The programme looks at the emotional connections people have developed with woodlands, which have contributed to a rich body of myths, folklore and traditional culture.
Artist Felix Loftus has been commissioned to lead a series of five creative sessions with a range of groups in Milton Keynes. These sessions will capture stories about trees from local perspectives, which will inform a collective artwork and exhibition at MK Gallery’s Project Space from 2-4 June. The project is funded by MK Community Foundation.
Felix is a computational artist, technician and creative educator. He specialises in low-power digital photography and interactive fiction games. He explores how technology can be a tool for re-enacting and restoring relationships to the land and to the more-than-human world.
This Branching Out programme connects to the research project of the same name, led by Loughborough University working with colleagues from Open University and University of York. The project combines biophysical data and storytelling to capture the social and cultural value of trees. The project will develop new ways of mapping, predicting and communicating social and cultural values to support robust, evidence-based decision making and management.
Professor Mike Wilson, Head of Creative Arts at Loughborough University said: “Branching Out is a very exciting project to be part of. Not only do we have the opportunity to make a real difference to the way that social and cultural values of trees are properly considered, leading to fully rounded and informed planning and policy-making. But also to integrate our research in storytelling with environmental and social science expertise, as a way of bringing additional voices and experiences into the public discourse around the future of our urban treescapes.”