In May 2021, Forest Economic Partnership (FEP) and project partners Forest of Dean District Council were successful in securing funding from Arts Council England to create a community engagement campaign.
This campaign will look to educate and inform the local communities and businesses of the potential economic and environmental benefits of the Forest of Dean becoming an UNESCO Biosphere Reserve.
UNESCO’s Biospheres are the only globally recognised designation for demonstrating excellence in sustainable development. Biospheres have three main functions; conservation, learning and research, and sustainable development. They are places with dynamic local partnerships, rooted in local communities to explore how we can learn to live in harmony with our environment through education, science, culture, communication and information.
“This is wonderful news. The Arts Council England grant will enable us to promote the concept of the Forest of Dean as a Biosphere reserve in a most creative way. There is a growing understanding that we need to look after the creatures with which we share this world, whilst supporting local economies and livelihoods. Biosphere designation will champion a truly sustainable relationship for us now, and for future generations” - Chris McFarling, Chair of the FEP’s Biosphere Reserve Action Group.
In June 2021, FEP & Flow Contemporary Arts will commission artists to work with the partnership to create videos and audio artworks to engage people in the Biosphere Reserve concept. Art will enable FEP to engage a wider audience.
“Art has a long history of communicating challenging ideas and telling stories. As an artist, local resident and arts professional, I can think of no better way to open up conversations about the potential of BR than through art. We seek to make people feel inspired and involved in the future of this amazing place.” - Carolyn Black, Flow Contemporary Arts
The campaign will launch in Autumn and in Winter 2021, FEP will be looking for feedback from the District on their thoughts of the designation.