The Sense of Here exhibition showed in the galleries of Grizedale Forest, Cumbria, between the lockdowns of autumn 2020. In a year of massive upheaval and a constant need to adapt plans, we were delighted to be able to instal the exhibition as we had always hoped to, albeit with a few changes to accommodate social distancing restrictions. The exhibition offered a reflection on place through multiple lenses, considering natural ecosystems as well as human cultures, and explored the interface between people and their environment, and what impacts the choices we make about the way we live, and the way we manage our impact on the natural world.
The exhibition offered insights from our own body-felt sense of place, through all seasons, day and night; from the opinions of experts in specialist areas of research and practice that impacts the environment; and from more than 200 people who contributed to the Data of the Heart collection.
Works on show included poetry, 3D sculpture and maps; hand-printed monochrome photographs, created using a wet-emulsion process; large scale digital colour images; field notebooks; and hand-drawn charts. We also share maps of sentiment, created with computer analysts from Lancaster University.
The exhibition embraces rather than shies away from, complexity: acknowledging the many elements of landscape and human values, and offering a diversity of voices at a time when we face massive challenges of mitigating climate change, adapting to severe weather events, and reversing a trend of biodiversity decline.
The exhibition beyond Cumbria
The Sense of Here exhibition at Grizedale marked the end point of the first phase of the project, and the start of the next. When restrictions to movement and social gatherings allow, we will be touring the Sense of Here work to new locations, incorporating workshops and community events in the creation of new work.
Visit the exhibition online
In place of an in-person launch event, in October 2020 we ‘launched’ the exhibition online in an event run by the Royal Geographical Society (with IBG) and Forestry England. It was a lively evening with a Q&A that kept us all going beyond what we expected to be our finishing time. To watch the film and the exhibition tour, visit our Vimeo page here; members of the RGS can access a recording of the whole evening through the RGS website. Oh, and we didn’t have time to address all of the questions. this blog follows up with answers to the unanswered questions.