National Trust Keswick Team Hosts First Online Talk

On Thursday 4thMarch the National Trust team in Keswick hosted its first public event online. The free event heard writers Wallace Heim and Maya Chowdhry read from their work and then discuss themes of art, ecology, climate justice and land access with artist Rebecca Beinart, including questions and a group discussion from online participants.

The event, titled Slippery Time and Other-Than-Human Perspectives was part of an ongoing place-based art project led by artist Rebecca Beinart at Crow Park, Keswick, which has been protected for the nation by the National Trust since 1935.

The project is called Desire Lines and it explores the connections humans have with the natural world. Rebecca is working with local people to get to know Crow Park from lots of different perspectives. She'll be asking how a special connection with a local green space can influence the way people think about global issues of climate change, ecology and access.

Jessie Binns, who is co-ordinating the project for the National Trust, said, “Online talks may sound old-hat after a year of lockdowns and everything going online from choirs to yoga, but we’re really excited to have hosted our first public event online. In a time where we can’t hold face to face events, it’s a new way of engaging with the communities who live beside the places we care for on behalf of the nation and we had some fascinating discussions. We’re really grateful to Rebecca, Wallace and Maya, and for the funding from the Arts Council for making it possible and for providing such a rich and stimulating evening.”

28 people attended the online event, which is being followed up by a series of 3 free online creative writing workshops led by Rebecca Beinart and Wallace Heim.

Rebecca Beinart said “This discussion was an opportunity to explore ideas that are central to Desire Lines within a wider conversation. It was a pleasure to hear Wallace and Maya share their writing and thinking, and to have a really engaged conversation with everyone who came along.There was a lively discussion on the tensions between change and conservation, how we can care for damaged places as well as ‘pristine’ environments, and the entanglement humans have with the more-than-human world. We talked about the difficulty of imagining from a different perspective and how much can be learnt from paying close attention to the natural world.”

A local resident who took part said “[I]realised that these ways of thinking about the landscape (and discussing it) are occurring locally. For me to usually access these types of discussions, it's through academia or arts organisations at a broader scale.”

The project is part of Trust New Art, the National Trust’s programme of contemporary arts, supported with public funding by Arts Council England.

Local residents can find out more about the project at and the artist is planning to make a recording of the talk available on the project website in coming weeks.

The UNESCO plaque in Crow Park
UNESCO Plaque, Crow Park ©National Trust Images / Chee Wai Lee