Spaces around Bath Abbey are to be transformed into a temporary fantastical forest and outdoor gallery by a collective of local artists and creative businesses during a free, four-day contemporary arts event on 3rd-6th June.
Featuring a playful programme of sensory installations, artworks, outdoor theatre and participatory creative activities for visitors of all ages, Forest of Imagination is returning to the World Heritage City for its third year this summer.
2016’s event is focused around three areas close to the Abbey and is themed around ‘Eyes of the Forest’.
It aims to suggest interesting and imaginative ways of seeing forests and their importance to global ecosystems.
To the front of the abbey, the Global Forest will point to the global importance of forests and encourage the imagination to travel to the forests of Madagascar and marvel at its Baobab trees.
The island’s endangered wildlife is symbolised by the presence of Lemurs from a Bristol Zoo led conservation project.
Focused on Abbey Green’s mature Plane tree, the Living Forest will use a soundscape and lightweight sculpture to highlight the role of nature in the city.
In a large square off Kingston Parade, the Creative Forest offers an outdoor workshop where the Forest of Imagination will grow over the four-day event and involve a creative installation of 1,000 living and made trees.
Forest of Imagination is the brainchild of a collaborative team of Bath-based businesses, including landscape architects Grant Associates, arts-based charity 5x5x5=creativity, creative consultancy Imaginnovation and architects Feilden Clegg Bradley Studios.
It aims to highlight the inherent creativity of Bath and connect people with nature by reinventing spaces in the city to inspire intuitive play, unleash imagination and encourage exploration.
Herman Miller Cares is once again headline sponsor of the event. Other key event collaborators for the 2016 event will include Bath Abbey, Bath Spa University, Bristol Zoo, RSA (Royal Society for the encouragement of Arts), children’s play charity The House of Fairy Tales and local schools.
Artists, designers and makers already signed up to the event include Martyn Ware, Edwina Bridgeman, Jessica Palmer, Anthony Head, Clare Day, Jono Burgess, Alison Harper, James Aldridge and students from the Bath School of Art and Design.
Forest of Imagination made a successful debut in the grounds of Bath School of Art and Design in July 2014. Last year’s event was based in Queen’s Square and welcomed over 7,000 visitors.
Andrew Grant, Director, Grant Associates, said: “2016’s Forest of Imagination aims to transform central spaces in Bath into temporary forests that inspire the imagination, and highlight the interconnectivity of forests and cities across the globe.
“The ‘Eyes of the Forest’ theme emphasises seeing and experiencing these familiar environments from unusual perspectives to inform and engage visitors in their messages of conservation and creativity.”
Penny Hay, Director, 5x5x5=creativity and Senior Lecturer at Bath Spa University, said: “Creativity and imagination can enhance wellbeing and transform lives. Forest of Imagination offers an immersive experience that is inspired by nature and encourages adults and children to enjoy their own imagination and creativity. The event is a showcase for Bath as a hotbed of innovation and artistic exploration.”
For more information, visit www.forestofimagination.com.