Art & Nature Connections

Art & Nature Connections

What is Art & Nature Connections
A participatory research project that is exploring the experience of using both digital and outdoor environments to engage and enhance wellbeing using art & nature.
One of the key outcomes is the development of research skills by our co-researchers as we develop and expand our understanding of the themes of wellbeing in our communities.


Who Is Involved

Art and Nature Connections, led by Green Tree Arts is a collaborative project that includes a group of local carers, other members of our community with an interest in either art/nature or wellbeing, working in partnership  with Researcher Dr Ania Zubala from the University of Highlands and Islands.  
As we move into our third phase of this project , we are widening the geographical reach out with Moray  and across the Highlands and Islands.

What is the purpose of our project?

Art and Nature Connections uses  a variety of research methods as its core activity. We began facilitating informal discussions as a group as to how nature-based art experiences might be relevant within our  local communities and how they can be used to improve mental wellbeing, for which the results of the research thus far have been very positive.
Our group were given the dual role of participants and co-researchers and created their own research questions to further explore how Art and Nature could impact mental wellbeing, this then evolved into a series of co-designed nature-based creative group sessions.

How did the project activity work?

One of the unique aspects of this project is that the researchers also represented the community and over the last year with the support of our researcher, our group has developed their co-researcher role and skills, through their participation.
Throughout the project, we, as co-researchers, have engaged in reflection and shared our experiences with one another to increase our understanding of how art and nature supports wellbeing. Our insights and thoughts were inspired by the group activities, each other and our individual encounters with art and nature.

What tools and methods
did we use?

An important aspect of this project was to consider the benefits of working within different environments to connect with nature, including online, outdoors and using natural objects.
Each individual chose whatever means of engagement suited them, whether art making, photography, poetry, or journaling. These methods of engagement were then shared to inspire and encourage us to try new things and observe the differing benefits. We used a variety of tools to capture these experiences.

Sharing our ‘findings’ with others

The event at Loch of Blairs was a celebratory event to highlight the outcomes of the project over the last year. A chance for our co-researchers to showcase their research activity/ findings/ reflections with a wider community, in the way of art making, poetry, photographs, and audio. All of which highlighted our personal engagement with art and nature.
Guests were invited to experience a ‘moment’ of art and nature connection with participants, to inform and shape the next element of our research activity. The indoor space was used to exhibit the co-researcher’s artwork while the outdoor area was used for interactive sensory experiences. In 2023, our co-researchers will continue to develop their work with new communities helping our research activity to grow and new art & nature connection to flourish.

Our Co-researchers

This project would not be made possible without our co-researchers:

Beth, Maryan, Sarah, Ania, Deborah, Mary, Kay, Babs,
Frances, Polly, Karyn, Nicola, Anna-Mary, Judith.

“The Ideas Fund is delighted to continue to support the Art and Nature Connections project to continue for another 9 months, supporting the project’s peer researchers to explore more deeply, and supporting other people to deeply explore the relationship between nature and art through collaborating with a researcher. We know the project has been impactful over the past year and we are excited by the potential of the project and collaboration in the next year. The Ideas Fund is a grants programme run by the British Science Association and funded by Wellcome, which enables the UK public to develop and try out ideas that relate to mental wellbeing by working with researchers”

our funders

This project is one of 42 supported by the very first round of funding from The Ideas Fund, a grants programme run by The British Science Association and funded by Wellcome Trust.

Find out more about

art & nature connections

Site design by Gecko   |   ©2020. All rights reserved