Thinking differently about diversity at Westonbirt
By David Wood
A new exhibition of forest-inspired artwork by people whose minds work 'differently' is taking place at Westonbirt, The National Arboretum, from 1 - 10 May.
The exhibition, which features artwork by people with experience of dementia, brain injury, learning disability, autism and/or ADHD, is co-produced by Westonbirt Arboretum and Artspace Cinderford as part of a Gloucestershire-wide community engagement project.
It aims to inspire curiosity about the role and value of diversity in nature and in society, through the celebration of creative expression by people who think 'differently'.
Images of artwork created by participants during a series of artist-led community workshops will be projected in the Great Oak Hall at Westonbirt, alongside a short film explaining the project.
Participants included families, young people, and adults from across Gloucestershire, with workshops hosted by groups and organisations including the Independence Trust, Headway Gloucestershire, The Orchard Trust, Apple Orchard Carehome, Camphill Village Trust, and mindSCAPE.
Susanna Bayliss, exhibition project manager and interpretation officer at Westonbirt Arboretum, Forestry England, said: "This unique exhibition really goes to the heart of what Westonbirt is all about. We are fortunate to have a hugely diverse tree collection here on our site, and we are committed to making our work as inclusive and accessible as possible so that everyone can enjoy it."
Rob Toomer, projects manager at Artspace Cinderford, said: "Working with the team at Westonbirt has been a fantastic opportunity for Artspace Cinderford. Looking at the role and value of diversity in trees and forests can help us all to understand and appreciate our own differences, so we hope this exhibition inspires curiosity and encourages people to learn more about both biodiversity and neurodiversity."
The 'Thinking Differently About Diversity' exhibition will take place in the Great Oak Hall at Westonbirt, and will be open to all visitors to the arboretum between 1 and 10 May 2023.
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