Let's get wild! Draw Me A Tree is about spreading our branches and reconnecting city folk with nature. The plan is to run a programme of nature themed art workshops, followed by an incredible community-focused, sensory exhibition like you've never seen before! To do this, we need your help. Pledge today to become part of something magical.
We have been gratefully chosen for the #BackTheFuture Portsmouth Climate Challenge and are so excited to share our plans with you! This initiative exists to nurture people and planet positive ideas - we hope you can join us on our adventure! Portsmouth City Council will match fund us up to £5000 but its first come first served, so pledge today to help us win the race.
Keep an eye out on our social media platforms for updates and bookable workshops!
Draw Me A Tree is a project for the whole community and beyond. It's about using creative imagination, recognising the importance of trees, and showing how far we can spread our Wild City branches! Next year, we will be curating a live exhibition at a secret location in our city of Portsmouth! The exhibition will take the form of a huge community based art installation, representing the sublime phenomenon of forests.
First things first - how do you get people interested in climate change? Well, we believe that by encouraging imagination through creative workshops, we can raise awareness of environmental issues, starting at the roots. Draw Me A Tree is a project with our wider community at the centre. We are passionate about nature, and we care about people – our aim is to bring the two together by reintroducing local people to the natural world. Although densely populated, Portsmouth has a number of accessible and thriving green spaces. Draw Me a Tree is about respecting and protecting these spaces by acknowledging the value of trees, combined with the importance of nature on mental health and wellbeing.
This project is accessible and inclusive of our whole community. No artistic experience necessary!
Through our diverse workshop programme, we aim to access pockets of the community that may lack regular exposure to nature to create a nature awareness domino effect. Our workshops will be focused around getting outside, learning to reconnect, understand and prioritise our local patches of wild. We will be creating artwork inspired by these outdoor adventures and collecting them to form a collaborative exhibition. The exhibition will consist of artwork and creative writing inspired by the green spaces of Portsmouth, showcasing the magnitude of our community spirit and the magic of nature. We are hoping to provide the exhibition visitors with a thought provoking, memorable experience that fiercely promotes the importance of trees while encouraging time to reflect on our individual footprints.
Let’s join forces and celebrate the natural environment on our doorstep!
We’re Jordan & Beth - the husband and wife team behind Wild City Portsmouth. Driven by our love of art, nature and the outdoors, we aim to enhance the creative scene in Portsmouth and the surrounding areas. We spend as much time as we can exploring the wild and collecting inspiration with our two small children - taking pictures and finding treasure as we go. Through Wild City Portsmouth we have worked with charities, young people, Portsmouth EYS, and been supported by the University of Portsmouth and Santander UK startup scheme.
Bethia graduated from the University of Portsmouth in 2017 with a first class honours degree in Illustration. During this time, she also completed the Design Council Academy Programme and reached a certified Visual Design Specialist level in Adobe software. She went on to complete a Master’s Degree with Merit in Interior Design/Illustration, focusing on nature and wellbeing. She has worked freelance for a number of years, running market stalls, workshops for all ages, private commissions and sign writing for various businesses.
Jordan graduated from the University of Chichester in 2012 with a degree in Business. He worked in the hospitality industry for 13 years, becoming an executive area manager in 2016. He later moved to the heritage sector, working as an operations manager for a world renowned charity before establishing his career as a business development manager for a large private firm. His positive communication skills, passion for the environment and love of adventure are at the core of Wild City.
Here are our four key motives for this project;
- Mental Health & Wellbeing
We believe in promoting positive mental health & wellbeing through biophilic principles.
We believe in inspiring humanity to look between the cracks in the concrete and recognise the magic of nature in our cities.
We believe in education, in listening, and in teaching where to look but not what to see. We all have something to teach and something to learn.
We believe in the diversity of our planet – that anyone of any age, race, religion, sexuality or background is valuable, important and included.
- Supporting Deprived Urban Environments
We believe in our local community, culture and history; the people that call Portsmouth home, the people that are growing up here and the people who have lived here a lifetime.
We believe that you are at the heart of our values and why Wild City Portsmouth exists. We strive to champion our local creatives, small businesses and build creative confidence within the wider community.
We will be hosting a series of free of charge workshops – these will take place in schools, community centres and (hopefully) care homes in order to access a variety of ages. The money will enable us to pay for any hire fees and facilitation costs with specialist artists and/or conservation professionals.
We will be purchasing creative materials for all our participants to use throughout the workshops. This will allow anyone who wants to exhibit the opportunity to take part without having to buy their own supplies. We can also purchase specialist materials for any guest artists who join us.
Space hire, props, production, lighting, labour and refreshments! We want to create a memorable and magical experience that people will be proud to be a part of.
Shout it louder for the people at the back! Marketing is of course a huge factor in running a project of this size – we need to attract and reach the far corners of our little island city. From digital promotion to adverts and banners, we will firstly need to make the community aware of upcoming workshops, before advertising and promoting the final exhibition event!
We would also like to produce a newspaper showcasing the final exhibition in print format for those that may not be able to attend in person.
It’s all or nothing! In order to carry out the workshops free of charge, purchase materials and create this spectacular event, we need to raise as much as possible.
How the match funding works:
Here at Wild City we like to learn, think and grow! Everything we do is backed up by substantial research that inspires and drives our project ideas. We want to share this to get those brain cogs turning and provide some food for thought for our supporters!
Even before the pandemic there has been a huge rise in mental health issues across all ages over the last decade, particularly in young children. This rise is exacerbated in inner city areas, with the risk of developing depression proven to be 20% higher in cities than in rural areas. Portsmouth South has been rated the most deprived area in Hampshire, with Portsmouth North following closely in fourth place. People who live in deprived areas are more likely to need mental healthcare but less likely to access support or recover following treatment.
