Opening hours Gallery: Wednesday to Sunday 12–5pm

The Body-Forest Closing Event

The Body-Forest Closing Event

Body-Forest Summer School (July 2022). Courtesy Spike Island, Heart of BS13, Jack Young and Rebecca Beinart



The closing event of The Body-Forest programme devised by Jack Young, recipient of the 2022 Spike Island Engagement Fellowship for South West-based Curators.

This event featured the launch of the Body-Forest Summer School’s new zine and podcast, and a workshop led by acclaimed Bristol-based writer and researcher Zakiya McKenzie.


  • Part One: Launch of the Body-Forest Summer School new zine and podcast (6pm)

    The Body-Forest summer school invited a group of young people from Hartcliffe Club for Young People and Heart of BS13 to explore the histories connecting Hartcliffe, Leigh Woods and the tobacco industry, and our relationship to the more-than-human world. The summer school was led by Jack Young, artist Rebecca Beinart and Kirsty Hammond of Heart of BS13.

    Part one of this event included performances and discussions by the young people involved in this project to officially launch the zine and podcast that they made as part of it.

  • Part Two: Workshop led by Zakiya McKenzie (7pm)

    In the second half of the evening, Zakiya McKenzie led a dynamic and lively session exploring creative ways to work from the gaps and silences in archives, drawing from her Rough Trade book Testimonies on the Histories of Jamaica. Testimonies is a piece of historical fiction exploring some of the environmental implications of Europe’s bloody colonisation of the Caribbean. Set in Jamaica but speaking to all of the Caribbean, it follows what happened to the land and the native people when the Spaniards occupied and the British invaded the island in 1655, leading to the erasure of Indigenous knowledge.

    The workshop invited participants to think critically and creatively about archives, investigate ways to reanimate forgotten stories, and how bringing such stories to life can act as a means of resistance to whitewashed colonial narratives. Attendees were given informal opportunities to share their ideas in small groups and contribute to the conversations throughout.

    Copies of Zakiya McKenzie’s book Testimonies on the History of Jamaica: Vol 1. were available to buy at this event. Emmeline Café was open throughout the evening.

The Body Forest

The Body-Forest is a programme of engagement activities and public events devised by Jack Young, recipient of the 2022 Spike Island Engagement Fellowship for South West-based Curators. The programme explores how thinking of the body as an interconnected ecosystem rather than as a machine – a metaphor developed under capitalism – might shift the way we think about our human connection to the world. Drawing on the work of biologists Pierre Sonigo and Shrese, among others, The Body-Forest includes participatory workshops, discussions, radical history walks, reading groups and more. The programme interrogates how the concept of the Body-Forest might de-centre the human, and change the way we think about time, language, desire and community in an age of overlapping social and ecological crises.

Jack Young

Jack Young is a writer and participatory artist living in Bristol. He writes experimental fiction and non-fiction with a focus on queer ecologies, and his hybrid chapbook URTH was published by Big White Shed in 2022. He co-hosts the literary podcast Tender Buttons in partnership with Storysmith bookshop in Bedminster. As an educator, he works with young people using arts-based critical pedagogy, with a particular emphasis on multilingual filmmaking, applied theatre and creative writing, to explore themes ranging from fabulist approaches to reanimating historical archives, to queer ecologies and speculative fiction. He has worked with schools and institutions in Barcelona, London and Bristol, including MACBA, Institut Broggi, the Royal Academy, Horniman Museum, Tate, Gasworks, Spike Island, UWE Bristol, Acta Theatre and Artspace Lifespace.

Zakiya McKenzie

Zakiya McKenzie is a PhD candidate at the University of Exeter researching the history of Black British journalism in the post-war period. In 2019 she was a writer-in-residence for Forestry England and in 2020 she wrote and recorded The Forest, for the BBC Radio 4 Night Vision podcast series, drawing parallels between the Blue Mountains of Jamaica and the Forest of Dean in Gloucestershire. Her 2021 historical fiction pamphlet Testimonies on the History of Jamaica Vol 1 (Rough Trade Books) presents an imaginary discourse among 16th and 17th century Jamaicans in rebuttal to Edward Long’s infamous polemic, The History of Jamaica (1774).


Heart of BS13 is a community action organisation based in Hartcliffe, South Bristol. They work across the life course, mobilising children, young people and adults towards better health. In a community where health inequalities impact significantly on life chances, they take action to challenge food insecurity, improve the environment and address physical and mental health concerns.


Rebecca Beinart an artist, educator and curator, based in Nottingham. She develops research-based, collaborative and site-based projects that evolve through long-term engagement with places and people. She makes sculpture, installation and performance, and uses live engagement and public dialogue to reflect on collective histories and futures, social and environmental justice, knowledge-making, and the politics of public space.


Kirsty Hammond is the Climate Action Lead at Heart os BS13, working across the BS13 community to support the production of a community climate action plan. Kirsty’s role is to support volunteers and participants to build skills and confidence as they start their climate journey. She has worked in the community for over 12 years in various development roles and is passionate about supporting people to reach their full potential by ensuring there are equal opportunities for them to access services.

Part of the West of England Visual Arts Alliance programme, supported by Arts Council England.