Forest of Imagination – Assemble in the Forest by

2024 Other / United Kingdom / Built in 2023 /

Assemble in the Forest

Forest of Imagination is a contemporary arts and design event created by Grant Associates, House of Imagination and local creative industries that reimagines a familiar space in the city of Bath to inspire everyone’s creativity and heighten a sense of nature in an urban environment.

All around the world people use forests as places to find respite, either individually or together. Forest of Imagination is open to all, is free and actively inclusive. We invite children, families and people of all ages to explore, make and learn in a creative, intuitive and imaginative way.

In 2023, We were invited by the National Trust to create a month-long experience within the Grade 1 listed Assembly Rooms in Bath, currently going through a replanning and refurbishment stage, and this event provided an opportunity to test out unusual ways of using these grand formal spaces and to make them more available to the Bath community.

Assemble in The Forest took place at the Assembly Rooms from the 14th June – 14th July 2023. It attracted over 10,000 visitors from across the city alongside tourists and school groups from the wider region.

Key Themes of ‘Assemble in the Forest’

‘Assemble in the Forest’ was an invitation to come together and celebrate the beauty and biodiversity of Bath and once again to showcase the imagination of our community. In addition, it provided an opportunity to shine a light on the importance of forests across the world and what they mean to us in Bath, especially in response to the climate emergency.

This year, we were asking 2 main questions to people who visited the forest:

If you were a tree, what would you be?

If you were to plant a tree to save the world, and that tree was you, what would you do?

Internally and externally, we envisioned a ‘Forest Community’: a calming green space in the city and a venue for interactive installations, stories, music, creative play, and for placing a focus on the life and diversity of the forest. We expanded the event into our biggest space yet, spread over a month, and invited collaboration with other creative and ecological initiatives within and around Bath.

We invited the creative and cultural ecology of the city to ‘Assemble in the Forest’ and showcase our collective imagination to all. More than just that, we wanted to inspire action across the city in response to the climate and biodiversity emergencies and to find new ways to create inspiring landscapes and habitats that enrich the lives of everyone.

Highlights of the event included a series of interactive installations in each of the main formal spaces and at each entrance these included;

Bird Song. A colourful bamboo structure designed by Morag Myerscough integrating plants and placards with messages of hope.

Wondering Ways. An installation in the Grand ballroom by Andrew Amondson and Feilden Clegg Bradley studios inviting informal walks through a field of grasses to discover multiple smaller interventions across the space.

The Beaver Den by Grant Associates in the Grand Octagon highlighting the discovery of wild beavers in the local rivers.

The Tree Room a collection of displays about local initiatives including the Bathscape Landscape Partnerships mission to protect and enhance the landscape setting of the city. The National Trust and their portfolio of projects across Bath and Rainforest Concern who are based in the city but have projects in Ecuador, India and Costa Rica.

The Bath Community Kitchen team occupied a space beneath a unique shelter designed by Invisible Studio to bring a welcoming and sharing experience around a large table designed for the event.

In addition, multiple artists provided workshops for school groups and adults and evening talks discussed topics around the themes of creativity and the environment.

“It really is remarkable that Forest of Imagination has turned ten this year. Over the last decade, and during some very challenging times for our world, Forest of Imagination has always championed creativity and nature’s power to unlock our imagination. We are deeply thankful to have been able to work in such close partnership with the National Trust this year, to deliver what has been a truly unforgettable month-long creative celebration.”

– Andrew Grant, director of Grant Associates and co-founder of Forest of Imagination

Architecture offices involved in the design: Feilden Clegg Bradley Studios, Invisible Studio, Studio Myerscough

**Image Credits (Please refer to individual images for collabrators)

Andrew Amondson, Andrew Grant , Penny Hay, FCBS Studios, Invisible Studio, Ellis Reed and Studio Myerscough

Location: National Trust – Bath Assembly Rooms, Bennett St, Bath BA1 2QH

Design year: 2022-2023

Year Completed: 2023


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