New project to increase connection to art and nature for wellbeing

The Stepping into Nature project celebrates securing an Arts Council England grant award for an exciting new social engagement project, called ‘Your Seasons of Stories’, which will use art and nature to improve the wellbeing of Dorset residents.

Enjoying being among nature (c) Steph Aburrow

Your Season of Stories will gather seasonal memories, traditions and thoughts from people living in Dorset to co-produce a creative resource to help spark connection to nature. From September, the project invites participants to online and in person discussions and walks, led by professional poets, storytellers and visual artists. The discussions held during these sessions will feed into the development of a creative resource and a series of short films to inspire and encourage individuals, pairs or groups to create their own seasonal stories, poetry and art.

Stepping into Nature Project Officer, Steph Aburrow, said:

‘We are so pleased to have been awarded £45.5K of support using public funding by the National Lottery through Arts Council England. This project is a great opportunity to bring people together to create something positive and unique whilst giving a boost to peoples creative confidence, self-esteem and mood. We are working with an amazing team of artists, currently a local poet, Sarah Acton, and a storyteller, Martin Maudsley, and look forward to welcoming two more visual artists which we are currently recruiting to lead sessions and create content.’

Kingcombe (c) Mark Heighes

Black Ven Poet and a lead artist for this project, Sarah Acton, said:

‘The sessions and the creative resources will be accessible to all and fun to co-create and use. We hope they will be particularly beneficial to anyone vulnerable to isolation or loneliness and anyone who may have limited connection to the natural and cultural landscape. We’d like the activities and final shared resources to reflect a range of voices as we make them, so we hope to collect diverse seasonal memories, traditions and thoughts. We encourage individuals from any currently underrepresented group in the arts in Dorset to get in touch and get involved.’

The Stepping into Nature project is led by the Dorset Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty and funded by the National Lottery Community Fund.

For further enquires please contact