This is the second year of the conference, it was fantastic last year and has now grown into a 2 day event packed full of workshops, talks, discussions and so many amazing ways of sharing ideas; the delegates came from across the UK with some international presence too and the ideas were flowing all over with such excitement.
I was really delighted to be running sessions this year, as well as attending the whole conference, it was a deeply immersive experience and the layers of inspiration run deep. I camped at the venue along with a few other participants, which enabled us to cook our meals outside as we watched dusk set in and continued to discuss so many aspects of creativity outside. The 20 minute walk down the hillside to the beach is an added bonus and enabled us to be sat on the sand watching the sun sink below the horizon as we unpicked our ideas and thoughts around the millions of ways connections with nature encourage creativity, calm, learning and ignite curiosity.
I ran sessions which were a bit of a whistle-stop tour of exploring ways of working with clay outside and of working with natural materials to generate colours; the participants were wonderful with their ideas and enthusiasm and warm energy as we explored lots of different things. It left me buzzing with further ideas and being able to share thoughts about ways of working creatively outside with groups feels very important. It feeds deeply into all the long term groups I'm working with in Nottingham and Derbyshire.
I was able to participate in so many sessions, discussions and listen to talks, its such a vital thing to have time to do this, it reinforces so much and ignites so many ideas. Meeting and listening to Niki Buchan speak was wonderful, she'd travelled in from Australia to talk with a wealth of knowledge and examples of outdoor education from across the world. We were all transfixed. The fantastic Gill Mulholland from The Eden Project ran brilliant sessions on using the outside to ignite stories and poems and so much more, I also learnt to make pewter casts over an open fire, something I've wanted to have a go at for ages, the really lovely Lisa Chell ran a great session on this. Phil Waters ran a wonderful storytelling quest with the entire set of delegates and there was so much more going on, its hard to know where to start to digest it all!
The venue is the deeply inspirational Mount Pleasant Eco Park which holds unexpected delights at every turn - worth a visit just to see everything that's being developed there.
The conference is organised by the wonderful Niki Willows an outdoor play specialist and Martin Besford of Highway Farm (again, one of the most inspirational educational settings I've visited in the UK).
Details of next years conference are here: https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/inspirational-outdoors-2019-cornwalls-outdoor-play-learning-conference-tickets-47063722862?aff=erelexpmlt
HUGE THANKS for the photographs below, I was too busy to take many images this year, so most of the images below were taken either by Martin Scull for the conference or by Simon Turk of Treecreepers which I am incredibly grateful for.