This month I start work on a new project with Andover Trees United, which builds on my previous work on Ash Tree Stream, only this time we will focus more closely on Andover’s relationship with its river, The Anton.
Living by the Ash Tree Waters (LATW) will see me working with school children and community groups, to develop backpack based portable artworks/interactive interpretation, which in turn will support local people to experience their local rivers (particularly chalkstreams) in new ways.
Today I was meant to be starting things off with Portway Junior School in Andover, but had to postpone the session due to my son having Covid. Fingers crossed I’ll be back out next week to get the ball rolling with Appleshaw St Peter’s School, and get back to Portway and Vernham Dean Gillum Schools before the end of the month.
I’ve developed backpack-based interpretation before at Stonehenge for English Heritage and National Trust, and explored the role of portable interactive artworks with Climate Museum UK. As much of my practice is about walking, talking and making, to explore people’s relationships with place, it’s a logical next step to provide ways for people to do something similar when I’m not there too.
My work on LATW has been supported by Watercress and Winterbournes, a Landscape Partnership Scheme, itself funded by The National Lottery Heritage Fund. LATW will also incorporate work with schools and communities from musician Paul Sartin, and connect with the Voices in Harmony project that Andover Trees United is running with Paul and sound artist Justin Wiggan.
LATW and Voices in Harmony mark the culmination of Andover Trees United’s Harmony Woods Project, a 10 year project to create a community woodland for Andover:
‘Harmony Woods is a 10-year planting project, giving all the children and young people in our community the chance to turn 12 acres of land into a natural urban woodland, increasing biodiversity and providing a wealth of opportunities for learning in and about the environment.’
More to follow as my work on the the LATW project develops…