In May 2021, the Forest Economic Partnership (FEP) and their project partners, Forest of Dean District Council, were successful in securing funding from Arts Council England to commission artists to create a community engagement campaign.
The project will focus public attention on how a Biosphere Reserve (BR) UNESCO designation for FoD could work here. It sets out to inform local communities and businesses of the anticipated economic and environmental benefits of the Forest of Dean becoming a Biosphere Reserve.
In August 2021, FEP commissioned artists Steve Geliot and Elle Ireland to the project. They will collaborate to create a film and an audio work to raise discussion around the potential of the Forest of Dean becoming a Biosphere Reserve. Expect to see their experience of film, video, sound and performance come together to create something special for all to see and hear.
Meet the Artists
Steve is a well known artist in the field of public art and film, contributing to the All Party Parliamentary Group For Dark Skies and The Campaign For Rural England - Sussex and Kent and is also a citizen scientist working with the institute for Geoscience in Potsdam.
In 2019, Steve was commissioned to create a "Wild Art Trail" at RSPB Pulborough Brooks and we are excited to have his knowledge and experience in this project.
”I am absolutely thrilled to be working in the fabulous Forest of Dean. There are so many extraordinary and varied locations and habitats which are just bursting with life, and yet these last few months the vulnerability of the natural environment across the entire globe has been brought to the front of our minds. No tree, no bird, no butterfly is a single thing which lives in isolation: all life has evolved together, and it will be my privilege and joy as an artist, working alongside my colleague Elle, to discover and then reveal just a tiny piece of the glittering web of connections which are particular and precious to The Forest Of Dean."
Elle has a degree in Biomedical Science, and is about to begin training in Neuroscience. She is a classically trained musician with a background in acrobatics.
"I visited the Forest of Dean for the first time in August of this year.. I was absolutely blown away – how could I have grown up in Birmingham, so close to such a rich and fascinating network of natural and industrial history, and not paid a visit until my mid-twenties?!
I am honoured to be working alongside the Forest Economic Partnership, Forest of Dean District Council and Steve Geliot, to reflect some of the forest's most unique and iconic attributes. We seek to propose a fresh, respectful and sustainable approach to living with the forest, so that my generation and those that follow, will continue to learn from, and nurture, our beloved local natural world."
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. We believe Steve and Elle’s unique partnership will help us showcase the Forest of Dean’s particular relationship between People and Nature.
You can follow Steve and Elle on Instagram @stevegeliot & @elletheacrobat