The drive of Photo-Canopy is to widen the scope of the National Forest to new cultural audiences and to establish the Identity of the National Forest as a distinctive part of the Midlands. Photo-Canopy promotes and explores the wonders of The National Forest through photography as the forest is an evolving landscape that stretches for over 200 square miles, overlapping parts of Leicestershire, Staffordshire and Derbyshire and has a combination of fascinating rural and urban landscapes. Moreover, it has a vibrant social and industrial history, which makes the National Forest a truly unique location.
Burton and South Derbyshire College are working with the National Forest and have developed a brief for artists and students to interpret and respond to individually as part of Photo-Canopy. Each artist was invited to visit the National Forest and introduce themselves to the many features of the forest on location. The artists have been invited to reflect on the brief and respond to the setting.
Burton and South Derbyshire College is located to the north of the Forest in Staffordshire and stretches the barriers of its art and design programs, which in turn offers students stimulating and vibrant projects that provides opportunities to widen their experiences. Photo~Canopy (Lens on the National Forest) follows this approach and builds upon a long association between the College and the National Forest Company. It is a natural evolution of the relationship, developing a professional project with national aspirations.
There was no specific theme to the project, however each artist shared an interest in the issues and concerns relevant to the National Forest. The artists were encouraged to use methods of engagement within their work, involving local people and students as part of the projects development, driven by historical, social, political issues to ensure we engaged with the place and genuinely explored its locality.
BSDC's proposed project aim was to produce high quality photography that would stand the test of time and to establish the forests identity as a unique and emerging part of the Midlands. A body of high quality work by professional artists and students covering the landscape, people and changing dynamics of the National Forest has been produced and an excellent opportunity for student learning has been provided overall.