Green Space Dark Skies is one of ten major projects for the UK-wide UNBOXED: Creativity in the UK festival, designed to celebrate science, technology, engineering, the arts, maths and all forms of creativity. Led by outdoor arts pioneers Walk the Plank, the project takes place from April to September 2022. Over six months, thousands of people will become Lumenators, carrying special Geolights developed by Siemens using state-of-the-art technology at 20 different locations. There, we create patterns in the landscape, captured on film. Following each event, a short film incorporating the stories of the people and places featured will be created and available to view online. To protect the green spaces where the gatherings will take place, the specific locations remain a secret. Only those who’ve signed up to take part will be there in person on the day. This is to make sure that no damage is done to these beautiful landscapes.
One of the 20 events will take place in the North Easterly area of The Chilterns AONB on 15 July. Anyone can take part and the event will have a strong family friendly feel with picnicking and creative workshops during the late afternoon alongside music and dance performed by local artists, prior to the performance at dusk. If you want to join in for the Green Space Dark Skies picnic and participate in the performance as a Lumenator, you will need to be on site from approximately 4pm – 11pm, or if you just want to be a Lumenator, then you’ll need to be on site from approximately 6pm – 11pm. Once you register your place(s), you will be notified of the exact location approximately 3-4 weeks before the event takes place so that you can plan accordingly.
For an idea of what to expect, have a look at a short clip from the first event at Ilam Park in the Peak District National Park here, and from the second event at the Giant’s Ring in the Lagan Valley, Northern Ireland here; though each event is unique to the location in which it takes place. Look out for the short films from these events which will be released online soon.
The inspiration for Green Space Dark Skies is the 90th anniversary of the 1932 Kinder Scout Mass Trespass, when 500 people walked across Kinder Scout in protest at the laws that made crossing the land illegal. This was one of the events that led to the formation of the National Parks and later AONBs, of which the first Park established was the Peak District National Park. Today, the UK’s National Parks and AONBs are places that anyone can visit, any time, for free. But we know that not everybody feels able to make use of these spaces. In the face of the climate emergency, and at a time when the need to reconnect with nature is more urgent than ever, this is neither fair nor sustainable. We believe we should all feel equally welcome to explore our green spaces. By inviting people who feel excluded from these places to make a journey together, the project will create new connections with the UK’s countryside.
This is the chance to be part of something truly special. The Lumenators are also invited to share their stories of connection or disconnection with the landscape, before, during and after each event in Green Space Stories, in fact anyone can submit a story now. This free, online archive will be available for anyone to search through for five years after Green Space Dark Skies, thanks to the National Parks of the UK. These stories matter. They are at the heart of Green Space Dark Skies and Green Space Stories will create a snapshot of our connection with nature in 2022, and a powerful source of knowledge for researchers, policy makers, artists and educators. Green Space Stories is a partnership between Walk the Plank, National Parks UK and the University of Salford.
Liz Pugh, Country Producer Wales, Green Space Dark Skies and co-founder, Walk the Plank said: “Whether you love the countryside or you feel you are not welcome there, we want to hear your stories. Storytelling can help us to learn about our identities and culture, as well as explore others. It might be a memory or a poignant story, joyful or painful, short or long, a picture, recording or words, it matters, and we’d like you to share it with us.”