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The ‘greening’ of the York Festival of Ideas

Posted on 15 June 2011

An ‘Island of Green’ made from real grass will provide an organic sensory space in The Ron Cooke Hub at the University of York as part the first York Festival of Ideas.

Created from Event Turf, the living grass carpet will be open to the public from 16 to 24 June alongside the exhibition of John Minihan’s striking photographs of playwright Samuel Beckett.

Based on the themes of ‘Beckett, the Body and the Bible’, the Festival brings together a range of world-class speakers, exhibitions, and artistic performances exploring a series of intriguing links between past and present as well as showcasing contemporary ideas, arts and culture.

We want the Festival to capture people’s imagination and encourage new ideas to spring to life and flourish

Joan Concannon, Director of External Relations

Joan Concannon, Director of External Relations at the University of York said: “York is an incredibly exciting, vibrant and diverse city, rich in heritage, we want the Festival to capture people’s imagination and encourage new ideas to spring to life and flourish. The Island of Green is designed to provide a calm, sensory space providing the opportunity to step away from the ‘norm’, be inspired by the space and let their creative juices flow.”

Event Turf is a flexible soil-less ‘grass carpet’ growing in felt made from recycled British textiles. It has been used at many indoor and outdoor events and exhibitions and rolled up after use leaving no soil or mess. It has been used to create an indoor rugby pitch at The Grosvenor Hotel in London, make grass sofas for the National Trust and create a temporary ‘village green’ for a weekend in Trafalgar Square.

Stephen Fell, Managing Director of York-based Lindum Turf, the developers of Event Turf who are providing the ‘Island of Green’ for the Festival, said: “Grass is proven to reduce stress and calm the senses. We are thrilled to be creating the ‘Island of Green’ for the first Festival of Ideas. We hope that people will take off their shoes and socks to feel the grass beneath their feet, take in the smell and experience the effect it has on their mind, body and spirit, hopefully making an ideal space for creative thinking.”

John Minihan photographed Beckett many times in Paris and London, creating some of the most striking images of twentieth-century culture.

The Festival of Ideas is a partnership between the University of York, York Theatre Royal, The National Centre for Early Music and York Museums Trust. It aims to showcase contemporary ideas, arts and culture, and bring these ideas into conversation with the heritage of the City of York. It is anticipated that the events will appeal to people of all ages, including residents of York and its visitors.

To visit the island of Green and the John Minihan Photographic Exhibition see the York Festival of Ideas website.

Notes to editors:

  •  The Island of Green is created using EventTurf, a unique soil-less grass growing in a felt which can be rolled out like a carpet. Designed for use at indoor events, it has been kindly provided by York based Lindum Turf Ltd. For more information see or Tel: 01904 448675.

Contact details

David Garner
Senior Press Officer

Tel: +44 (0)1904 322153

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