Tickets: FREE
Across Coventry 
Until Sat 16 Oct 2021

Walking Forest Coventry

Fri 15 Oct 2021 to Sat 16 Oct 2021
Across Coventry 
Show on map
Duration: 48 hours
FREE
 

A performance ACTION moving through the city

15 and 16 October 2021 from dawn until dusk

A felled tree moves through the streets of Coventry, carried by a group of women. 

An act of endurance and love for the planet and future generations.

 

Join Us

We bear our collective grief over our loss of the natural world, species, ancient woodlands, as women, as ancestors. We demonstrate courage and vulnerability, creating space for lament, but also inspiring hope, the feeling we are not alone. 

Alice, tree carrier, Coventry

WITNESS this mobile artwork any time from dawn to dusk on Friday 15 October and Saturday 16 October 2021. An opportunity to pause for a moment and consider what a felled tree carried by women across the city means for you. There is no right answer, just your own response and the gift of your attention will support the walkers. 

WALK WITH US We welcome women and children to walk alongside for 10 minutes or the whole day bringing support and care. Join women in this act of endurance and love for the planet and future generations as they carry the felled tree across the city, mourning the loss of forests and ecosystems around the world and planting seeds of courage. 

SHARE All are welcome to meet us and take part at different stopping points on the journey as the tree becomes a space where we can gather to eat, reflect, listen and exchange stories.

What needs to be exchanged and heard under the canopy of a felled tree?

The tree you witness being carried is a birch. It was felled in Coventry in its prime close to the Heart of England Way to make way for the High Speed 2 (HS2) rail link. Birch trees are woodland pioneers, often the first tree species to populate open ground. They can live up to two hundred years and have a fascinating folklore including strong associations with loss, renewal and new beginnings.  By honouring the death of this tree we hold a space to mark the relentless and ongoing destruction of trees and nature in this country and around the world.

All events are free. All are welcome to meet us at the stopping points over the two days. Check the map and timetable below or download here for where we will be and the activities that will take place. 

Walk With Us - we are still recruiting for anyone who identifies as a woman to walk with us as a tree carrier during the performance on 15 & 16 October. Find out more here.

Supported by National Lottery Heritage Fund.

Image: Sinead Patching

Timetable and map

Map and Timetable

FRIDAY 15 OCTOBER

Dawn 7.31am

8.30am Spencer Park near the footbridge an ancient route to the city known as Anarchy Bridge.

9am Underpass Grosvenor Road The lost pear and a lament UK’s tree of the year felled near Coventry in 2020.

9.30-10.30am Greyfriars Green. Love, Gratitude, Grief Children lead an intergenerational exchange.

10.40am Coventry City Council building, Friargate The suffragette pine Walking Forest story

12.15-13.15pm Shelton Square Climate Cafe: what you have noticed and how are you feeling about changes in the weather locally and globally? Lunch for all provided.

15.15-15.45pm Magistrates Court Law Making or Law Breaking ? Witness statements from women who have been standing up for the natural world locally.

16.00-16.50pm The Council  House Speakers Corner - A Tree Has Fallen A chance for women of all ages to find their voice. Listen and join in.

17pm Walking with Fire procession to the Old Cathedral.

17.15-18.11pm (dusk) Old Cathedral Laying the Tree Down  

paying respects through song, spoken word and listening.

18.11pm (dusk) - 19.00 Old Cathedral Spend time with the tree with warm food and drink.

19-21pm Vigil with the tree.

 

SATURDAY 16 OCTOBER

Dawn 7.33am

8.30-9am Old Cathedral Social Dreaming Listen to overnight dreams emerging from the tree carriers and walkers.

9.30-10.30am Priory Gardens Observation and Connection with nature through the felled tree.

11am Millennium Square ‘Courage calls to Courage’ Coventry’s suffragette past and what inspires each of us to act.

