Images of the students in the woods and working in CCANW's gallery

Join in the conversation…

Visitors, schools and communities can get more involved in A Conversation between Trees through some of the participatory activities that accompany the tour. Visitors to the exhibitions will be able to use the sensor technology we use in our work on their own smart phones or borrow one of ours. (You can read about the mobile phone application in the About section.) We’ll also be leading woodland walks and giving visitors chance to use the sensor kits that collect the data that create the art-work. The walks will also be a time when visitors can help continue our conversation with trees by sharing their observations, memories and thoughts about woodlands, forests and the future.

We’re also working with schools in Northamptonshire, Nottinghamshire and Devon as part of the tour. We will be  working with young people to explore how the data used in the installation is measured and then presented in a way that we can read it visually. The workshops will open up the technology used in the installation as well as exploring concepts of ‘climate’ and ‘nature’ through bringing together art, science and technology. We’ll be updating the information below to show the activities we’ve been engaged in. If you’d like to know more about our approaches to education work or would like more details about how to get involved, please contact

“We could have spent a week on that visit [to Fineshade] alone, with all the links through the maths and the data, the science, the geography. The children were amazed how a piece of technology makes something come alive”. Teacher from Irthlingborough Infant School.


If you’re a teacher or lead young people or children in your work, you might find these resources useful. We’ve designed them through our work with schools and the public since we began developing the project. You can download them and use them at home, or in the classroom. If you’d like to talk to us about how to use them in your classroom, please get in touch with us or the venues we’re working with.

How to be a human sensor – download

Make your own data map – download


A Conversation Between Brazil and the UK

The data that we collect to create our exhibition is gathered from trees in the forests we visit in the UK and the Mata Atlantica (Atlantic Forest) region inBrazil – that’s one of the ways we’re creating a conversation. We’ve been creating other conversations between the UK and Brazil, by linking up pupils and staff in schools so that they can share and exchange information about trees. Last year we helped two schools to meet up in dialogue on a NING website, which enabled them to understand the differences between the forests that they are familiar with. You can read about the exchange in our Dark Forest Research

This year, we’re planning some more exchanges between UK and Brazilian schools. Check back here to find out what kind of conversations they have….

felt data maps made by school children


Estudio Movel Experimental

In November 2011, Active Ingredient were in residence with Estudio Movel Experimental on board their camper van with Silvia Leal. This resulted in a series of interventions in Guanbara Bay region, Rio State.  This involved workshops with young people at the Escola Camino Castelo Branco in Rio de Janeiro and at the Guanabara Bay Institute (IBG), Niteroi as well as visits to REGUA, an ecological reserve in the Mata Atlantica, the Rio Botanical Gardens, to meet their educational team and the wonderful botanical sculptures by Bruno Rezende, an artist and botanist based at the botanical gardens.  For more information about this residency go to The Dark Forest website.

Who we’ve been working with…

Gretton Primary School, Fineshade woods, May 2011

Students from Gretton Primary school became computers for the day with Rachel and Rebecca. They sensed the environment in the woods and then compiled six databases of information. They used maths and their imaginations to create their own takes on visualising the envrionment in the woods.

Irthlingborough Infants, Fineshade woods, March 2011

As a prelude to their two-week residency at Top Lodge, Fermynwoods, Active Ingredient worked with Irthlingborough Infants School from Northamptonshire. Rachel and Rebecca worked with 120 year one pupils over two days to explore how the data used in the installation is measured and then presented visually. By becoming ‘human sensors’ the young people detected different aspects of the environment in the woods and looked at how representing temperature in Haldon Forestthe invisible forces around them can be represented using shapes, symbols and colours. As a result, the pupils created colourful felt data maps as a result of the process. The workshops were also a chance for year 1 pupils to explore Fineshade Woods and the concepts of ‘climate’ and ‘nature’ by bringing together art, science and technology.

making felt data maps in Brazil

MA Art and the Environment, Falmouth College, Haldon Forest, March 2011

In March Rachel and Mark worked with students from the MA course in Art and the Environment at CCANW. Together, they explored the concept of the ‘human sensor’, interpreting the data they collected as interventions in Haldon Forest.




Usando as tecnologias móveis e de internet, “Uma Conversa Entre Árvores” proporciona um ímpeto criativo direto para o público aprender sobre outras culturas, mitos, sentir a natureza, e medir as mudanças climáticas. Através do diálogo construtivo, visamos estimular as mentes dos jovens através do envolvimento com as associações e os contrastes que existem dentro dos ambientes florestais. Operando como um projeto mutuamente benéfico ao vivo, o envolvimento do público juntamente com o projeto atua como um estímulo para complementar currículo de aprendizagem existentes nas escolas, envolvendo o público tanto quanto informando os artistas, e agindo como um arena de teste para tecnologias móveis e de detecção.

Nosso objetivo é desenvolver uma estratégia para envolver as escolas em um diálogo colaborativo sustentado e criativo. À partir do trabalho com escolas, baseado tanto no ambiente urbano quanto florestal, e também localizados em lados opostos do globo, esperamos inspirar os jovens e informá-los sobre o extenso impacto social, geográfico e cultural que as florestas controlam. Ao envolver os jovens no projeto, queremos criar um intercâmbio internacional de idéias que tenha um significado para ambos os contextos, por questões como mudança do clima e da ecologia na percepção de cada localidade.

Esta é uma troca de idéias, onde a floresta e o projeto tornam-se o impulso para que os jovens desenvolvam sua própria investigação. Nosso objetivo é integrar os dados que são coletados na floresta diretamentepara as redes das próprias escolas onde esses dados possam ser acessados como um recurso para utilização em projetos. Espera-se que este projeto possa tornar-se um trampolim para a aprendizagem disciplinar dentro das áreas de arte, estudos culturais, história e ciências.

Um recurso de aprendizagem

Continuaremos a trabalhar com as escolas e comunidades do Rio de Janeiro desenvolveremos ferramentas para que os jovens compartilhem a sua participação no projeto tanto no Reino Unido como no Brasil. Os jovens e as escolas poderão acessar os dados científicos coletados ao longo do projeto, através do uso compartilhado de um recurso de educação on-line (disponível em Inglês e Português). Mais atualizações sobre este recurso em breve.