CCI’s projects value and facilitate exchanges of many kinds. In our Footprints work we find ways for children to hear and work with each other’s ideas and discoveries, and we deliberately build connections between experiences in the wild outdoors and creative experiments and explorations in the classroom.
In recent projects we have extended the idea of exchange and invited adult professionals in the field of landscape and the imagination to respond to the children’s work. Writer Robert Macfarlane wrote a an intriguing Foreword to our Fantastical Guide to Hinchingbrooke Country Park, and the poet Jackie Kay worked alongside Year 1 and Year 3 in the Spinney Wild Woods to make new work of her own as well as collaborative work with the children.
The many worlds in the woods is currently finding a new visual expression in our most recent Wild Exchange with illustrator Elena Arévalo Melville. She has built a Fantastical Map of Spinney Wild Woods from the children’s poems, stories and images along with elements of Jackie Kay’s poems and material from time spent exploring and sketching the woods herself. It is a captivating piece of work, built with more than fifty visual ‘layers’ and catching the shifting character of a wild space beautifully. Details of a launch will follow soon.
Now we are beginning a new kind of Wild Exchange. We want to extend the invitation to respond to children’s discoveries to a wider range of professionals - writers and illustrators of course, but also tree surgeons, architects, archaeologists, mathematicians, engineers, botanists, film-makers…
And we have decided to offer tantalising but minimalist moments from the children’s explorations. A single image. A striking phrase. A provocative question.
As a first experiment with this minimalist form, we asked an architect/artist and a tree specialist to respond to Fareedá’s (age 5) statement from Hinchingbrooke woods: I am going to find the big city. You can read more about the context of this in our Fantastical Guide. Below are responses from Richard Rice and Helen Stratford and we look forward to sharing more as the project builds.