Dunstable Downs takes centre stage in a short film celebrating the landscape and raising awareness about safeguarding it for future generations.
Local people can join in with Green Space Dark Skies by submitting their own ‘Green Space Stories’.
Green Space Dark Skies is led by Walk the Plank and commissioned by UNBOXED: Creativity in the UK, the ground-breaking UK-wide celebration of creativity in 2022.
This new short film is free online to view and celebrates the unique, one-off gathering that took place on Friday 15 July at Dunstable Downs in the Chilterns Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB). People from near and far became Lumenators for the secret gathering with local artists creating music, dance and poetry, especially for the event.
Carrying a low-impact Geolight specially developed with Siemens, Lumenators helped to celebrate nature and everyone’s right to explore the countryside. The Geolights have built-in GPS technology that enables the creation of changing patterns in the landscape.
The Dunstable Downs film is available to watch here.
Join in with Green Space Stories
Green Space Dark Skies has been designed to draw attention to how we safeguard the future of our countryside and our rights to access it. The Dunstable Downs event was part of a series being made at rural locations across the UK. And there are still opportunities for people to get involved by submitting their experiences and memories of being in the landscape with Green Space Stories.
Sharing a story helps to create a snapshot of people’s relationships with nature in 2022. Thousands of stories are being gathered in an online archive that anyone can access to understand our connection with the landscape. Everyone is welcome to share a story.
The gathering of around 600 people was made up of locals, community groups and people from around the UK. It began with a picnic for the Lumenators who were serenaded by five Dhol Drummers arriving out of a giant Dhol drum. An Odissi dance ensemble presented a rare treat with dance performances in beautiful costumes from Luton-based dance and music company KADAM. Workshops took place with Lumenators creating butterfly-shaped kites inspired by the rare Chalk Hill Blue butterfly which can be spotted on Dunstable Downs.
The narrative of the gathering was created by local playwright Teresa Burns who was inspired by her experience of going to the Downs with her father. She writes: ‘We arrived at the Downs to the birdsong from Skylark Meadow where the wind howls hello, grasshoppers chirp and butterflies sigh and at 797 feet, this is the closest I’d ever been to the sky.’
Green Space Dark Skies is one of ten commissions from UNBOXED developed with expert teams built around STEAM: Science, Technology Engineering, Arts, and Maths.
Martin Green CBE, Chief Creative Officer of UNBOXED: Creativity in the UK said: ‘Green Space Dark Skies perfectly demonstrates the innovation and creativity we have seen harnessed through the development of the ten UNBOXED projects to explore new ideas for a better future. By engaging artists, engineers, landowners and members of the public to create a series of unique experiences, Green Space Dark Skies will both enhance people’s understanding of our natural environment and relationship to the countryside as well as show the power of creativity to inspire change.’
The Green Space Dark Skies journey continues across the UK until September. Everyone is welcome to become a Lumenator and share their landscape memories with the Green Space Stories citizen science project.