclusive – it doesn’t matter if you ‘can’t draw’ – it’s just mark-making at the end of the day – and the vibrant effects look enticingly cool. 

Also enticingly cool are these climate change faces produced during our reflective debrief. We hadn’t talked much about the bigger picture of carbon capture and storage during this session, focusing instead on flora and fauna on quite an intimate scale. But these expressive, striking images paint a thousand words and give me confidence that pupils have made the connection with the broader environmental catastrophe. I hope that by delivering sessions like this, we will help them develop a broad range of tools and knowledge to really make a difference. 

Climate change faces drawn by children on yellow and pink post-it notes
6 people are on a stage at a festival with a colourful backdrop

The Land in five objects: place artists at Timber Festival

How can art dream, reimagine and help shape the future …

Here’s a quick blog to share some smiles and reflections from the recent Timber Festival where a crew of five from the PLACE Collective took to the stage to share a conversation with the audience. The threads that ran through the session touched on ways that art can ignite an ever greater love for the natural world, how artists are part of discussions about critical issues, and the value of art to help us all dream, reimagine and shape the future.

6 people are on a stage at a festival with a colourful backdrop
From left to right: Harriet Fraser, Rob Fraser, Sarah Smout, Charlie Whinney, Kate Brundrett, Charlotte (signing). Image credit: Alex Johnston-Seymour

Our conversations followed on from many thought-provoking discussions and performances during the weekend. There were poets, musicians, writers, dancers, DJs, as well as open conversations held both on the Field Notes stage and around the campfire to explore pressing issues around environmental change.

We weren’t the only ones to come to the Field Notes stage from Cumbria. Earlier in the weekend, specialists in forests, biodiversity and ecology, including Ian Convery, took to the stage to talk about the expansion of woodlands and forests across the UK. This theme of expansion was picked up later in a panel discussion where Harriet from the PLACE Collective joined the CEO of the National Forest, a woodland creation specialist from Defra and member of the Youth Landscapers Collective to discuss the vision for a new Midlands Forest Network.

In the spirit of the festival, there was a strong sense of working together for positive change. This is in no small part ignited by the story of the National Forest, which covers 200 square miles across parts of Leicestershire, Derbyshire and Staffordshire. The area was previously dominated by coal mines and clay pits, and after these industries closed down, the idea for a new forest emerged: the first trees were planted in the late 1980s. Since then, almost 9 million trees have been planted, the landscape has been transformed, and the forest has become a rich, and highly valued part of daily life for so many of the people who live there. Timber Festival is part of the National Forest’s ethos of involving communities, and bringing people and trees together.

So, back to the PLACE Collective conversation … each person on the panel brought an object with them (listed below*), and introduced their practice and personal reflections while sharing the story behind their piece.

Questions and observations from the audience included an affirmation that scientists and artists should work together more in research and in communities, as we collectively devise ways to inspire, affect and enact change. This fits really nicely with the ethos behind the PLACE Collective where we’re always seeking ways to bring together people with different knowledge sets, and from many different backgrounds.

One question came from a young person wanting to pursue their own art practice, and looking for advice. Each person on the panel had much to share, but perhaps what was most memorable was the advice to ‘stay on your bus’ … don’t get off at other stops, or follow routes just because others are. Keep going, keep following what feels right. This relates to the Helsinki Bus Station theory outlined by photographer Arno Rafael Minkkinen in 2006, but could be relevant whatever field of work you’re in – if you’re curious, read about the Helsinki Bus Station Theory here. It might inspire you!

When the panel session was over, people from the audience came up to look at the objects and talk to the artists, and the chat continued into the sunshine and the beer tents, becoming part of the gentle and colourful interweave of the festival.

Talking about young people, among the many inspirations from the festival what really stood out for us was the Youth Landscapers Collective. This group of young people from the local area has been growing over the years, taking part in forest-based activities, developing creative work and leading important conversations. Their installation for this year’s Timber Festival was all about fungal networks – and a reflection not just on what grows in the soil, but perhaps about the value of more entangled, rhizomatic thinking about all of us humans …

If you haven’t been to Timber, which is run by Wild Rumpus, find out more here:   https://timberfestival.org.uk/ 

And to find out more about the National Forest, check out the website here: https://www.nationalforest.org/

And to finish, a word from Kate Brundrett, who joined the panel. Kate is on the Advisory Board of the PLACE Collective. She’s also an artist and a wellbeing coach, and founded Studio Morland, a community-arts and wellness centre in the Eden Valley, in Cumbria.

“How can art and artists make impact? Presenting ideas that are outside of our day to day framework, to stretch our imaginations into other worldly possibilities. Allowing us to feel, to connect, to reconnect and come home to ourselves. And if the process challenges people out of their comfort zones then all the better.”


*Maker Charlie Whinney arrived with a huge heart-shaped sculpture, steam-bent oak from an off-cut of a fallen tree. Sarah Smout brought her cello, Bernard. Rob Fraser carried a tiny oak tree onto the stage, which was rescued from a woodland cut down to make way for HS2. Kate Brundrett shared a piece called SOTWO (State of the World Overwhelm). And Harriet Fraser shared a segment of poetry, stitched around a heavy rock borrowed from beneath a sycamore tree in central Cumbria.

A short glimpse of the video installation by the Youth Landscapers Collective