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I have been lucky enough to attend two creative art and ecology summits organised by Next year’s theme is all about forests so I’m very much hoping to attend!! I expect it will be not so much ‘evolving forests’, more that it will a rich event promoting conversations and creativity, practical and scientific knowledge, about how we must urgently evolve our relationship to all forests across the world. The impetus for changing all industrial land and ocean practices has never been clearer in recent scientific reports:  the IPCC and WWF clearly conclude that current industrial agri-forestry-aqua- cultural practices are causing catastrophic losses in wildlife and biodiversity.

There is now a call for artist/forester contributions to the event here. (Deadline November 19 2018)

Evolving the Forest will be a three-day international gathering bringing together creative thinkers and doers to explore the forest and how we live with trees. Evolving the Forest is convened by, the Royal Forestry Society and Timber Strategies.

This three-day symposium draws together a wide variety of voices to explore a heritage of woodland and forest and look to their future. In celebration of the UK Forestry Commission’s centenary it looks back at the last 100 years and looks forward to the next.  We draw on the wisdom of foresters, environmental managers, policy-makers, scientists and other experts; we hear the voices of artists, designers, writers, philosophers and others who wander and wonder in our varied British forests; and we learn from others around the world about their own cultural connections to trees, and the wood that produces some of the world’s most beautiful objects.

This symposium incorporates the annual conference of the UK Royal Forestry Society (RFS) and is their primary contribution to marking the UK Forestry Commission’s centenary. The event is produced by, renowned for their re-invention of the academic conference into something inclusive, collaborative, friendly, experiential and tactile.

There are nine broad themes:

  • Our historic relationship with trees and woodland
  • Landscape and the sublime forest
  • Land use, agroforestry and new approaches to cropping
  • Trees and woodland in society and as a source of health and wellbeing
  • Woodland habitat as a home to many
  • Artistic and literary responses
  • Climate change impacts
  • Wood as a material / contemporary timber-based design
  • How we live with trees, ethical approaches, and questions of sentience


Evolving the Forest takes place on the Dartington Hall estate with the support of the Dartington Hall Trust.  The estate has a rich history of forestry and woodland planning over the past 100 years in parallel with the Forestry Commission but with divergent paths of public and private sector imperatives and so provides a thought-provoking setting for contemplating the past and future of UK forestry.

The event convenes at Dartington Hall (TQ9 6EL) mid-afternoon on June 19 2019, and ends around 16.00 on June 21. In addition to the main programme we will be offering a day-long ‘Future Forest’ workshop, and on the first evening, a gala celebration of 100 years of the Forestry Commission led by  Forestry Commission Chair, Sir Harry Studholme, an exhibition and other special events.

Read the call for participation (deadline November 19 2018)


is a family of artists and organisations whose work focusses on contemporary art and ecology, the environment and the natural world. We’re like a family because we’re all different and we all have differing views and sometimes we hug and sometimes we squabble (and sometimes we just up to our rooms); we’re not like one because anyone can join. But we are family by choice with a shared ethos and a shared commitment to the planet on which we all live.

We’re here because we believe strongly that art has a role to play, and that artists have a responsibility to pose questions and to worry about the way we live in and on our world. We don’t focus on any one artform, but on all forms of creative expression.

We produce events, conduct research, and work with our partners to make new projects happen. We believe in working as internationally as possible while acknowledging absolutely to power and lure of the local. These things are not mutually exclusive. We work openly and collaboratively.

Our work focusses on how we live on the planet and on art as a practice of being present and being here. Based on the Dartington estate, we are a centre for learning and creation, each year attracting some of the most enquiring minds and some of the most creative people from across the world to come and spend time finding new energy and knowledge.

PS: at a previous creative summit I wrote an article about art and the politics of forests. Some of you may like to read it here:

Deep Sustainability and the Art and Politics of Forests

This article was re-published by request on the UK ‘Save our Woodlands’ website and for the UK ‘Home and the World Summit’ (2012)



One thought on “Evolving the Forest, Creative Summit 19-21, 2019, Call for submissions

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