PoliNations - A Birmingham festival of migration, diversity and green space

People who know me well know that I spend a fair proportion of my time in Birmingham.   I have grown (pun intended) to love this city and now regard it as not only England's second city but also my second city.  We have just about recovered from the huge excitement of the Commonwealth Games and now we have this wonderful new festival taking place in the heart of this wonderful city.

When I heard about the PoliNations project I knew had I had to find time to wander into town and see it.   I made sure I arrived early one morning so that I could get to Victoria Square and see this festival for myself before I had to be in the office.  
This project was 'germinated' from that statistic that 80% of plants in British gardens originate overseas.  The gardens and structures reflect on the similar diversity of our histories, diversity, migrations and roots.  It is also about the importance of nature and access to green spaces.
The planting is wonderful.  There is a lot of green.
There is colour.
There are places to sit.
and you see Birmingham set through the frames of the giant trees, which really are awesome structures.

On the morning I visited there had been a recent rain.  You could smell the earth where the plants were growing.  This was not petrichor (lovely as that is), this was warm, recently rained on, earth.  What a real change and treat from the usual scents of a city.
There were people sitting in the Square, there were people just being.  There were people doing yoga and there are many other events that will take place here in this green space.  This is usually quite a busy thoroughfare in the city, with people criss-crossing the square focussing on their destinations.  To have something that diverts the eye-line from the day to day to this moment of green is a joy and also very important.  When I was telling a colleague about it later in the day, they were keen to visit and said how we need more of these spaces.  There are green spaces in the city centre, but not enough.  This festival will sadly only be in place until Sunday 18th September so if you want to see it for yourself (do if you can) then you need to hurry up.  You can also take part through their website where you can create and grow 'your state of mind' and plant your own flower virtually.  Here is mine:
I originally went intending to just take a couple of photos for instagram, thinking it might be quite an interesting diversion to start my day.  Instead I came away feeling inspired.  The festival was created by a Bristol based arts organisation: Trigger who include Chris and Toby Marchant who are horticultual designers.  Trigger are to be congratulated for making this so special and Birmingham City Council should have a pat on the back for allowing it to take over Victoria Square.

Take care and be kind.

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