Tree-inspired immersive art installation and urgent conversations at Forwards Festival

Find out what's on in Bristol this month...

Overstory, a free-to-attend summer art installation from leading contemporary artists Ivan Morison and Heather Peak will take root in Broadmead from 19 – 30 August – brought to Bristol by The Natural History Consortium, the charity behind the city’s Festival of Nature. 

For the first headline cultural project for 2022/23 from Bristol’s City Centre and High Streets Recovery and Renewal programme, the artists were inspired by native trees across Bristol. The contemporary artwork will temporarily transform Broadmead, with visitors invited to enjoy the installation, which will hang high up overhead, alongside enjoying a programme of engaging, fun and free activities involving art and nature. 

It is hoped that the artwork will encourage interest and discussion around the importance of trees in our lives, as well as highlight the necessity of tree canopy coverage across the city. Overstory also aligns with Bristol’s tree planting strategy of doubling the number of trees in the city by 2050, for the benefit of both people and wildlife. Highlighting Bristol’s tree canopy in a creative and immersive way, Overstory will be both educational and entertaining for those both young and young at heart visiting Broadmead this August.

Savita Willmott, Chief Executive of The Natural History Consortium, said:“We are delighted to announce Overstory, following a hugely successful Festival of Nature in June. We can’t wait to see the installation once it’s up, filling Broadmead with the wonders of nature.” 

Visiting Overstory will make for the perfect family-friendly activity in the centre of Bristol during the school break, with a range of environmental organisations sharing ideas on how to create, protect and explore woodlands and forests in the region running alongside the artwork. 

Free for all to view, further details about Overstory and the free programme of events will be released closer to the launch.

The project is being delivered as one of the activities under the City Centre and High Streets Recovery and Renewal programme, funded by Bristol City Council and the West of England Combined Authority’s Love Our High Streets project. Bristol City Council’s City Centre and High Streets Recovery programme is investing in the culture and events sector to help the recovery of the city centre and Bristol’s high streets. Overstory is the first headline commission to be funded through the council to encourage people to visit and stay in the area, providing support to businesses.

For more information, please
follow social media updates on
 @festofnature and #Overstory

Bristol changemakers complete programme of urgent conversations at Forwards Festival 

Looking to pave a new way and create a legacy in Bristol, FORWARDS is presenting an epic music line up side-by-side with urgent-conversations that delve into crucial topics deep-rooted in the city; from making Bristol a sex-positive city, to tackling Bristol’s housing crisis and breaking the class-ceiling in the creative industries. 

The New INFORMATION programme announced today:

Saturday 3 September: 

Creatives face Climate Change, Breaking the Music Class-ceiling and Modernising Drug Support

Bristol environmental campaigners and agency Enviral bring to FORWARDS its changemaking campaigns for leading industry clients such as Greenpeace and Surfers Against Sewage to explore why creatives are fundamental for breaking boundaries for the communication of the climate crisis today. 

Also on Saturday, Izzy Cross director of the young person’s CIC, Noods Levels, and previously of NOODS Radio, will bring together a panel discussing breaking the class-ceiling in the music industry acknowledging their own experiences, featuring music, portrait and documentary photographer Khali Ackford and mic man and vocalist Dread MC. Bristol Drugs Project will also take to the stage for a panel on the modern way to treat drugs. 

The volunteer-run festival of socialist politics, arts, and culture Bristol Transformed completes the line up for Saturday, founder Isaac Kneebone-Hopkins will lead a talk on why you can’t just change yourself, you have to change the world. 

Sunday 4 September: 

Housing Crisis, a Sex Positive City and “Can festivals be a force for change?”

On Sunday Caring in Bristol, the charity working with people experiencing, or at risk of, homelessness will come together with Bristol’s housing activists to ask ‘Is solving Bristol’s housing crisis even possible?’, at a critical time for rising homeless numbers in the city. Harvey Watt from Black Excellence will lead a discussion about the work of the organisation alongside Kaden Gardener, Bandyt and Dawn Limbu.

Campaigner Amélie will be joined by Euella Jackson from Rising Arts and Jess Herman, founder of the Sexual Health Circus to lead a disciussion on how to make Bristol a sex-positive city, pleasure activism in practice and sex workers rights 

Across the weekend Team Love’s BIG TEAM CIC will lead a discussion into how music festivals can be a force for change, inviting leading festival organisers to take to the stage to look at their plans for 2023 and beyond. 

Antonia Cross, Programmer of THE INFORMATION area at FORWARDS explains: “Bristol is packed with strong voices who are all agents for change – leading the way both nationally and internationally with ideas for the future. This is why we are so proud to be launching FORWARDS with and in Bristol, kickstarting a new breed of festivals that leaves a real legacy for the city.”

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