Our local artists are joining forces with local ecologists to create Wild Arts as a creative contribution to the Nature Recovery Network.

Wild Arts builds on two art workshops that took place on the ancient wildflower hay meadow, Long Mead, in the summer of 2021. The workshops were organised as part of the Nature Recovery Network (NRN) by artist, Alice Walker and Long Mead's Catriona Bass, to inspire participants to create art works for the Floodplain Meadows Partnership International Art Competition. The Floodplain Meadows Partnership team, led by Prof. David Gowing of the Open University, is studying the natural history of these rare floodplain meadows, including their botanic diversity, their reslience, their significance for agriculture, and their role in carbon sequestration in the face of climate change.

The art workshops generated a strong response in the community; indeed it resulted in great local success in the international competition. Four out of the twelve winners (one for each month of the 2022 FMP Calendar) were participants of the workshops, including Julia Loken, a botanical artist, and Alice Walker, who was the overall joint-winner. (You can get a glimpse of our meadow artists at work in this compelling film made by the Nature-based Solutions Initiative of Oxford University that was screened at COP26).

One important insight that came out of the summer art workshops was the value of combining scientific learning with artistic expression. Both science and art require close and sustained attention to the subjects under scrutiny, both require understanding, both require interpretation and communication. 'Wild Arts' aims to take this symbiosis further with a series of workshops led by local artists in collaboration with local field specialists that draw inspiration, reference and material directly from the local ecology and combine opportunities to learn new skills, knowledge and respond creatively. This will be accompanied by a community-sourced creative nature diary project.

Our first workshop is Mud & Clay, led by Alison Holmans and Bob Cowley that will take place on Sunday morning 23 Jan. Please register if you wish to attend. More details about the workshop and registration here.

Our second workshop is Winter Trees, led by Alice Walker and Toby Swift of the Wychwood Forest Trust that will take place on Sat. 12 Feb. Please register if you wish to attend. More details about the workshop and registration here.