The Imagine Bamboo Summit is a free outdoor celebration in an award-winning, Ladywood park, produced by Imagineer and led by independent Artistic Director Orit Azaz, in collaboration with Atelier One, BambooU (Bali), Rhizome Design (India), Ghana Bamboo Bikes and Nofit State Circus. Taking place from 1 – 4 July, the Imagine Bamboo Summit is presented by the Birmingham 2022 Festival.

The weekend invites the people of Birmingham and beyond to join in with a unique creative experiment and exploration of what extraordinary structures, stories and circus performance can be built, made and imagined with UK-grown bamboo – widely held to be one of the most sustainable materials on the planet. 

The Imagine Bamboo Summit is an epic international adventure, bringing together artists, craftspeople, growers and communities from the UK, India, Ghana and Bali, alongside performers and engineers from Nofit State, the UK’s leading contemporary circus theatre company.

Orit Azaz, Artistic Director of Imagine Bamboo said: “Over the last two years we’ve been collaborating with people nationally and internationally to explore the potential of bamboo as an inspiring material bringing people together in new ways, continuing the work begun through Bridge 2019-21.

“Bamboo grows across the globe, including in the UK and Europe, and is widely held by a growing network of engineers, architects and activists to be ‘the future sustainable building material for the planet’. It’s hugely exciting to collaborate with specialists from across the world and so many different backgrounds to exchange skills and ideas and create beautiful strong lightweight structures at a variety of scales. We look forward to sharing our discoveries and inviting more people to get involved at the Imagine Bamboo Summit.”

The connections through Imagine Bamboo, with the support of British Council, Birmingham 2022 Festival and Arts Council England, developed over the last two years – as a result of the pandemic, across the world, people had to find new ways of working online and this created new opportunities to connect with people from different countries, disciplines and walks of life.

Imagine Bamboo led a virtual creative exchange lab bringing together designers, engineers and craftspeople from bamboo growing countries to exchange skills with UK based creatives. After 18 months of working together online the Imagine Bamboo Summit will bring these international collaborators together in person, as well as inviting Birmingham residents to join in with the bamboo adventure.

Louisa Davies, Senior Producer for Birmingham 2022 Festival said, “Birmingham 2022 will be the first Commonwealth Games to create a carbon neutral legacy, so it is fitting that Birmingham 2022 Festival includes a number of projects that foreground nature and sustainability. Birmingham is truly a city of nature; home to 3,500 hectares of parkland, with plant life springing up in post-industrial spaces, as they rewild.  This incredible project connects experts in India, Ghana and Bali with creatives and communities in Birmingham to exchange skills and stories on an equal platform and lay the foundations for continued collaboration around the use of bamboo as a sustainable building material.”

Full programme details will be available via imagine-bamboo.co.uk from mid-June and will include talks, workshops and bamboo makes. The programme will include:

Friday: Imagineer and their international collaborators BambooU from Bali; Rhizome Design from India; and Ghana Bamboo Bikes come together with structural engineer Neil Thomas /Atelier One and UK artist/carpenters/makers, trained as part of the project, to begin building large and small scale structures from UK grown borinda bamboo, supplied by expert bamboo nurseryman Michael Brisbane from his plantation in Shropshire and a network of fellow bamboo growers across the UK.

Saturday and Sunday: the bamboo build continues creating the backdrop for a pop up outdoor festival with: bamboo structures being built and rebuilt throughout the weekend, family friendly design and making in a Bamboo Making Tent; pop up circus structures and performances created with Nofit State; family friendly structures for visitors to play within built by ARUP; bamboo bike building demonstrations; a Taking Root planting ceremony led by artist Ling Tan planting baby bamboo plants nurtured by UK partners Appetite Stoke and Liverpool City Region Culture; and accessible conversation events co-hosted with Imagine Bamboo partners and collaborators.

Monday: The event concludes with a Monday Morning Meeting Like No Other, a half day symposium for construction industry representatives hosted by Mayor of West Midlands Combined Authority, Andy Street, amongst the structures created by experts and the public over the course of the Summit weekend. At this meeting guests will consider the scale of the climate crisis and how best to embed sustainable practice and design into the construction industry to make liveable cities and neighbourhoods.

Imagine Bamboo is funded by Arts Council England, National Lottery Heritage Fund and the British Council.

Keep an eye on Imagineer’s social platforms for regular updates:

Twitter - @ImagineerUK
Facebook- @imagineerprod
Instagram - @imagineeruk
#ImagineBamboo

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