Announcing the National Forest Arts Grant projects for 2023

7th Mar 2023
Jane Bevan
Decorated leaves, Jane Bevan


We’re pleased to announce the six artists and organisations who have been successful in the third round of National Forest Arts Grants, aimed to support the creative community to develop and pilot new projects inspired by the National Forest.

The grants are open to artists, arts organisations, and community groups either based in the National Forest or who can demonstrate an existing connection with the Forest. Applicants are asked to respond to one or more of the following themes - Nature, Health & Wellbeing, Sense of Place, Sustainability, Climate Action and Circular Economy.

The selected proposals reflect the values of the National Forest, centred around the belief that tackling climate change is urgent and sustainability is achievable and only by working together with nature can society and the economy thrive. 

The projects will take place from March to September 2023, featuring dance, music, poetry, sculpture, and a wildlife inspired children’s book! Much of the work will engage young people, deepening their relationship with the woodlands on their doorstep and providing opportunities to explore ideas around nature connectedness, mindfulness and environmental sustainability.

Jo Maker, Arts Officer for the NFC, said:

“We are delighted to be able to support these creative practitioners and arts organisations to develop vital work in the National Forest which each offer so much benefit - from supporting people’s wellbeing and care by creatively connecting with nature, to imaginative opportunities for children and young people.”

The six selected projects are:

Bring the Forest in, led by Air Arts working with artist Jane Bevan and Staffordshire Poet Laureate Dawn Jutton to deliver a series of sculpture and poetry workshops for inpatients and staff at Queens Hospital Burton. The activity will incorporate natural materials gathered from the woodlands on site and participants will be encouraged to share words and ideas for a short piece of creative writing about their experiences of nature.

That! Dance, an inclusive dance group for young people based in Burton upon Trent, will be developing a new Dance for Film project to investigate what nature and sustainability mean to the group and how they can express this through dance, movement and filming techniques. 

Charnwood based artist-maker Ruth Singer will create textile works informed by the extraordinary and humble hedgerows of the National Forest. She will recruit local volunteers to work with her to map hedges and their stories, through research, walking and the sharing of knowledge. The project will form part of an ongoing body of work about care, covering personal and community wellbeing, care for nature and built heritage and for our common spaces.

Ruth Singer
Textile work, Ruth Singer


Leicestershire-based Honey Craft will be publishing a new children’s book set in the National Forest, featuring a moth and butterfly as the ‘wildlife heroes’. Working with an illustrator, writer and entomologist, they will run family workshops held at Snibston Colliery Park and Moira Furnace for children to discover the wonders of these mesmerizing insects and create their own artworks.

As part of Ecotones, an international research project exploring environmental issues through the soundscapes of the natural world, Bath Spa University will partner with Leicester City in the Community to offer young people a unique sound and music experience.  Musicians Hyelim Kim and Stevie Wishart will provide multi-sensory engagement, encouraging the young people to express their connections to nature using musical dialogue and creativity.

The Hyelim Stevie Duo
Musicians Hyelim Kim and Stevie Wishart, Ecotones


We are the Forest led by Louise Jaggard is a dance-based research and development project for children with additional needs and their families, celebrating the story of the National Forest. Participants will be encouraged to engage with their surroundings and senses through experiences that will benefit their health and wellbeing and boost imagination. The workshops will take place at Rosliston Forestry Centre and The Washlands, Burton upon Trent, supported by People Express.

We are looking forward to supporting these projects over the coming months and seeing how they each develop. Some of the creative outcomes will also be shared at Timber in July, the National Forest’s annual three-day festival held at Feanedock woodlands. Regular updates with be posted here around each of the selected projects, with insights into the creative process and ways to get involved, so keep returning to find out more.