11.30-12.15pm Lady Herbert’s Gardens Under the Tall Trees sharing the importance of urban green spaces.

12.40- 1.55pm Volgograd Place How can Coventry feed itself? A celebration and exchange of local food and home grown produce with lunch for all provided.

14.25-15.15pm Belgrade Square Dancing Earth Join in weaving connections across cultures through dance and song.  

15.45-16.45pm Spon End-Grapevine The Lady of the Woods Time to rest together.

17.15-18.08pm (dusk) Sherbourne Valley Allotments, Arches Industrial Estate  entrance.  Seedlings. We mark and celebrate the end of the Coventry journey with fire, poetry, pear cake and gratitude. No late entry. 

Walking Forest

Walking Forest is a ten year project to plant a woodland to honour Earth Defenders from around the world. It looks back to the collective actions of the campaigners for women’s suffrage who stood for radical democratic change and looks forward to the next 100 years when articulating and standing up together for the well-being of Earth is key to planetary survival. We take inspiration from the story of the last surviving ‘Suffragette Tree’ from an arboretum in Batheaston planted by women activists in the early 20th century. We are inspired by the hidden networks of the forest which reveal that individual trees live in a vibrant community connected via superfine threads of fungi that span the forest underground.

Walking Forest Coventry is commissioned by Coventry City of Culture Trust as part of the Green Futures Programme. This began with a woodland camp where 28 Coventry women explored forest networks, creativity and activism to unearth stories of female activism in Coventry. This performance action emerged from the camp through the imagination and vision of all of those who took part. The route, choreography, costume and props have all been designed together. Since October, Walking Forest has grown to include up to many other women who are tree carrying and walking with us.

Following its time in Coventry, the tree will make its way to Glasgow for the COP 26 climate talks where it will continue its role as a gathering and convening space for women's voices to be heard and hidden stories to be shared. 

On 12 December Walking Forest invites you to a tree planting event to plant young saplings from the 'Suffragette Tree’ at Floyds Field, Tile Hill. This land was gifted to the city by local suffragette Lettice Floyd.

I want to demonstrate that actions speak louder than words. What we are producing is something that is visible to people - offscreen and on the street

Martina, tree carrier

Credits

Walking Forest Anchor Women:

Martina Irwin, Sanaa Cheruvallili, Alice Khimasia, Heather Parker, Birgit Kehrer, Gemma Musgreaves, Lisa Franklin, Becky Taylor, Gayatri Pasricha, Leah Gowing, Jana Aizupe, Sherrie Edgar, Sam Loughrey Black, Jane Clarke, Loraine Masiya Mponela, Sabz Qazi, Amber Jones, Sonani Mhlanga, Mel Smith, Melissa Smith, Amanda Haran

Walking Forest camp attendees:

Jasmine Wang, Lakshmi Srinivasan, Victoria Lindsell, Sara Estecha Querol.

Food provided by Langar Aid, Change Kitchen and other local providers

Soundscape created by Mira Calix, Sonum Vocis Magnum Parvo.

Costumes and props co-created with Walking Forest Coventry and Fablab, The Cuttlefish Collective and Jo Jo Wood.

Production materials are wherever possible natural, recycled, found, borrowed or repurposed.

Walking Forest artists Ruth Ben-Tovim, Shelley Castle, Anne-Marie Culhane and  Lucy Neal. walkingforest.co.uk

Walk With Us: Walking Forest Coventry 15th & 16th October

Will you be part of raising a collective voice for climate, racial and social justice? 

We invite Coventry & Warwickshire Women inspired by nature to be part of Walking Forest Coventry - a street-based, city-wide mobile performance happening from dawn to dusk on the 15th and 16th October 2021 created with local women.  

Will you stand up for Nature in Coventry?

We invite you to carry a felled tree as it moves through the streets of Coventry - an act of endurance and love for the planet and future generations. Planting seeds of courage across the city as we move. 

 

How to get there