Home > Case studies > Lost Spells exhibition reconnects people with nature

Lost Spells exhibition reconnects people with nature

An exhibition based on the latest book in the acclaimed ‘Lost Words’ series, has helped inspire people to reconnect with nature and our local landscapes. ‘The Lost Spells: Listening to a Landscape of Voice Exhibition and Programme’ was developed and delivered by the Northumberland National Park Foundation. They received grants from three funds at the Community Foundation Tyne & Wear and Northumberland: the Northern Powergrid Fund; Local Environment Action Fund (LEAF); and the Linden Family Fund. 

‘The Lost Words’ series, illustrated by Jackie Morris and written by Robert Macfarlane, began as a meditation on the loss of language about nature and grew into a broader protest about the loss of the natural world. Seeing the clear connection between the series and their own work encouraging the protection, conservation and enhancement of Northumberland National Parks, an immersive exhibition was created to connect people of all ages, abilities and backgrounds with nature and landscapes. This coupled with outreach work with local schools and communities, made environmentally focused content accessible on a larger scale.

Michelle Hardie, Philanthropy Advisor at the Community Foundation said: 

“Given the context of climate change and Covid-19, Northumberland National Park Foundation’s project is particularly relevant and timely. Their exhibition and outreach work directly engages with those communities hardest hit by the pandemic and encourages them to reconnect with nature. The project has clearly had a significant impact in terms of education, wellbeing and enjoyment of the natural world around us”. 

The exhibition attracted 34,733 visitors during its duration. As well as this, 2,537 school children took part in education sessions. The project also allowed Northumberland National Park Foundation to partner with a diverse range of local groups and communities, allowing more people to access the exhibition. 

Sarah Burn, Head of Engagement for Northumberland National Park said: 

“With funding support from the Community Foundation, ‘The Lost Spells: Listening to a Landscape of Voices Exhibition and Programme’ exceeded all expectations and its success has led to the project going on tour, with its first stop being North York Moors National Park.  

“The ambitious exhibition and programme used ‘The Lost Spells’ as a key focus and driver of the National Park’s public, outreach and learning offer, connecting a wide-range of audiences with nature and climate change through creative workshops, National Park visits and online content.  

“It has also shaped the way we work in the future, with the development of a climate literacy school just one of the new work programmes in development. We would like to thank the Community Foundation for supporting ‘Lost Spells’ which will now be a catalyst for many more people, across the country, to discover, learn and ask questions about species loss, biodiversity and climate action.”