A small team of artists and ecologists taking to the streets, on bicycles in Liverpool visiting brownfield sites – unmanaged pockets of land where nature is taking root.

From 18 August – 28 October I will explore 100 miles of Liverpool – by bike.  This project, Counterculture Nature, a part of Our Liverpool Landscape will see me, a small team of artists and ecologists taking to the streets, on bicycles.  With a tree on our bike racks we’ll be hunting out brownfield sites – unmanaged pockets of land where nature is taking root  – and assessing the land based on its value or significance for experiencing nature. 

I believe brownfields have great value when it comes to experiencing, and learning about, nature.  Growing up as a feral child, muddying my knees in brownfield sites, I experienced the wonders of wild and untamed nature.  This shaped a lasting fascination, especially with nature found amid an urban landscape.  For me, a shoot sprouting forth through tarmac is as awesome as ancient woodland.

Does not look much from the outside
Does not look much from the outside
but the gates are hiding wonderful ‘brownfield’ spaces that could be utilised by the communities around them
But the gates are hiding wonderful ‘brownfield’ spaces that could be utilised by the communities around them

Furthermore, city brownfield sites are micro ecosystems, burgeoning with life, and doing all manner of things that support us, like cleaning our air.  Brownfield trees and plants suck in CO2 and, in return, give out oxygen. So, with enough vegetation on a brownfield site it becomes a green lung for the city – for us. How cool is that?

They’re not simply empty spaces awaiting redevelopment; they’re life supporting and wonder-lands. But, how many are there in Liverpool? And how accessible are they?   This is what we’ll set out to assess in a six week cycling expedition to discover Counterculture Nature around the city, and around Princes Park, Everton Park, and Springfield Park.  Every time a brownfield site is discovered, it will be assessed and plotted on a map.

Brownfield sites can be used for many things, including sunbathing
Brownfield sites can be used for many things, including sunbathing

 

If you know of any brownfield sites you can list them below or tweet me tweet me @kerrymmorrison

You can spot me or my team as we cycle around Liverpool- we’ll have trees attached to our bicycles! Conversations are welcome, nay, encouraged.  Time will always be given to chatting: sharing knowledge and experiences about art, creativity, aesthetics; and ecology, urban nature, green infrastructure, biodiversity and ecosystems.

Look out for me and my team on our tree bicycles throughout August
Look out for me and my team on our tree bicycles throughout August

We can talk about:

What connects a person and a slug, or, me and a cloud?
Or:
What is the connection between a schoolteacher and a seagull?
Or, you may want to ask:
Why have you got a tree on the back of your bike?

If you see us, come and say hello.

Kerry Morrison is an environment artist commissioned by Tate Liverpool to contribute to Our Liverpool Landscape: From Turner to Today a series of outdoor events inspired by Tate Liverpool’s summer exhibition, Turner Monet Twombly: Later Paintings .