Dartmoor and Exmoor Spring Event 2018

Dartmoor & Exmoor Site Specific Event

The Arborealists are delighted to have have been invited by both Exmoor and Dartmoor National Park Authorities to create site specific works based on their ancient and managed woodlands. The first visit by a group of Arborealists takes place at the end of April 2018.

Environmental campaigners believe that the majority of the population feel unconnected to nature and that there is no simple solution to this problem. We have become separated from our primordial roots and our once instinctive reliance on the cycle of life of our native flora and fauna. Many of us do not see ourselves as part of nature and so we do not understand or even care that we depend on the health of the natural world for our survival. It is recognised that doom and gloom reports of wild-life extinction and the destruction of vital environments can have the opposite effect to that intended.  We readily accept a depleted state of nature as a baseline that continues to creep; biodiversity is slipping away without being noticed. We refuse to accept or digest the evidence and we bury our heads in the sand.

There is a consensus however that fostering some kind of personal connection to nature is vital in order to awaken and mobilise a largely urban population to take action, and that this could include spirituality and the arts as well as science.

The project will draw directly on this premise and the Arborealists will visit specific tree and woodland sites on Exmoor and Dartmoor in different seasons and make new work for a special exhibition.

The aims are as follows:
  1. To present an emotional and artistic response to the trees and woodland sites in
    order to amplify awareness of them as a natural resource of especial value. 
  2. To compare and contrast the diverse ecology and environments of the different sites through    works of art.
  3. To disseminate and promote the related ecological, historic and social research of the sites and thus their value, through the content of the exhibition and accompanying, interpretive texts.
  4. To highlight the threats to the sites such as neglect, degradation and climate change in order to encourage behavioural change in people who visit and enjoy the national parks.
  5. To celebrate and promote the precious and unique environments of Exmoor and Dartmoor.

The Project

Relevant officers of Exmoor and Dartmoor National Park Authorities will identify and provide information on 4-6 tree and woodland sites on each moor of special ecological and historical significance. Information and access details for the sites would be made available for the artists.

The project will be advertised to the Arborealists and guest local tree artists of significant reputation. Artists will sign up to the project and select from the proposed sites. It is envisaged that an appropriate spread of artists and sites will be established, with each artist selecting one or more sites.

The Arborealists will share accommodation on specific long weekends in the spring and autumn of 2018 (and possibly 2019) and make preliminary or finished works of art at the sites. Artists may choose to work individually or in groups or return to the sites at other times. A community spirit and shared experience is part of the Arborealists' ethos that helps to develop art practice through cross-fertilisation.  

The Arborealists will programme a high quality exhibition of completed project works with an appropriate art gallery of superior reputation as close to the moors as possible, and ideally timed to coincide with a related moor festival of May 2019/20

The National park Authorities will provide wall texts to accompany the exhibition, each of about 3-400 words, describing the ecological, historical and social significance of the sites represented.

The National park Authorities will assist the Arborealists in promoting the project and exhibition through regular channels such as website, social media, literature and festival programmes as appropriate for maximum publicity and footfall.

The project may grow to incorporate other art forms such as film and photography, poetry, literature, sculpture and music. These avenues will be explored as the project develops.

Related events such as artists’ and ecologists’ talks, workshops and guided walks to the sites may be incorporated as part of the project.

The project may, depending on available funding sources, be recorded in a publication to accompany the exhibition. This would further disseminate the aims of the project and assist in its interpretation and act as a legacy.