What is PoliNations?

About the
project

Did you know that around 80% of plants found in UK city-gardens originated overseas?*

PoliNations

Well it’s true! And it is from this remarkable statistic that the idea for PoliNations first took seed. PoliNations reflects on the UK’s complex histories surrounding migration and diversity whilst celebrating our differences, our roots, and our future, and emphasising the importance of access to green spaces and a healthy planet.

Step into a spectacular city-centre garden of magical proportions where you will be welcomed by an epic array of colour and nature.  

Giant architectural trees and thousands of plants transformed Victoria Square into an urban oasis, hosting free events, workshops and performances including live music, dance, spoken word and drag.

This supernatural wonderland uncovered the origin stories of the plants we know so well – daisies, pansies, apple trees, roses – in fact these, and most of the plants we see in our gardens are not from the UK. They tell the story of journeys, movement, dispersal, and new roots. 

PoliNations is a celebration of colour, beauty, and of natural diversity. Explore, enjoy and be your true unique self. You can experience music from around the world, an incredible light show, and a grand finale like no other where the tree’s canopies will burst into a joyful cloud of confetti and colour.  

This is Carnival and Holi combined in one brilliant, messy, playful party and everyone is invited. 

Find out more about the inspiration behind PoliNations here!

*Statistic taken from a study by Professor Jane Memmott, Professor of Ecology at Bristol University and President of the British Ecological Society, and colleagues.

Poli Nations, Created and Produced by Trigger. Photo   Katja Ogrin (1)

About Trigger

Trigger

Trigger are shapeshifting creatives who dream-up, create and produce bold and brave live and digital events. They interrupt daily life, reimagine and revive public spaces, and put audiences and togetherness at the heart of everything they do. Their work is accessible, inclusive and boundary pushing, and is often large-scale and often outdoors. They create epic, imaginative spaces, fly giant dragons and care for their community.

Trigger created the worlds first flying puppet, ‘The Hatchling. In 2022, The Hatchling lead the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee Pageant's cultural celebrations on the Mall, outside Buckingham Palace. 

Trigger are excited to be breaking the boundaries of the traditional R&D process with a radical new digital process that will connect creatives from across the globe to unpack the tangled history ofbotany, plant uses and ownership in GROW! 

The Team

PoliNations is produced and led by the Bristol based arts organisation Trigger, and a collective of creatives and experts in horticulture, arts, science, and architecture.

Concept Creative Team
Angie Bual Headshot
Angie Bual

Creative Director of PoliNations and Artistic Director of Trigger (The Hatchling, WithYou, Curio)

Carl Robertshaw Headshot
Carl Robertshaw

Multidisciplinary designer and artist (Björk, Ellie Goulding, London 2012 Olympics Opening and Closing Ceremonies)

THISS Studio Headshot
THISS Studio

Award-winning architecture, research and spatial design studio with a unique specialism in sustainable building, materials and landscape. 

Production Team
Format Engineers Headshot
Format Engineers

Engineering Designers (Sinking House Bath, Steampunk, Circadian)

Dock Street Events Headshot
Dock Street Events

Events specialists (MIF, Waltham Forest London Borough of Culture, GDIF, Hull UK City of Culture)

Associate Creative Team
Tom Gibbons Headshot
Tom Gibbons

Sound Designer

Matt Daw Headshot
Matt Daw

Light Designer (The xx, Sigur Rós, Björk)

Clary Salandy Headshot
Clary Salandy

Costume Designer and founder of Mahogany Carnival (Notting Hill Carnival, Millennium Dome Opening Ceremony)

Joey A Frenette, aka Bourgeoisie Headshot
Joey A Frenette, aka Bourgeoisie

Costume Designer (RuPaul’s Drag Race, The Hatchling)

Bronia Housman Headshot
Bronia Housman

Set and costume designer (Bristol Old Vic, Take That, Sadler’s Wells)

Chris and Toby Marchant Headshot
Chris and Toby Marchant

Horticultural designers (Contributors to RHS Chelsea Flower Show medal-winners, Hauser & Wirth Somerset, Royal Marsden Hospital)

Commissioned as part of UNBOXED: Creativity in the UK  and also presented as part of Birmingham 2022 Festival

UNBOXED: Creativity in the UK is a once-in-a-lifetime celebration of creativity, taking place across England, Northern Ireland, Scotland, Wales and online from March to October 2022.

We’re lifting the lid on 10 awe-inspiring new ideas, shaped across science, technology, engineering, the arts and mathematics by brilliant minds working in unexpected collaborations. Unmissable events and unforgettable experiences are coming to places and spaces right across the UK: from coastal towns and city centres to breathtaking areas of natural beauty.

You’ll be able to enjoy UNBOXED in person, on TV, on radio and online – entirely for free. And we want you to get involved in every part of this extraordinary year: diving into our UK-wide learning programmes, taking part in workshops and special events, even playing a central role in bringing one or more of these 10 astonishing projects to life.

Take a thrilling multimedia ride through 13.8 billion years of history in About Us, and get planting as Dandelion – reinvents the harvest festival for the 21st century. Unleash the limitless potential of the mind in Dreamachine, fast-forward three decades with GALWAD: a story from our future, and become one of 20,000 ‘Lumenators’ lighting up our wild and beautiful places in Green Space Dark Skies. You can explore the solar system right here on Earth in Our Place in Space, tour a magical forest garden in the heart of the city with PoliNations, and climb aboard a repurposed North Sea offshore platform in SEE MONSTER. StoryTrails is animating and amplifying the hidden histories of our towns and cities – while Tour de Moon is a major festival created in collaboration with our lunar satellite.

UNBOXED: Creativity in the UK is the biggest and most ambitious creative programme ever presented on these shores. It’s funded and supported by the four governments of the UK, and is co-commissioned with Belfast City Council, EventScotland and Creative Wales. Join millions for this landmark exploration of how creativity – our creativity – has the power to change the world.

For more details about the ten UNBOXED projects, please visit the website.

PoliNations and Trigger
Trigger, Unit 1.1 Streamline Building, Paintworks, Bristol BS4 3AS
Unboxed
Unboxed, Creativity in the UKCommissioned as part of UNBOXED: Creativity in the UK and also presented as part of Birmingham 2022 Festival
Funded by
HM Government
Northern Ireland Executive
Scottish Government Riaghaltas na h-Alba
Llywodraeth Cymru Welsh Government
Belfast City Council
EventScotland
Cymru Greadigol Creative Wales
Branding and website by Peter & Paul