I had the good fortune recently to be invited to give a presentation alongside furniture maker Sebastian Cox at the Make Good symposium hosted by the V&A museum.

The symposium, Make Good: Rethinking Material Futures, brought together a panel of speakers inviting the audience to consider how we can care for forests, and what forestry can teach us about circularity in design and architecture. The V&A’s Director Tristram Hunt opened the day with a speech about the museum’s sustainability aims, followed by thought-provoking talks by academics, architects, artists, and designers. There was time for a Q&A at the end of each talk and these generated animated conversations between audience members and speakers. The symposium was structured into four main sections: Plant, Care, Cut, and Make.

Under the theme of Care, I was asked to provide an introduction to forestry. I spoke about the challenges that forestry faces where the public are increasingly divorced from the natural world, and where inaccurate perceptions of forestry still linger. Also the challenges we face from the colossal volume of timber imported to the UK each year, the fact that huge amount of our forests remained unmanaged, and how difficult it is proving to be in reaching an aim to increase woodland cover (the UK is the second-least wooded country in Europe – read more). It was a privilege sharing the stage with Sebastian Cox, who not only makes with home-grown timber, adopting a ‘nature-first perspective’, but also manages his own woodland site.

Read more about the Make Good symposium and other resources on the V&A blog.

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