Skate of Nature

Inspired by creating wilder places that are important for nature and for people, our commission was in partnership with Skate Nottingham and Nottinghamshire Wildlife Trust for Light Night 2020 in Nottingham city centre.  Spanning across two days, this temporary skateboarding arena was installed with UV sensitive artwork including twenty unique INSTAR posters reflecting the State of Nature report 2019, and a bold backdrop of a large green UV wolf in response to this 1949 quote by Aldo Leopold, who many believe to have sparked the modern way of conservation thinking.

“We reached the old wolf in time to watch a fierce green fire dying in her eyes. I realized then, and have known ever since, that there was something new to me in those eyes—something known only to her and to the mountain. I was young then, and full of trigger-itch; I thought that because fewer wolves meant more deer, that no wolves would mean hunters’ paradise. But after seeing the green fire die, I sensed that neither the wolf nor the mountain agreed with such a view".

LoudsPEAKer, National Trust

Commenced with a pilgrimage the Kinder Scout in Dark Peak, this project has resulted in the co-production of 10 bespoke items of adornment, directly inspired by the natural world and the experiences of connecting and navigating this landscape.  Cumulating in a site specific photoshoot in the Dark Peak, students modelled their items whilst re-enacting scenes of conservation, navigation and maintenance, directed by INSTAR.  This multi-faceted project invites audiences to consider how inner city young people connect to wilderness in contemporary Britain and questions the barriers and the opportunities this landscape offers.  The final phase of the People's Landscapes project, funded through Trust New Art, National Trust and Arts Council England.  Exhibition to be launched in Sheffield November 2019.

Be Kinder trail, Peoples Landscapes

This installation, within the Chapel at Barber-Booth (Edale) is part of the BE KINDER cultural art trail curated by Jarvis Cocker and Jeremy Deller.  Using direct iconography from our Spirit of Kinder project, this installation compiles of 5 large light boxes representing LOVE, ACCESS, VOICE, CARE, DISCOVERY of Kinder Scout in the Dark Peak.  Considering the character of this space, the light boxes aim to shine a light on the messages of each design, co-produced with over 80 local people, and reflect the iconography found within places of worship, stained glass windows and a place for reflection.  BE KINDER is open to the public from July to Sept 2019.  As part of People's Landscapes, National Trust. 

GRID, Nottinghamshire Wildlife Trust

5 x public art works (permanent) at Skylarks Nature Reserve, Nottinghamshire.  Constructed in CorTen steel, each piece over time will transform into a striking rust orange as it naturally oxidises.  Each art work connects to existing infrastructure across the reserve (viewing screens, bridges, fences, platforms), purposefully integrated.   Each work is rooted to its locality with the inclusion of a grid reference relative to the viewers position as well as a collection of species which have been recorded in the vicinity together with an inspirational quote concerning the natural world.  These pieces have been designed to invite visitors to reflect on their relationship with nature and discover more about the habitats, species and ecosystems at each of the 5 localities.  Skylarks Nature Reserve is managed by Nottinghamshire Wildlife Trust.  Funded by Herritage Lottery Fund.  Installed November 2017.  SK617389. Directions.

Spirit of Kinder, patch collection

The humble embroidered patch has played many important roles in history, stitched on clothing worn by cub scouts and the military, bikers and street gangs, celebrating special occasions, pop culture and political campaigns. They represent our identity, achievements, experience, beliefs and values.  We curated this project, selecting these colourful portable icons to encapsulate the views and voices of over 80 local people living in and around Kinder Scout, focusing on the connections they have with Kinder Scout and its landscape.  A limited edition production of 5 bespoke back packer patches themed around LOVE, ACCESS, VOICE, DISCOVERY and CARE were produced, inspired by the Mass Trespass of Kinder Scout in 1932 as well as the Dark Peak, its history and natural heritage. 

Curated and designed by INSTAR, this temporary exhibition transformed an old stable block located below a highly populated Long eared bat roost.  As well as producing, we collaborated with and commissioned work by local and international artists and scientists.  Creating a spectrum of blues, audiences travelled from light to darkness, guided through an exploration of the nocturnal world and science of bats.  The exhibition included long exposure AeroBATic photography and BAccTv long exposure moving image, interactive sonic sculpture, specimens, skulls, digital media and graphic/historical illustration. Wollaton Hall, Nottingham, UK.  Installed 2013


Funded by Arts Council England and Nottingham City Council.

