University of the Trees

Timeline at CCANW 2006-2011

During the period of establishing CCANW at Haldon, Clive had several meetings with myself and the University of the Trees project was an important influence on CCANW’s programme, leading to the idea of a long-term collaboration and away from the idea of a conventional forest sculpture trail. It also led to the first and impactful artist residency with Sam Mukumba, a recent graduate from the Master in Social Sculpture and Connective Practice at Oxford Brookes University.

May 2006

Public Event 1

Shelley, Johanna, Lilliam Sum, James Reed and John Evans tried out the golden circle ‘dialogue space’ instrument around a tree and a prototype white felt Sling.

Research Wagon for University of the Trees and CCANW, Haldon Forest 2006. Instrument James Reed. Photo Chris Lewis.

5 and 19 June 2007

Public Event 2

University of the Trees was launched at a public event on World Environment Day 5 June. I described how the project was both a creative framework for exploring our relationship with trees and the natural world, and for connecting intuitive forms of experience with our reasoned understandings. Participants experimented in the forest with the prototype ‘instruments’ under development.

Shelley speaking at Public Event 2. Photo Johanna Korndorfer.

Participants in the UOT Main Forum during the launch event 2007. Photo Chris Lewis.

Using a kit developed by myself, that I described as ‘instruments of consciousness’ instead of ‘objects of attention’, the event enabled participants to explore new ways of perceiving and acting that emerge from a deepened understanding of our relationship with trees, forests and the natural world. Following this event, which involved a participatory process in the Main Forum of the UOT created by the ‘tree bands’ and ‘tree partners’, a core group was established which met regularly at CCANW during 2008. It was open at all meetings to newcomers interested in the project.

Yellow cotton Tree Bands used to define the Main Forum, Haldon Forest 2007. Instrument and photo © Shelley Sacks.

21 June 2008

Public Event 3

University of the Trees. Workshop/Event. Meeting of Exeter Group. The group invited current members and newcomers to a workshop in the forest.

Johanna Korndorfer training to be a facilitator with UOT Tree Sling prototype. Instrument © Shelley Sacks. Photo Chris Lewis.

26/27 July 2008

Public Event 4

International Forum. This intensive two-day event took place in the Main Forum of UOT, in Haldon Forest. The event highlighted that UOT was a long-term international network project for ‘re-schooling the senses’ and developing ‘capacities for the future’. The discussion included a focus on the ways in which the ecological crisis is an opportunity for conscious and responsible engagement in shaping a humane and ecologically viable future. Myself, along with two UOT advisors – Dr Chris Seeley and Dr Volker Harlan, and Dieter Schumacher, a workshop leader from the UOT group in Darmstadt, Germany, led the all-day workshops which included connective practices with the Sling, as well as lectures and discussion in the UOT Main Forum in the forest.

31 March-2 April 2011

Public Event 5

The UOT events in 2011 were part of CCANW’s Tree Culture programme. They began with a day-long workshop for 20 students and staff of the MA Art and Environment course at Falmouth on 31 March, with myself introducing the UOT framework and sharing aspects of the UOT connective practice approach.

Shelley running a workshop for MA Art and Environment students from Falmouth. Photo Clive Adams.

Johanna and I delivered an evening presentation for mental health practitioners on 1 April and two workshops on 2 April for local school groups.

18-19 November 2011

Public Event 6

On Friday 18 November I offered an Earth Forum, recently used in Germany and South Africa, to a few of the UOT-Exeter members and friends. On the following evening I gave a lecture to a group of artists, curators, and activists on UOT that involved a connective practice.

Shelley shared Earth Forum prototype at CCANW Forum 2011. Instrument and photo © Shelley Sacks.

Earth Forum process with Alanus University students and public, Germany 2011. Instruments and photo © Shelley Sacks.

In addition to these advertised public events, many connective practice workshops were organised and facilitated by Johanna between 2008 and 2011 for schools, teachers, artists, people with disabilities, young offenders and the local UOT network. A particularly successful project involved Johanna in a secondment at Ridgeway School, Plymouth, culminating in a visit of 15 year 8 and 9 students to Haldon in November 2008.

Report by Johanna Korndorfer on project with Ridgeway School

UOT Outreach Kit for CCANW 2008. Instruments © Shelley Sacks. Photo Chris Lewis.

Copyright © Shelley Sacks. All Rights Reserved 2024.

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