Kirsty Badenoch with Wayward, Hatfield Forest

We are delighted to announce that Kirsty Badenoch with Wayward has been selected for the Hatfield Forest Commission.

Essex Cultural Diversity Project and the National Trust invited proposals for a creative project to mark the 100th anniversary of the gifting of Hatfield Forest to the National Trust, which would celebrate this unique and vulnerable ancient site, and help articulate the importance of philanthropy, acts of kindness and calls to action that enthuse and inspire us to all care for the environment and our communities.

Kirsty and Wayward’s project, A Common Way looks to extend Hatfield Forest’s hundred-year-old act of care and community into today’s local landscape, harnessing the power of queer ecofeminism, an ideology that aims to break binaries and acknowledge the diversity of the natural world and humanity’s connection with it.

A Common Way proposes a new co-created trail around Hatfield Forest, charted through the eyes and ears of female and LGBTQ+ individuals and communities. Through a series of creative storytelling workshops, they will invite woman and individuals identifying as LGBTQ+ across west and south Essex to explore the woods both past and future – sharing, weaving and creating new stories alongside future socio-environmental visions. A new public route will be formed through collaborative conversations, as they find special, significant and personal moments to connect.

The new route will be accessible to all as an online map and added to the official routes of Hatfield Forest, engaging new audiences with the forest and inspiring future generations of care. The workshop conversations will be creatively crafted into an audio guide, comprising a collective story told by the people and field recordings capturing non-human forest voices.

The opening of the route will be celebrated through a public party, and marked by ‘100 acts of kindness,’ inviting members of the public to promise offerings of care to the forest and to one another.

“It is fantastic to be working in partnership with the Essex Cultural Diversity Project once again- this time on a project celebrating 100 years since Hatfield Forest was saved for the nation by Edward North Buxton. We are thrilled to have Kirsty Badenoch and Wayward as the creative team for this project, and are really excited to see how their collective skillsets celebrate this incredibly significant moment in the history of the Forest. This project will equally support the articulation of the care and conservation of this symbolic place for many years to come, as this National Nature Reserve moves into its next 100 years.” National Trust Team at Hatfield Forest

“Hatfield Forest is a place crafted through care – through exchanges between individuals, ecologies and communities. We’re thrilled to be helping extend this long history of care into the future, and can’t wait to invite people to walk, talk, draw, listen and share together over the next months. We hope the creation of our new collective path can inspire people to engage with the freedom and diversity of the woodlands in whole new ways. As we care for the forest, it cares back for us – it’s an amazing story to be part of!” Kirsty Badenoch

“We are once again looking forward to teaming up with the National Trust, as part of a series of commissions that celebrate diversity, people and place. We are delighted to be working with Kirsty Badenoch and Wayward to creatively explore queer histories and heritage of Hatfield Forest, in a project that aims to capture the kindness and gratitude that many of us feel towards our natural environment” Essex Cultural Diversity Project

About Kirsty Badenoch (Artist / Project Lead) / instagram: #kirstybadenoch

Kirsty is an artist, architect and educator. Her work centres around fragile and disturbed landscapes, communities and ecologies. Through a research-led approach, she develops interdisciplinary and collaborative site-based projects that engage with the natural world in a time of flux. Her work spans drawing, performance, installation, public engagement, landscape design and green strategy. From hosting management workshops in ancient woodlands to drawing sessions with special needs groups, curating inter-disciplinary arts festivals to creating human-scale painting in forests, Kirsty is dedicated to engaging people with the ecological issues of our time. Kirsty has over ten years experience working with some of Europe’s top landscape and urbanism practices, with whom she has led major community-engaged landscape projects across the UK. Kirsty teaches at The Bartlett School of Architecture, UCL and is guest lecturer at a number of universities across the UK.

About Wayward (Engagement and Design) / instagram: #waywardplants

Wayward is a London-based landscape, art and architecture practice – an award-winning collective of designers, artists and urban growers. Since 2006, Wayward has designed and tested innovative new social, cultural and economic models for sustainable green spaces. Wayward takes a unique approach to landscape through the creation of narrative environments. Our projects express stories that connect people through nature, creating vibrant places which are productive, meaningful and imaginative, and facilitating the exchange of stories, ideas and skills. Community engagement is at the centre of Wayward’s projects, with self-initiated projects such as the House of Wayward Plants, Wayward’s large scale landscape reuse scheme that yearly re-homes thousands of plants, trees and tonnes of landscape materials from Chelsea Flower Show and Hampton Court Palace Garden Festival to community groups and schools across London. Over the last decade Wayward have worked with over 700 schools, community groups, NHS services and community gardens from across London and its surroundings, providing engagement, donations, mentorship and legacy projects.

Liam Healy (Critical Friend)

Dr Liam Healy is a design-researcher and lecturer at the Sheffield School of Architecture. His current design-research ‘Co-designing Forests’ (funded by the AHRC) is a collaboration with Forestry England exploring how practice-led participatory and speculative design might be employed to explore the ways that access, such as paths and trails might contribute to woodland health and expansion alongside human wellbeing, as well as how more-than-human forest communities engage with these processes. Liam has a PhD in Design from Goldsmiths, University of London and has previously taught across BA, MA and PhD at Goldsmiths UoL and Aarhus University, Denmark. Liam will form a critical friend for the project, advising throughout its development and linking the project to the wider current Forestry England research.


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