Audience with an Ash: Artist Talk by Ackroyd and Harvey on 6th December

Ackroyd and Harveys History Trees at Olympic Park, which features an Ash.


The School of Music and Fine Art Visiting is delighted that Heather Ackroyd and Dan Harvey will be delivering the Visiting Artist Talk on Tuesday December 6th in the Royal Dockyard Church at 6.15pm.  The talk is free to attend.

The artists will be talking especially about their role in the development of the Ash Project which has been conceived by Kent Downs Area of Outstanding National Beauty, which has been awarded Heritage Lottery and Arts Council funds to help record and raise awareness of ash tree die back.

For 25 years, Ackroyd & Harvey’s work has been exhibited in contemporary art galleries, museums and public spaces worldwide; sculpture, photography, architecture, ecology and biology are disciplines that intersect in their work, revealing an intrinsic bias towards process and event. Often reflecting environmental and scientific concerns, they are acclaimed for large-scale interventions in sites of architectural interest.

The Ash Project is an urgent cultural response to the devastating effects of Ash dieback, and combines a major new commission by Ackroyd and Harvey which will continue their environmental investigations and will result in a large scale public artwork supported by cultural institutions in Kent and in landscape partnerships across the country.

Processes of growth and decay are integral to our time-based art practice. In the last ten years, living trees have featured significantly in our artwork, from oak trees germinated from acorns collected from Joseph Beuys’s “7000 Oaks” artwork, to a series of ten large trees holding huge engraved rings at the major entrances to the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park.

 When working with plant material we catalyze the growth process by germinating seeds. The Ash presents a distinct challenge given the pervasiveness of the fungal infection affecting millions of ash trees across the country. Landscapes, parks and gardens will be irrevocably changed as landmark canopy trees and copses of ash disappear.

 Our research has revealed a hidden wealth of industries carved from the ash, a myriad of wooden objects and artefacts that occupy historical significance and domestic use. Mythologies address the Ash as the tree at the centre of the world, the ‘cosmic’ tree. Contemporary science is studying genetic traits to understand how to cultivate disease resistant Ash stock. David Nash’s “Ash Dome” is an international recognized artwork. The emotional, social and metaphorical relationship with this tree gives deep-rooted material for our artistic exploration.” Heather Ackroyd and Dan Harvey, November 2016

The commission is complimented by a two year programme of public engagement to include artists’ walks, green wood working, an evolving Ash Archive, public programmes at University of Kent and Folkestone Triennial. These events will involve communities in actively documenting the contemporary and historic importance of the Ash in collaboration with the research and scientific community of the Kent Downs and artists and educators Outdoor Studios, who work with school students to create extraordinary experiences in the outdoors.


For more info go to  and