A Ghost Forest has arrived on the lawn of the Oxford University Museum of Natural History and the Pitt Rivers Museum.
Artist Angela Palmer’s ten great Ghanaian trees were unveiled to the sound of African drumming at a ceremony on 9 July, and will remain on the lawn until 31 July 2011, after high-profile displays in London’s Trafalgar Square and Copenhagen last year.
Ghost Forest will become an open-air performance hub during its time in Oxford, which will see music, dance, theatre and story-telling events held among the trees.
Researchers and students are already using Ghost Forest as a ‘field laboratory’, and cross-disciplinary research workshops are planned for the next academic year, engaging academics across all four divisions and studying topics ranging from the trees themselves to visitors’ reactions. International Masters courses in environmental change and biodiversity will also make use of the year-long exhibition.
Ian Curtis of the Environmental Change Institute said: ‘It is fabulous to see the University playing host to another high profile and innovative green idea, hard on the heels of the Ark Project. Oxford – town and gown – is sitting on a goldmine of green economic and social opportunities. Ghost Forest’s provocative nature can help drive forward these opportunities before we lose out.'
Jim Kennedy, Director of the Oxford University Museum of Natural History, said: ‘The Museum of Natural History is pleased to host Angela Palmer’s impressive artwork on our front lawn during our 150th anniversary year. Ghost Forest’s environmental message is an important one, and the Museum will hold events alongside the exhibition throughout the year.’
Many University departments, centres and individuals have helped in bringing the exhibition to fruition, including Engineering Science, the Environmental Change Institute, the Oxford Centre for Tropical Forests, Plant Sciences and the Smith School of Enterprise and the Environment.
Ambassadors for the project include Sir David King, Director of the Smith School for Enterprise and the Environment; Professor Marcus du Sautoy, the Charles Simonyi Professor for the Public Understanding of Science; Frances Cairncross, Rector of Exeter College; and Dr George McGavin, honorary research associate at the Oxford University Museum of Natural History.