Seeds of change: a Ballast Seed Garden for Bristol
Press release issued: 5 July 2010
Bristol University and Arnolfini are inviting members of the public to a free event, on Thursday 8 July, to discuss the proposed Ballast Seed Garden for Bristol, which would be a permanent public artwork for the city.
Seeds of change is an ongoing investigation by artist Maria Thereza Alves into Bristol’s maritime history. In 2007, Maria Thereza found and photographed ballast sites around the River Avon and Bristol’s Harbourside. She then germinated seeds from those sites, in partnership with local community groups, and discovered a range of ballast flora. The next stage of this research is to have a permanent Ballast Seed Garden at the entrance to Bristol’s harbour.
Bristol University and Arnolfini are inviting members of the public to a free event to discuss the proposed Ballast Seed Garden for Bristol on Thursday 8 July at the University’s Botanic Garden in Stoke Bishop, Bristol.
A pilot Ballast Seed Garden, grown by the Botanic Garden, will be on display for people to see and comment on, alongside the artist’s proposal and plans.
Tours will take place throughout the afternoon, and there will be a discussion at 6 pm between the artist, Maria Thereza Alves; biologist, Professor Jane Memmott and environmental historian, Professor Peter Coates, both from Bristol University. Arnolfini Director, Tom Trevor, will chair the discussion.
Professor Simon Hiscock, Director of the Botanic Garden, said: “This event gives people the opportunity to have their say about the unique opportunity for a permanent Ballast Seed Garden for Bristol, and what that would mean for them.”
Maria Thereza Alves added: “Seeds of change is attempting to re-establish the histories of ballast flora and the individual histories to which these plants bear witnesses.”
This event forms part of a consultation process with communities about the proposal for a Ballast Seed Garden as a permanent public artwork, which Arnolfini have been developing with the help of Bristol City Council.
Seeds of Change: a Ballast Seed Garden for Bristol will be held on Thursday 8 July from 3.30 to 7.30 pm at the University of Bristol Botanic Garden, The Holmes, Stoke Park Road, Bristol BS9 1JB.
The event is free but booking is required. To reserve a ticket, contact Arnolfini Box Office on tel 0117 917 2300.
Further informationDirections to The Holmes
From the city centre go to the top of Whiteladies Road, at the junction and traffic lights go straight ahead across Durdham Down towards Stoke Bishop. At the traffic lights go straight ahead and take the first turning on the right into Stoke Park Road, The Holmes is 150 m on the right.
Arnolfini has been working with Bristol City Council to look at the idea of a Ballast Seed Garden as a permanent public artwork for Bristol. The artist has identified a site and outline approval to use the land has been received from the Council. The site is at the point where the ‘Cut' and docks meet the river Avon. Ballast Seed plants would be planted there, creating a quiet and reflective space, protected by small windbreaks.
A concept design can be viewed at www.arnolfini.org.uk/downloads/Seed_change_A2_2.pdf
The history of Bristol emerges from its port. References to ballast in the Port of Bristol exist from 1680, with a regulation prohibiting discharge. The post of Ballast Master was created in 1700, and there is further evidence into the 1800’s of this role. There is also mention of a Ballast wharf, even a Ballast Lane in Avonmouth. A record of flora written by the botanist Cecil I. Sandwith mentions sites where plants from North America, Africa and continental Europe have been found on ballast which was unloaded in Wapping Quay, Grove Quay, and between Avonmouth and Shirehampton.