A learning programme for primary schools and community groups in Bristol to design and build their own ballast seed gardens and take part in collaborative workshops. Responding to Brazilian artist Maria Thereza Alves’ investigation of ballast flora in European port cities and Bristol’s Floating Garden the programme set out to increase understanding of different heritages and engagement with the city’s trading and maritime past. Funded by the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) and led by the University of Bristol, in partnership with Arnolfini and University of Bristol Botanic Garden.
Seeds of Change: Growing a Living History of Bristol enabled primary schools and community groups around Bristol to create their own ballast seed gardens with help from the University of Bristol and the University of West of England students. 11 primary schools and 5 community centres took part in this city-wide engagement project during the 2012/13 academic year. Each created a new garden in their grounds and took part in two specially devised workshops. The following schools and community groups took part in the programme:
Ashley Down Primary
Ashton Gate Primary
Compass Point Primary
Sefton Park Primary
Upper Horfield Primary
St Werburgh’s Primary
The Park Community Learning Centre
Wellspring Healthy Living Centre
The Southville Centre
Windmill Hill City Farm (with St Mary Redcliffe School)
Friends of Netham Park
As partners Arnolfini worked alongside the University of Bristol Centre for Public Engagement and Botanic Garden to develop the engagement programme and facilitate creative workshops at Arnolfini and boat trips to the Floating Garden. The workshops were co-led by University of Bristol academics and artists and explored different aspects of local and global heritage, as well as art and science. Artists who had previously been commissioned by Arnolfini to create new work for the Floating Garden’s public programme in 2012 were invited to collaborate on the schools/ community groups’ engagement programme. Artists included sound artist and field recordist Matt Davies (Plant Orchestra) and storyteller Michael Loader (Catching the Gypsy Tale).
In June 2013 the journey of Seeds of Change: Growing a Living History of Bristol was shared in a specially devised Seeds of Change activities tent at Bristol’s Festival of Nature as part of Arnolfini’s Seeds of Change: A Floating Ballast Seed Garden public programme. A new audience of around 5,200 visited the Seeds of Change tent at the Festival including further school groups and members of the public. For further information on Seeds of Change at the Festival click here.
The University of Bristol Centre for Public Engagement, Botanic Garden and Arnolfini are currently reviewing the HLF programme and discussing best ways to extend the project to further groups in the future. As partners we are particularly interested in fostering further collaborations between artists and academics for future work connected to Seeds of Change and other projects.
Tell us what you think at #ballastseed and FFI contact Daisy Moon, Programme Assistant: firstname.lastname@example.org