Multispecies Garden Vision Council, Barrack’s tennis courts, Berwick  July 2022

A two day long gathering of Multispecies Visionary Institute to collectively explore how an overgrown former tennis court at Berwick Barracks can be developed into a community art garden/ nature reserve whilst retaining the environmental, more than human an non-human tangle that already exists there.  Art in situ, hands on activities, workshops in permaculture design and discussions with food and drink to observe, respond and reflect on a creative vision for this abandoned site.  See below for more information about all the activities .

The Programme for the Multispecies Garden Vision Council included:

‘What the Garden wants?
Artists Sabina Sallis and Magdalena Starska offered a session using movement, meditation and creative activities to careful listen and develop awareness of the site. People were invited to take part in savoring the terrain, experimental orientation and mapping of the site and the creation of a tablecloth made using handmade and natural dyes for a feast of wild crafted delights.  

Terra Domes of mythic and cosmic concerns

Over the course of the day artists Joe Sallis and Cullum McDonald build a geodesic structure from materials on site. The domes with their simple, modular structure are a starting point to begin to explore ways of working with nature’s principles and manifest nature’s geometry that resembles a chain of cells in living organisms. Visitors were invited to participate in the making activity, ask questions and watch the structure take form over the course of the day.  

Naturally occurring substance known as electricity -A short workshop with artist Irene Brown in how to attract, capture and utilise the naturally occurring substance known as electricity using nothing but recycled materials and sea water.

Natural Mystic Between the Air- Music Performance -Classical guitarist and composer of experimental music, Mathew Sallis performed three of his original compositions joined by artists Brett Cherry and Joe Sallis for an improvised performance on hand-made instruments.  

Bramble Brain -A performance with Oliver Wallace
A storytelling performance to welcome visitors into the blackberry briar and its prickly tangle of relationships. Folktales and real-life stories coil around playful, quiet hollows as we explore the metaphorical, multi-species mass of the briar. We might begin to feel a sense of belonging beneath the briar’s many arches and maybe, we’ll discover something of our own tangled, multi-species nature along the way.

Permaculture for the Place

Join permaculture teacher, designer and Abundant Earth co-op member Wilf Richards to learn about the permaculture design process and use observation, imagination and conversation to explore how the abandoned site could be transformed.

Multispecies Cultures
Join artists from the Multispecies Visionary Institute for a creative exploration of the site’s multispecies culture. This immersive workshop will explore multispecies thinking, making and dreaming and work towards a collective design and long-term vision for the site. 
Artists will provide a feast of foods and invite participants to make a herbal brew using wild yeast gathered from the site.
The event will close with weaving the visible and invisible into a collective storytelling, and an improvised live music performance to bring alive the spirit of the wild yeast and collectively enliven, activate and celebrate the temporary community and encounter with site.

A live sung Performance by Zoe Kendall
The piece explores human behaviour through the growth and planting of seeds.

You can also experience a number of artworks around the site by the Multispecies Visionary Institute including works by Sabina and Joe Sallis and -
  • Sean Rodrigues will show ‘Snake Pavilion’; umbrella for a traveling merchant peddling charms under the sun;  
  • Lois Robins will present ‘Head of a Woman’; Portrait of a woman who has lost her body, made of willow, wheat, onion, garlic, glass, twine.  
  • Jim Lloyd will present ‘Words’ haikus or short poems directly inspired by the garden and distributed around the site to be discovered.  
  • Finn Hughes-Smith’s Knotless Net Making will be an improvised synthesis of transference of knowledge and skill, artefacts, costume, and live performances, where Finn will demonstrate the endangered craft of nalbinding.  
  • Trish Hudson-Moses will display a series of her weavings and also be on site making and weaving twine from nettles. 

Link to Multispecies Garden Vision Council Programme Booklet

Selected images of the event. Photos by Colin Davidson unless otherwise stated.