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Seeds of Change at Bristol Festival of Nature

In June 2013 Arnolfini took part in the Bristol Festival of Nature’s special 10th anniversary celebrations in collaboration with the University of Bristol to share the project Seeds of Change, the overall title of an ongoing investigation of ballast flora in the port cities of Europe by the Brazilian artist Maria Thereza Alves.

Working in collaboration with the University of Bristol Centre for Public Engagement and Botanic Garden we hosted a 3 day Seeds of Change creative learning programme at the 2013 Bristol Festival of Nature (Friday 14 June 2013 – Sunday 16 June 2013) for schools and members of the public. Seeds of Change at the Festival of Nature featured an interactive activities tent, temporary ballast seed garden specially designed for the Amphitheatre Square, Bristol Harbourside, and a series of boat tours to Seeds of Change: A Floating Ballast Seed Garden. The Festival of Nature programme set out to share the concept of Seeds of Change from Maria Thereza Alves’ Port City installation (2007), the creation of the Floating Garden (2012-ongoing) in Bristol’s Floating Harbour and most recent collaborative programme Seeds of Change: Growing A Living History of Bristol (2012/2013) which brought Bristol primary schools and community groups into the project, delivered by the University of Bristol.

Visitors to the Festival of Nature were invited to explore their heritage and that of their fellow citizens by mapping their ancestral origins on a world map, sharing our links between Bristol and the rest of the world. Ballast seeds, such as rocket, marigold and oats were planted at our lively potting station and the secret sounds of ballast plants could be uncovered by listening into artist Matt Davies’ special recordings of plants, including the fig and the Venus fly trap.

Highlights included; a dedicated schools day, specially devised boat tours to the Floating Garden by international storyteller Cassandra Wye and the reinvention of German artist Matti Braun’s R.T/S.R/V.S artwork, exhibited at Arnolfini in 2012, to create the temporary ballast seed garden for the Festival of Nature.

A new audience of 5,200 visited the Seeds of Change tent at the Festival. 

Tell us what you think at #ballastseed or FFI contact Daisy Moon, Programme Assistant at

Seeds of Change at Bristol Festival of Nature featured as part of the 2013 BIG Green Week – the UK’s festival of eco ideas, art and entertainment.

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Saturday 02 July 2016, 14:30 to 16:00
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