There is a clear link between the lack of biodiversity in inner city spaces and poor mental health.
The second issue is diversity - Only 1.7% of the black population and 2% of the asian population in England live in rural areas, many of whom are unable to access or experience natural, wild spaces regularly or at all. This creates a huge lack of multicultural diversity in terms of interest, education and conservation based careers because there isn’t enough exposure, encouragement or opportunity to connect with nature in city communities.
On top of these issues there is a proposed 50% cut in funding for the arts that will further damage an already underfunded sector and deprive generations of creative confidence.
Creativity matters. How do you make sense of life, how do you express emotion? When was the last time you made something you were proud of?
Human creativity is nature manifesting in us. We want people to grow, and not only grow, but to thrive through the power of expression.
Wild City Portsmouth is unique in its approach, tackling key issues relating to creative confidence and mental health while being inclusive and accessible. We are community focused and genuinely care about the social issues within our city. We want to make a difference on an individual basis and a citywide scale. We can do this by inspiring the whole community to connect with nature through creativity, using our combined professional skills and experience. We are lucky to have multiple public green spaces on Portsea island including parks, the common and Hilsea lines nature reserve. These spaces can be utilised during our project to provide visual references and practical awareness.
With this project in particular, we have been looking into feelings of insignificance. Everyone experiences self-doubt to some degree, where they feel small, unaccomplished or not good enough. In today's society, it's too easy to compare yourself to others or measure your personal success against the virtual mass of filtered lifestyles. So, how can we turn those feelings of insignificance into a positive?
Let's start by thinking about how we feel when we're surrounded by nature, or just one large tree! When you're immersed by nature, it makes you feel small - not through negativity, but in a reflective, humbling sense. It forces you to recognise that there is more to life than your immediate stresses or the things you're constantly exposed to online. It makes you realise that nature is alive - it goes through cycles and keeps on growing, reaching for sunlight regardless of its surroundings, just like you.
This is the feeling we want to create through the draw me a tree initiative. For everyone who enters to feel part of something positive, expansive and magical!
The quote below is by Sandra Shapshay, a philosophy professor who's research focuses on environmental aesthetics, especially theories of the sublime. It explains in a bit more depth what we're talking about, and explores the relationship between humans and nature.
"Here we have an account of sublime experience that oscillates between feeling reduced to nothing in comparison with the great spatial and temporal expanse of nature, and then feeling elevated by two thoughts ‘that only philosophy makes clear’. First is the thought that as cognising, thinking subjects we in a sense create (support, construct) our own world – a second nature, as it were – a world of our own subjective experience. And the second exalting thought is that we are in some sense ‘one with the world’, and in being unified with nature in all its temporal and spatial vastness, we are therefore ‘not oppressed but exalted by its immensity.’
The source of the pleasure in sublime experiences derives, according to Kant, from an appreciation of our capacity for moral and theoretical transcendence of mere nature, and, in Schopenhauer, from a reflection on the two-fold nature of our selves. On the one hand, we have power as cognising subjects – we are creators of a world, a world of subjective experience; and on the other hand, the experience reveals in an intuitive fashion that we are at bottom really unified with all of nature. Nature’s immensity is our immensity; its seeming infinity is our infinity too."
- Shapshay S, 2018
- 'It has been a total joy to work with Beth on The Grateful Arts Club programme and exhibition. Beth is so passionate about what she does and shares her message in such a creative and accessible way. I can't recommend working with her highly enough.' - Charla Grant, Founder of The Grateful Hearts (& Arts!) Club, Portsmouth
- 'Wild City Portsmouth engaged and inspired Early Years practitioners with their sequence of practical and natural experiences to help stimulate and inspire creativity and imaginative skills for our under 5's across the city' - Ella Harbut, Early Years Advisory Teacher, Portsmouth City Council
- 'Working with Beth from Wild City Portsmouth was a great experience for all. A really inclusive session, which the young people loved. Getting them to think about what's important to them and their ideal environment to live in, as well as using sustainable materials. Would definitely recommend to anyone.' - Sophie King, Youth Support Worker, Motiv8 Portsmouth
- 'We are fortunate to have attended many art workshops led by Beth. She has a natural way with people and is always happy to help. She allowed a freedom in her sessions which really encouraged the children to be creative. Beth has an abundance of skills which she has always been able to draw upon to create exciting, interesting and rewarding projects.' - H. Rapley, Workshop Participant Parent, Portsmouth
- 'I have been lucky enough to attend workshops with my family run by Bethia. We have found the sessions to be fun, engaging and insightful. Beth is so welcoming and approachable. She is quietly brilliant at what she does, whether it's making a giraffe out of wire or spooky halloween shadow puppets or taking on a request to draw a bearded dragon! I've been happy to leave my boys in her hands and have also been encouraged by her when taking on tasks myself. She listens and suggests but leaves the creativity to you so that you can all leave knowing you have made something amazing. Lots of weekends filled with fun from this one!' - K. Povey, Workshop Participant Parent, Portsmouth
- 'Beth has always shown great kindness and patience to everyone who has been to one of her workshops. My family and I can see the passion she has and how she imputes that into the community through her work.' - E. Clarke, Workshop Participant Parent, Portsmouth
- 'We have attended many workshops run by Bethia and her creativity and dedication to the participants is amazing. Nothing was ever too much to ask and she offered help in every way to make the sessions fun and engaging for everyone taking part. Bethia's love for nature and learning is inspiring and we will continue to attend and recommend her amazing workshops in future.' - J. Baines, Workshop Participant Parent, Portsmouth