Wild Learning – Parts Unknown

Artist and writer Sarah Gillett visited Fermyn Woods in May 2018 to present our second Wild Learning workshop, Parts Unknown – a meditation on maps, emotional and physical orientation, and the night sky. Breaking from tradition, this workshop started late and continued into the night so participants could bring the stars down into the woods, constructing their own constellations.

Parts Unknown is a translation of terra incognita, the mapmaker term used for centuries to describe unmapped or undocumented parts of the world. Sarah extrapolated this concept “to explore our own bodies, thoughts and desires in relation to landscape and our understanding of the world.” The day included indoor and outdoor exploration of this theme, responding to creative prompts to create visual and textual answers to the question of how to navigate the world. In the evening the workshop participants returned to a previously staked out location under the forest canopy, where they used reflective and light emitting materials to make and photograph their own three-dimensional celestial creations.

Sarah Gillett is an artist and writer exploring the life of things across space and time. Using her collection of antique dictionaries, ornaments, artefacts and geological specimens as a starting point, she develops bodies of work that start in an object or specific place and expand out into an anthropological universe of connected human experience and the natural world. Through her work she explores human fallibility and our desire to conquer the universe through language and fact.

The Outdoor Institute of Art is an alternative art school conceived by Yasmin Canvin, with a curriculum which will consist of discussions, skills and knowledge sharing events between artists, experts in relevant fields, the arts sector and members of the public. With specific focus on artists using digital technology, artists working with Special Educational Needs students, a mentoring programme for early career artists, and a training programme for arts organisations to deliver outdoor education workshops.

The Outdoor Institute of Art will be delivered across 6 terms over 2 years, through a series of modules:

Wild Sharing workshops – a creative and social opportunity for informal skill and knowledge sharing.
Wild Learning workshops – conceptually led training session and activities for artists working outdoors.
Free Exchange discussions – discussions between an artist and an expert, exploring connections between art and the everyday.
Artist Talks – talks held at and led by the current artist in residence at Fineshade Wood.