Silent Space continues to grow in ways I could never have imagined when I first approached a couple of head gardeners with the idea in 2016. It’s too early to share details of the exciting developments that lie ahead in 2019, but here’s a quick update on some of last year’s happenings.
"Sensing Nature" has been a two-year research project, led by Dr Sarah Bell at the University of Exeter and funded by the Economic and Social Research Council. Using an in-depth qualitative approach, the project has aimed to improve the ways we understand, enable and promote more inclusive, multisensory nature experiences amongst people living with sight impairment. Sarah brings LGHN up to date with the project's progress this year.
The Festival of Urban Landscapes was, as billed, ‘a small conference with a big difference’. John Little, Greenspace Manager at the Clapton Park Estate, Hackney, invited an outstanding group of speakers to Hilldrop, his family’s four-acre wildlife garden in Essex and then added great food and music to the mix. A fascinating bunch of people, passionate and knowledgeable about urban nature, signed up to hear what they had to say.
With ongoing pressures on our health and social care systems, now is the time to recognise the powerful contribution the arts can make to our health and wellbeing. Rachel Massey, Arts & Wellbeing Coordinator at Yorkshire Sculpture Park, explains more.
Our lives are hectic and we often find it difficult to truly relax. As well-documented research demonstrates, time spent in nature can be very helpful. But could it be even more effective if we enjoyed it in silence? If, instead of allowing ourselves to be distracted, we made time to listen to the birds and the sounds of the breeze in the trees?
The Sensing Nature website has been launched. It will keep us up to date with the two-year ESRC funded project started in November 2016 by Dr Sarah Bell. Focussing on individuals living with visual impairment, the project will explore the sensory and emotional experiences we have in nature.
In a recent blog, Dr Bell draws attention to the work of Karis Petty, an anthropologist at the University of Sussex who was taught to 'echolate' by a participant in a research project she was running. Dr Bell suggests that 'echolocation' is an activity we could all try whenever we are quiet in nature. Rather than listening with our ears we can begin to 'listen' with our whole being.
Royal Horticultural Society reports on the John MacLeod Lecture 2016.
A leading academic has argued that gardening is uniquely placed to help bridge the widening gap between modern, urban lives and the natural world, during the Royal Horticultural Society’s (RHS) annual John MacLeod Lecture on 10 November.
At Holt Wood we are working towards sustainable cultivation and harvest of medicinal trees and shrubs. Our project is based on a two acre site in North Devon, UK which was previously a conifer plantation.
A stroll in the park could be the best way for urban dwellers to banish negative thoughts. A New York Times blog reports on research at Stanford University into the psychological effects of urban living.
Conversations about healing trees by Colin Porter
Having been trained at Kew in the 1980’s form of scientific rationality, the more left-field ideas of natural harmony or sustainability found at places like Findhorn or the Centre for Alernative Technology in North Wales should have passed me by. The majority of people I worked with seemed to be reassured by reasoned argument and, as far as I was concerned, scientific rationality provided a reliable platform for the day job. But our day jobs were only part of the story.
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