The Spinney Wild Woods have offered us an ideal space to extend our wild explorations to the wider community. In autumn 2014 we hosted events in the woods that formed part of the Curating Cambridge and Art Language Location festivals, and a week-long programme of workshops for families with children of all ages.
Deb Wilenski curated CCI’s first wild exhibition/exploration event This tree is bigger than earth, in which the woods were re-imagined as space to encounter and interact with the reception children’s discoveries. Caroline Wendling and Deb Wilenski devised a programme of workshops for the school’s ‘family learning week’, in which children and adults explored ways of seeing the woods together. Our discussion event Curating the qualities of wildness gathered parents, educators, and others interested in outdoor learning and creativity to discuss questions of wild exploration, conservation, adventuring outdoors and imagining wildness.
CCI artist Susanne Jasilek brought together film footage from these events and workshops to document a wonderful time of making, sharing, leading and following. As you will see from the end of the film, we only stopped when darkness began to fall…
The process of opening these woods for others to explore and enjoy has been hugely rewarding. Here is some of their feedback:
I didn’t realise this was here…for me it was a huge shock…what an amazing experience. There’s so much to see and do. It’s very tranquil. You could be anywhere. It’s wonderful. You’d much rather they were here than at home with their toys. (Jo)
I would like to stay here all night (Sevgi’s mum)
I’ve enjoyed just watching the children do their own thing….you don’t often get the opportunity. It’s such a community resource….it’s so good to see it used. I tend to think at home they’re playing so I can get on with daily life. Ali is a kind of ‘on the go’ boy so seeing him be thoughtful with the string was lovely. (Lucy)
I just like the sense of freedom and you can do stuff you don’t do at school. You can feel the sense of 3D, you can touch and you can use your imagination. You can’t always get in here…you just want to explore (Oscar, year 6)
The diary posts below offer more detailed accounts of our events in the spinney. You can also read about how the work began, our projects of wild exchange and professional development opportunities in the wild woods.