National Trust partnership with disability charity SENSE
During summer 2022, National Trust properties Wightwick Manor and Croome started a partnership with disability charity SENSE with the aim to offer our visitors with profound learning disabilities a way to experience plants and our special places using innovative technology.
National Trust Partnership with disability charity Sense
Wightwick Manor in Wolverhampton and Croome in Worcestershire have been working with Sense to welcome people with complex disabilities to experience their gardens like never before. All of the music you hear in this video was generated by the interactions between plants and visitors.
In 2022, the National Trust properties Wightwick Manor and Croome joined forces with disability charity SENSE, supported by the National Lottery Heritage Fund. This pioneering project, ‘Internal Garden’, helped to make heritage and horticulture accessible for people with deaf blindness and complex disabilities.
Did you know that plants could sing?
Designed by sound artist and long-time SENSE supporter, Justin Wiggan, the resulting soundscape installations, which were created by people’s interactions by plants and nature, we made available for visitors to experience at both National Trust properties in September 2022.
The technology works by translating electrical currents existing on the surfaces of plants into sounds and vibrations. Audiences connect with the plants so they can both hear and feel their interactions using SubPac wearable vests. People with complex disabilities are then able to create deeper and more immediate connections with plant-life and nature in a way that wouldn’t otherwise be possible.
Connections to nature
During the summer workshops, over 200 people interacted with the technology and experienced each garden like never before. The outcome was a series of bespoke recorded ‘soundscapes’ of plants and people from the gardens, which were then used to create audio installations open to the public in September 2022.
Opening up new conversations
Stephanie Tyrell, Head of Arts and Wellbeing at Sense said of the project:
“This project has been a fabulous way to bring the two charities together. We’re so pleased with the impact of the project and the way we have created exciting and innovative spaces for people with complex disabilities to connect to plants and heritage at the National Trust.
The project has opened up new conversations and has enabled people from diverse backgrounds to come together to share new experiences.”
For more information about SENSE, please visit www.sense.org.uk
The garden at Wightwick is the perfect place for a walk after enjoying the delights of the house. Designed by Thomas Mawson, today it has something to see no matter what the season.
Discover more about the privately owned Walled Gardens at Croome, home to large greenhouses, a rose garden and vegetable plots.
Explore a home full of Pre-Raphaelite art and William Morris interiors, lovingly collected by Sir Geoffrey and Rosalie, Lady Mander.