“We used to live among trees and now they live around us, when we should be living together symbiotically.”  Ivan Morison and Heather Peak

OVERSTORY, an exciting new art installation from leading contemporary artists Ivan Morison and Heather Peak, is coming to Broadmead on 19th – 30th August. It is brought to Bristol by The Natural History Consortium, the charity behind the city’s Festival of Nature.

The installation gives a view into the microscopic world of trees and invites us to celebrate and explore how important trees are in our lives and our shared ecosystems, the stories they tell, and the role we can all play in creating and protecting natural spaces in Bristol.

Inspired by native trees across Bristol, the contemporary artwork will temporarily transform Broadmead, with visitors invited to enjoy the suspended installation, which will hang high up over the high street, alongside enjoying a programme of engaging, fun and free activities involving art and nature.

Ivan Morison and Heather Peak standing together

Ivan Morison and Heather Peak. Photo Credit: Sinead Patching, courtesy of Studio Morison

The process of developing OVERSTORY began with the artists traversing Bristol’s stately homes, neighbourhood parks, suburban streets, gardens, greens, and graveyards, to find two trees whose stories reflect the true spirit of the city. You can explore the trees in Bristol which inspired the artists by following the treemap here.

Visitors to Broadmead can learn how to create, protect, and explore woodlands and forests in the region; and are encouraged to venture outside this summer and discover the local parks, wildlife reserves, and older neighbourhoods to experience the diversity of native trees around Bristol.

A round wooden structure in the woods

The artists traversed the gardens, greens and graveyards of Bristol to find inspiration. Photo credit: Ivan Morison courtesy of Studio Morison

OVERSTORY aligns with Bristol’s plan to scale up tree planting in the city by 2050, for the benefit of both people and wildlife. Highlighting the importance of Bristol’s urban tree canopy in a creative and immersive way, OVERSTORY will be both educational and entertaining for the young and the young at heart visiting Broadmead this August.

Free for all to view, further details about OVERSTORY and the free programme of events, including the Broadmead pop-up forest and The Forest Centre in The Galleries, will be released closer to the launch on www.overstorybristol.com

A canopy of trees

Ivan and Heather were inspired by native trees around Bristol. Photo credit: Canva

For more information on OVERSTORY, follow social media updates on @nat_his_con and #overstory.

Broadmead West (between Union and Merchant Street), Bristol, BS1 3DW

Open daily, August 19-30, 2022 | Free Admission | Google Map

OVERSTORY is commissioned by The Natural History Consortium, Produced & Curated by PONY.

With thanks to Kew Gardens, The Mesolab, University of Strathclyde, Glasgow, The Royal Microscopic Society, and Bio Imaging UK.

OVERSTORY is being delivered as one of the activities under the City Centre and High Streets Recovery and Renewal programme, funded by Bristol City Council and the West of England Combined Authority’s Love Our High Streets project. Bristol City Council’s City Centre and High Streets Recovery programme is investing in the culture and events sector to help the recovery of the city centre and Bristol’s high streets. OVERSTORY is the first headline commission to be funded through the council to encourage people to visit and stay in the area, providing support to businesses.

This blog is written by Izzy with guidance and support from PONY. Izzy is the Communications Officer for The Natural History Consortium (NHC), based in Bristol. OVERSTORY is Izzy’s third project with NHC as comms and marketing lead since joining in February 2022, allowing her to use her writing and design skills to help nature’s recovery through environmental events and campaigns. Passionate about wildlife conservation and habitat restoration, Izzy’s communications work aims to engage as many people as possible with the natural world.