Staffordshire Wildlife Trust, UK
May - September, 2020
(& WildChild Festival 2021)

Cloudpiece is a film collage made in collaboration with ten young people (16-25 years) selected through an open call by Staffordshire Wildlife Trust. For eight weeks, during Summer 2020, we met online to explore our changing relationship to nature during the first UK lockdown (due to the Covid 19 pandemic). In this process we tried different ways of connecting to nature; including looking, listening, walking, mindfulness, sound recording and photography.

We also spent time sharing our concerns about the climate crisis and other issues that were important to us, such as the realtionship between access to green space and wellbeing. We discussed environmental messaging and how it can sometimes be condescending and make us feel powerless - we wanted to make a film that celebrated nature, activating others to take a closer look and perhaps consider how they might connect and care for their local green spaces. We expressed ideas creatively using collage, poetry, film and gif making.

The film was screened at the WildChild Festival 2021 (postponed from 2020), alongside  workshops delivered by the young people involved in the project. The intended audience for the film is families with children aged 5-12 years. 

Hi Niki

I would like to thank you so very much for being so supportive and kind to ******. He has loved learning about the environment and doing the tasks every week that you set. Full of enthusiasm he would set out to complete what was required often working alongside his summer project set by college. He was so very proud of his Gif work because it also involved his apple which he had worked so very hard to produce.. thinking of ways to include this in the work. He loved doing the cloud walk and video sounds in the environment. It was great fun sitting with the chicks and realising that they were very interesting but you could not capture the sound the made very easily. During our walk ****** was disgusted by all the litter he found along the way. Because of this we went out with black bags and a gripper and picked lots of rubbish up the next day. This was in a rural are close to fields where we live. ****** was so excited to find a caterpillar at the castle. We went out with a group from his youth club. One of these young lads had down syndrome and ****** supported him to hold it too. Editing the film to capture parts he wanted to show. He made me very proud.  I would also sit in during the group zoom meetings just in case he needed support ... Which he did not as everyone was just so lovely. We have loved looking at the FB page and seeing the work that everyone has worked so hard on. What a lovely project and thank you again. 

References & Reading:

Yoko Ono, 1964, Grapefruit, Simon & Schuster, New York
Tristan Gooley, 2014, How to Connect with Nature, Macmillan, London
Derek Jarman, 1995, Derek Jarman’s Garden, Thames & Hudson, London
Headspace Meditation, Underlying Calm Field Recordings: Slow sound podcast VOGUE, Reset. August 2020