PoliNations garden takes over Birmingham
This September, the arts festival PoliNations transformed Birmingham’s city centre into an urban oasis. Featuring giant architectural trees and over six thousand living plants, the garden played host to a programme of free performances, workshops, talks and events celebrating natural and cultural diversity in the UK.
Produced by Trigger Collective, the project was brought together by an interdisciplinary team led by Bristol-based arts organisation Trigger. Among the team were creative director Angie Bual, multidisciplinary designer and artist Carl Robertshaw, set and costume designer Bronia Housman, architecture, research and spatial design firm THISS Studio and award-winning horticultural designers Chris and Toby Marchant.
PoliNations presented a wide range of activities encouraging visitors from Birmingham and beyond to explore, create and grow together. Highlight events included multi-sensory garden tours in partnership with Spectra, morning yoga and meditation sessions, and workshops ranging from opportunities to create petal collars to learning about the healing power of teas.
At the end of the festival, thousands of plants were given away, to go back out to regreen Birmingham’s communities, leaving a lasting legacy for the project. For those who were unable to attend the festival PoliNations also produced an AR app, ‘The PoliNations Virtual Super Garden’, designed in partnership with creative studio Peter and Paul. The app asks questions about your emotions and opinions, using motion graphics to depict each individual’s journey of self discovery and create a supernatural plant reflective of their identity. This plant could then be added into their own environment and to a communal virtual super garden.