Studio Meraki artists took inspiration from a Visioning day workshop with Stourhead staff and volunteers to plan the perfect way to celebrate Stourhead’s momentous 75th anniversary. “What became apparent on the Visioning day, was just how important and special Stourhead is to so many that visit and work there,” the artists explained. “Themes that were coming up repeatedly were how spending time in the gardens creates a sense of peace, calm and inner reflection.” Another source of inspiration was the abundant bird life found at Stourhead. Many volunteers and staff members spoke of the volume and intensity of the birdsong, and the tranquillity it brings. The artists chose to use feathers as a medium to convey the power and feeling of the stories they heard. “Feathers carry a huge amount of symbolism from many different cultures. For us, the symbol of a feather carries connotations of peace, magic, otherworldliness, freedom, nature, curiosity, and treasure.” Stourhead staff, volunteers and visitors are being invited to take part by using recycled milk bottles to create feathers, which will serve as part of a beautiful display in Stourhead’s magnificent gardens.
Stourhead 75 community art project
This year we're celebrating 75 years of caring for Stourhead. To mark this landmark anniversary, this summer we've launched a very special, community-led arts project in partnership with the arts and wellbeing charity Creativity Works and we want you to get involved...
Research shows we need more access to nature
A poll commissioned by the National Trust has revealed how an increased relationship with nature appears to have helped people across the UK since the coronavirus pandemic outbreak.
- Over two thirds of all adults agree or strongly agree that noticing nature has made them feel happier in this current lockdown
- More than a third of respondents claimed to have noticed the changing seasons more than they did last year
- Nearly half of adults say they are spending more time in nature and want to continue to do so as restrictions ease
" We know from our own experiences and from those our visitors share with us that Stourhead is a place where people can feel the lofty heights of joy or the place they come for consolation in the depths of sorrow. In our 75th year we want to create an experience that’s relevant and that celebrates the personal connections that people have to this special place. These personal stories will inspire the creation of our anniversary installation."
We want to hear from you about what nature means to your wellbeing
Perhaps there's a place, a tree or a flowerbed, that offered you some peace during the uncertainty of the pandemic. Perhaps there's a landscape, like Stourhead, that was there for you when you needed some time and space.
If you would like to share your story as part of this special anniversary project, or express an interest in getting involved, please email us at Stourhead75@nationaltrust.org.uk. We will never publish or share without your permission.
14 Jun 21
Concept development: The project takes flight
27 May 21
Visioning day: What does Stourhead mean to you?
Preparations for Stourhead's exciting 75th anniversary celebrations got underway as a socially-distanced group of Stourhead staff, volunteers and project partners Studio Meraki and Creativity Works, came together for the afternoon workshop. Attendees in small groups discussed Stourhead's Spirit of Place from a well-being perspective, which led to reflections about personal relationships with Stourhead and the experience for visitors.
“Next, we were invited to imagine that we were designing a well-being garden,” Jo Flye, Visitor Operations & Experience Manager at Stourhead explains.
“Each of us held strong feelings about what had to be included for us to experience the well-being effects of nature. For one of us, it was the calming effect of water, for another it was feeling dwarfed within a mountainous landscape. It was a fascinating conversation to understand how externally nature unlocks our inner well-being.
It became apparent that Stourhead has often provided us with what we're looking for when we need it the most, be that comfort in grief or familiarity during uncertainty, inspiration when we're feeling flat, or even an escape when we feel boxed-in."
13 May 21
Artists appointed: Studio Meraki for Stourhead 75
Studio Meraki, a socially engaged arts collective based in Bristol, have been appointed to design Stourhead's 75th anniversary installation in co-creation with the local community.
Studio Meraki was established in 2016 by participatory artists Steph Tudor and Kerry Russell. Facilitating accessible arts projects that combine wellbeing, nature and sustainability, their focus is to improve public spaces and strengthen communities through the use of creative engagement projects and community-led design. "Working in a collaborative way, we respond to the needs of the community, keeping them at the heart of everything we do. Step-by-step we work to ensure that sustainability (economic, environmental and human) is always at the focus."
The Stourhead team will start working with Studio Meraki to deliver community workshops throughout June and July for groups whose participants have been directly impacted by isolation during the pandemic. We'll keep you updated with our progress.