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Forest of Imagination 2023 – Bath Spa University

Bath Spa University celebrates a decade of supporting contemporary arts event in historic Bath venue

Friday, 12 May, 2023

Bath’s award-winning, free-to-attend contemporary arts event, Forest of Imagination, is back once again this summer – inviting adults and schoolchildren to “Assemble in the Forest” and connect with nature in a host of imaginative ways.

Bath’s world-famous Assembly Rooms will be the venue for Forest of Imagination 2023, which runs from 14 June to 14 July 2023.  

Spaces inside and outside the building will be transformed into a series of playful, nature-inspired art experiences, offering visitors the chance to immerse themselves in multi-sensory installations, soundscapes and sculptures; join artists' workshops; and explore a whole host of creative and community projects from top local and international artists, designers and businesses.

This is the 10th Anniversary of Forest of Imagination – an event masterminded by House of Imagination, Grant Associates, and Feilden Clegg Bradley Studios in partnership with Bath Spa University, working alongside the creative, cultural and educational community of Bath. Each year a familiar space in Bath is re-imagined to highlight the importance of nature and imagination in all of our lives.

Over the last 10 years, more than 60,000 visitors have attended and over 100,000 interacted with the contemporary arts event online. Every year around 20 local schools, 5 partner universities and 50 artists and creative professionals help grow new branches of the unique event. 

For 2023, the National Trust invited Forest of Imagination to the Bath Assembly Rooms while the charity uncovers the history of the building, tests and finalises plans for the future and undertakes building work ahead of opening a Georgian experience in 2026. The theme ‘Assemble in the Forest’ is inspired by the opportunity to link art, nature, and the social life of the city into an experience that takes full advantage of the grand internal rooms and the distinctive outdoor spaces. 

Dr Penny Hay, Forest of Imagination co-founder and Reader and Research Fellow at Bath Spa University said: 

“For the past ten years, Forest of Imagination has been a truly collaborative event which gives it a unique creative energy – and that very much continues to be the case in 2023. At a period of great transition and change for our world, this is a time to collectively and creatively come together to imagine how things can be different in the future.”

Penny added:

“Forest of Imagination brings the community together to explore the importance of the natural world and our collective imagination. I can't quite believe that Forest of Imagination is in its 10th year - supported year on year by Bath Spa University. Forest of Imagination makes creativity and sustainability visible in everything we do together in an interdisciplinary space of possibility demonstrating that creativity is an innate human capacity. For the first time ever, this year nearly all schools at Bath Spa are involved, from students working on accredited modules, professional placements, internships and graduate internships, together with staff engagement across research groups and centres. Forest of Imagination invites everyone to think and make together, through an ecological approach to learning, it is a fun and meaningful way to get involved in hopeful actions for change in the face of the ecological emergency.”

Andrew Grant, Forest of Imagination co-founder and director of Bath-based landscape architects Grant Associates said:

“All around the world people use forests as places to find respite, either individually or together. ‘Assemble in the Forest’ is an open invitation to come together and celebrate the beauty and biodiversity of Bath and once again to showcase the imagination of our community. In addition, it will provide an opportunity to shine a light on the importance of forests across the world and what they mean to us in Bath.”

Forest of Imagination is a partnership between Bath Spa University, House of Imagination Grant Associates, and Feilden Clegg Bradley Studios working alongside the creative, cultural and educational community of Bath. 

To find out more about all the evolving programme for Forest of Imagination 2023, visit their website.


Image credit: Morag Myerscough

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