TIMBER festival trail, National Forest

Commissioned to create an interactive trail for National Forest TIMBER festival 2019, we created a large insect trail enabling festival goers to get up close to the small things that run the world.  Briefed with the challenge of encouraging visitors to connect with the National Trust landscapes and conservation at the festival, these large scale sculptures invited visitors to capture their interaction with sculptures, and share their images via social media to then be used create a large scale collaborative mosaic created during the festival event.  A total of 5 insects were created, Elephant Hawkmoth, Rhinoceros Beetle, Honey bee, Common Wasp and Field Grasshopper.  Designed to be re-installed for future National Forest events, we also scribed an accompanying interpretation and information to support the trail, information sculptures and imagery to support the publication of the trail.

A creative consultation, engaging over 1000 visitors and participants at Nottingham's Natural History Museum, Wollaton Hall, our curated site-specific installation, invited individuals to curate and design their own collections, exploring colour as well as content, whilst also educating and inspiring ideas and creativity through the handling and close inspection of specimens.  As part of Project Lab 2017, we responded to this particular brief by the building of a curiosity studio within the museum, which included the display of behind the scenes artefacts, taxidermy and cases, a vintage and contemporary reference library, skeletons, microscopes as well as a creative artistic space.  For more information please see our project report.

Funded by Nottingham City Museums and Galleries and London Natural History Museum (Real World Science).


Made using oak panels and steel, this bespoke art work has been designed to function uniquely as a gate but also as a new viewing screen; representing the many perspectives shared by local people through the use of inlaid text and quotes.  Situated near the end of a long pathway, visitors are invited to experience the spectacular views of this wetland reserve at this particular locality and further connect to its wonder.  Commissioned to create an art work which is inspired by connections to nature, we wanted to integrate this work within existing infrastructure and make a multi purpose piece, framing the incredible vista and enabling a closer look at the natural world whilst also creating a stunning but functional access gate for volunteers to use regularly to gain access to areas to improve the wildlife habitat. Installed February 2018.

Funded by Nottinghamshire Wildlife Trust and Heritage Lottery Fund

An exhibition designed and curated by INSTAR featuring over 30 specimens selected from one of the UK's largest natural history collections.  The focus of this exhibition was to connect audiences with the beauty and wonder of each individual exhibit by removing the visual barriers created by cabinets, utilising theatrical lighting techniques and bold colour fields to create a more playful, exciting and curious museum experience.  This gallery design included a taxidermy workshop area, for the restoration team to share their craft with the public.  Wollaton Hall, Nottingham.  


Funded by Nottingham City Council and Heritage Lottery Fund.

A free-running road trip exploring abandoned and once flourishing spaces, utilising long exposure photography INSTAR secured lights to the limbs of free-runners whilst they traversed and navigated spaces.  Locations were once again illuminated, capturing momentary reinvention of architecture and environment.  Locations include Odeon cinema, train tracks, Great Northern Railway, Broadmarsh shopping centre, cattle market, police station, guildhall courtrooms. East Midlands, UK.  Culminating in a final installation of projection, moving image, sound and performance sited underneath an inner city multi-story car park.


Funded by Arts Council England, Antenna and Nottingham City Council

Inspired by the wildlife to be found within the parks grounds and guided by the colours in nature, we selected each specimen from the extensive Nottingham Natural History Museum collection; curated, designed, and installed this permanent exhibition together with writing all of the interpretive copy.  Wollaton Wildlife has over 100,000 visitors every year and this exhibition forms part of an important learning resource for schools and groups through the Real World Science national LNH museum programme. Launched 2014.


Funded by London Natural History Museum, Arts Council England and Nottingham City Museums and Galleries.

Spanning an 18 month period this 30 minute film captures Skylarks Nature Reserve through the seasons, from a late summer sunrise to a late summer sunset a year later, representing 6 stories from visitors, volunteers and wildlife recorders relaying their personal connections with the reserve.  We artistically produced and created all elements of this film, including all image capture, editing, interviews and original music score. Completed February 2018, Launch due May 2018 at Broadway Cinema.


Funded by Nottinghamshire Wildlife Trust and Heritage Lottery Fund.

Now in our second year, we hope to install up to 30 swift boxes on residential properties across our local community, engaging neighbours and schools in local (and global) wildlife conservation.  This project is ongoing. Nottingham, UK. #keepyoureyesontheskies


Funded by Nottingham City Council.

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