Previous Youth Projects

Discover some of the projects previously funded by Grow Wild youth grants

We have funded 301 youth projects since 2014, supporting a wide range of exciting ideas for engaging with UK native plants and fungi. 

Grow Wild youth grants provide support and funding to young people aged 14-25 to carry out projects that celebrate and champion the importance UK native plants and/or fungi.

This page offers an inspiring glimpse into some of the projects run by previous Grow Wild youth grant recipients. 
 

"I would recommend everyone to do a Grow Wild Youth Project because it doesn't matter what field you're in, if you have a passion for nature, there's no point not to. " - Rahul Goel, 2022 participant

Previous Youth Projects

Youth projects funded and supported by Grow Wild 

Amber Brown: Earth works

'My project, Earthworks, curated a marriage of photography and printmaking, depicting allotments in Amble and Morpeth, and the community at the heart of them.

'I approached Grow Wild after hearing about their Youth Project funding through the University [Edinburgh College of Art]. My aim was to develop the work over a six-month period to put on my first solo exhibition, which would also be my first time exhibiting in my hometown – a nerve-wracking prospect!

'Creating this work over several seasons allowed me to experience the allotment through its cyclic stages of growth. Naturally, come spring, more and more plot-holders spent time at their green havens. Many of them were so kind to spare an hour or so to show me around their plot, tell stories of what their hobby has brought them and let me take their portrait in the space.

'During my time with Grow Wild, I’m honestly absolutely over the moon to say that my project (which is a work in progress) was shortlisted in the top ten selected works at Belgrade Photo Month 2019 – and published in the coinciding Grain magazine – shortlisted for the Astaire Art Prize 2019 and also won the George Jackson Hutchinson Memorial Prize 2019!'

Amanpreet Kalsi: In Bloom

Supported by the University of Warwick

In Bloom represents the seasonal growth of UK native plants. Composed from laser-cut birch wood, the work intertwines and overlaps ten different wildflower species, incorporating pollinators like bees, birds and butterflies.

The journey begins at the core of the structure, with the seed. Seeds can sit dormant for years before the right conditions enable them to burst into life and growth can begin.

Encircling the core, ivy, ferns and harebells bloom and bring beauty to dreary autumn and winter days.

The blooming of wildflowers, which break away from this circle, represents the beauty of explosive blossoming that occurs in spring and summer.

In Bloom encapsulates the journey of growth, from autumn to summer, when everything truly comes to life.

Grace Penton: Growing Gigantic

Supported by Create London

Exploring the theme of personal growth, and the growth of the plants and fungi around us, Grace has explored how they allow us to flourish. She created the ‘tree-trousers’, representing the unrealistic growth imagined as a child. The trousers become a symbol for both the personal growth and literal growth we experience as humans.

Collaborating with people from different ages, backgrounds and opinions, and with nature itself, she worked with other contributors, who created drawings of plants, trees and fungi; the results of this collaboration adorn the trousers, creating a community upon them.

Due to the circumstances over the past year and the inability to physically interact, Grace created an online space where people submitted pictures of their creations, and these were then translated onto the trousers. The trousers are made from recycled paper, cardboard and willow; trees from trees.

‘I found that working with nature, in this slower way, pushed me to be more patient as each element of the Tree-Trousers was a new, slow process.’

@artyfacegrace

Bijoy Das: Nature's Internet

Supported by Queen Mary University of London

Nature’s Internet explores the scientific research that is expanding our knowledge of the wildly complex kingdom of fungi.

What you see (or eat!) of a mushroom is the fruit or the flower. The organism exists under the ground, as a network of fine threads called mycelium. These ‘threads’ are the creators of the fastest and most complex biochemical signalling network on the planet.

In his project, Bijoy highlights and celebrates this remarkable process. Nature’s Internet aims to juxtapose the seemingly quiet, simple life of the mushroom with the highly complicated biochemical signalling that is going on under the soil.

A ‘mycelial server room’ is his representation of these processes, an attempt to describe their complexity in the way we think of these concepts: glowing lights, machined edges and technical components. Bijoy uses fluorescent acrylic to convey this – its smooth, adaptive glow is a stark contrast to the matte grey-beige flesh of the fungi itself.

@Bijoy.jpg

Natural Plant Dye Garden, Cardiff Metropolitan University 

With youth project funding from Grow Wild, students at Cardiff Metropolitan University developed a natural dye garden to explore ideas around fabric dyeing, sustainable dyes and waste dyeing (using materials like onion skins and avocado pits).

Throughout the project, the central focus was on giving students education about the ancient craft technique of natural plant dyeing. Dr Keireine Canavan, Head of Textiles at the university, explained: 'The students who were involved now consider themselves more aware of the power of nature and the potential of using natural dye sources to achieve a beautiful result.

'A really important part of the project was the idea of sharing plant information and dye recipes, both with the rest of the student body and with interested people outside of Cardiff Met. To achieve this goal, we decided to gather facts and insight through augmented reality software, to allow people to have an interactive experience with a real-world dye garden without having to be physically on site, which resulted in a permanent campus dye garden.

'The natural plant dye garden, as well as its augmented reality elements, is here to stay as a valuable resource. I’m also delighted to confirm that natural dyeing is now embedded into the degree curriculum here at Cardiff Met.'

Mattie O'Callaghan: Mushroom For All 

Image
people walking in urban park in raincoats

Mattie's 2022 project Mushroom For All was built around connecting the local people of Hoxton Community Garden in London to the importance of fungi in our lives and ecosystems. 

Mattie engaged local people through workshops about making and sensing fungi, sharing food, recipes, and stories, and linking the environmental aspects of fungi with cultural connections.

Read more about what Mattie had to say about the project.

Rahul Goel: Wildflower Wonders

 

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wildflowers in a pot on a balcony

 

For his Grow Wild Youth Project in 2022, Rahul brought the community together to grow wildflowers on his university campus.

He also completed Kew’s Young Environmental Leader Award. 

Read more about Rahul's experience of the project. 

London Grows Wild Together

In September 2021, we teamed up with our partner 70 St. Mary Axe to showcase Grow Wild youth and community projects in an exhibition titled London Grows Wild Together. The breadth and diversity of work created was astounding, transforming neglected spaces, bringing communities together, and exploring the untold stories of UK native plants and fungi. Read more about the exhibition and the projects that were showcased in our blog 

Blog

London Grows Wild Together Exhibition

| By Ellen Rowland

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