​'How can I still facilitate participatory art when we’re self isolated, socially distanced and can’t touch what anyone else has touched?'

Wishing trees is a series of 4 participatory art installations 'planted' outside in public spaces in Bristol during the first Covid 19 lockdown in England. On account of the prevalent contamination anxiety, I couldn't leave materials for participants to add so instead, passers-by were invited to bring something to tie to the tree next time they walked that way. There was a wonderful range of responses both physically and virtually, as many people sent messages via social media for me to add to the installations. There were also some complaints.

It seems that it was still possible to facilitate participatory art, even during the Covid-19 lockdown.

Here are a couple of videos of me talking about the Wishing trees. I stopped in the middle to talk to some visitors!

For full documentation of the first months of this project please read Wishing trees; participation in isolation, 2020. For more images, videos and details of the research, development and ideas behind this work, please visit Wishing trees on my MA Research website and Wishing trees, Exhibitions on this website

It's also documented on my Instagram account for participatory art,  @socialengagement and there are more videos @loubaker2231 on YouTube.

The first Wishing tree was set up on 24.3.2020 outside my house and the other three in the following couple of weeks.

The Wishing trees outside my house and on the Downs were de-installed on 1.11.2020.  The last Wishing tree, on Horfield Common was unravelled in February 2021. I'm not sure when when the Purdown tree was de-installed, as someone else did it, without my knowledge! 

During the first lockdown in England, I submitted Wishing trees for one of my MA modules, along with some images of my first hand knitted Body cocoon as part of a piece I called Self and Other

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