School of Life Sciences


Help picture the future of British nature

An example of artwork that interpreted a wilder vision for the Valley Gardens in Brighton produced by artist Dan Locke

Workshops with youth groups across Sussex will combine art and science to tell the story of how Britain has changed over the past 100,000 years.

Using illustrations, in the style of a graphic novel, Britain’s natural history will be explored with the last panel left blank for participants to imagine, and draw, what comes next. 

The workshops are part of a collaborative project run by Dr Chris Sandom and Helen Sida of the University of Sussex, Tony Whitbread of Sussex Wildlife Trust and artist and graphic novelist, Dan Locke.

Dr Sandom said: “Britain’s natural history is wonderfully rich; even in geologically recent times elephants roamed Sussex savannahs and hippos lived in the Thames. Today, Britain’s nature has been described as ‘granny nature’, a nice place to go with your gran as a 6-year-old but lacking excitement and appeal for adventurous young people. We would like to work with young people to imagine their wilder future; one that is better for them and better for nature.”

It is hoped that this project will empower young people to have a say in the future of local nature and will, in time, influence the development of natural sites. 

The team is looking to collaborate with youth groups around Brighton and Sussex and where possible would like to take participants to the Knepp rewilding project and Woods Mill Sussex Wildlife Trust Centre to run the workshops. Funding is available to cover any expenses incurred.

A workshop will also take place at the ONCA gallery in Brighton. Alternatively, the team can visit local groups.

If you have links with any local youth groups and are interested in taking part or would like to find out more, please do contact Dr Chris Sandom.

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By: Jessica Gowers
Last updated: Tuesday, 27 March 2018