Forest of Imagination returns with organisers urging people to connect with nature in the city

May 11, 2023

Bath’s award-winning contemporary arts event, Forest of Imagination, is back this summer with a series of playful, nature-inspired experiences.

Organisers of the free-to-attend festival, which runs from 14 June to 14 July, are inviting adults and children to ‘assemble in the forest’ and connect with nature in a host of imaginative ways. 

This year’s venue is Bath’s iconic Assembly Rooms, where spaces inside and outside the National Trust-owned building will be transformed into a series of art experiences.

These will offer visitors the chance to immerse themselves in multi-sensory installations, soundscapes and sculptures, join artists’ workshops and explore a host of creative and community projects from top local and international artists, designers and businesses.

The festival, which this year celebrates its 10th anniversary, is masterminded by Bath architecture practices firms Grant Associates and Feilden Clegg Bradley Studios, young people’s arts charity House of Imagination, and Bath Spa University. working alongside the creative, cultural and educational community of Bath.

Each year the festival re-imagines a familiar space in the city is to highlight the importance of nature and imagination in all of our lives.

Over the past decade, more than 60,000 visitors have attended and 100,000-plus have interacted with the contemporary arts event online. Every year around 20 local schools, five partner universities and 50 artists and creative professionals help grow new branches of the unique event. 

For 2023, the National Trust invited Forest of Imagination to take over the Assembly Rooms as part of the charity’s plans to reimagine the building as a focus for the community of Bath.

The theme ‘Assemble in the Forest’ is inspired by the opportunity to link art, nature and the social life of the city into an experience that takes full advantage of the grand rooms inside and its distinctive spaces outside.

Forest of Imagination co-founder and Reader and Research Fellow at Bath Spa University, Penny Hay, said: “For the past 10 years, Forest of Imagination has been a truly collaborative event which gives it a unique creative energy – and that very much continues to be the case in 2023.

“At a period of great transition and change for our world, this is a time to collectively and creatively come together to imagine how things can be different in the future.”

Co-founder Andrew Grant, who is a director of Bath-based landscape architects Grant Associates – best known as the lead designer of the iconic Gardens by the Bay attraction in Singapore – said people all around the world used forests as places to find respite, either individually or together.

“‘Assemble in the Forest’ is an open invitation to come together and celebrate the beauty and biodiversity of Bath and once again to showcase the imagination of our community,” he added.

“In addition, it will provide an opportunity to shine a light on the importance of forests across the world and what they mean to us in Bath.”

For more information about Forest of Imagination 2023, visit:

Image: Morag Myerscough




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