New poetry commission – Soil unsoiled

The Forest Of Dean Sculpture Trust has been proud to collaborate with Khady Gueye and Zakiya McKenzie over the last three months on a new commission, Soil unsoiled.


Khady Gueye

‘Soil unsoiled’ is a poem that explores themes drawn from the lived experience of Khady, a local resident and native of the Forest of Dean, and the racial inequalities that she has faced and witnessed. As the founder of the Local Equality Commission in the Forest, Khady works with rural communities to combat racial and economic inequality through supporting local initiatives, inspiring youth and bringing people together in order to enact fundamental change.







Zakiya McKenzie – Image © Adrian Sherratt

Working together with Bristol-based academic, broadcaster, nature-writer and poet Zakiya McKenzie, the pair have created a powerful, poetic work which will also feature sculptural elements and a film directed by Gloucestershire-based Rebecca Achieng Ajulu-Bushell.


Listen out for Khady and Zakiya talking about Soil Unsoiled, alongside Khady’s experience setting up the Local Equality Commission, on the BBC Radio 4 podcast The Untold.

Forest of Dean Sculpture Trust receives lifeline grant from Government’s £1.57 billion Culture Recovery Fund

Forest of Dean Sculpture Trust has been awarded £146,000 as part of the Government’s £1.57 billion Culture Recovery Fund (CRF) to help face the challenges of the coronavirus pandemic and to ensure they have a sustainable future, the Culture Secretary has announced today.

Forest of Dean Sculpture Trust is one of 588 cultural and creative organisations across the country receiving urgently needed support – with £76 million of investment announced today. This follows £257 million awarded earlier in the week to 1,385 organisations, also from the Culture Recovery Fund grants programme being administered by Arts Council England on behalf of the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport. Further rounds of funding in the cultural and heritage sector are due to be announced over the coming weeks.

The Forest of Dean Sculpture Trust is a charity founded in 1986. It works in partnership with Forestry England to commission new sculptures and runs community engagement projects and events inspired by the heritage and ecology of the Forest of Dean. Last year it unveiled a new permanent sculpture ‘Threshold” by artist Natasha Rosling and more recently has been working in partnership with Unlimited to support the research and development of artist Kristina Veasey.

Culture Secretary Oliver Dowden said: 

“This is more vital funding to protect cultural gems across the country, save jobs and prepare the arts to bounce back. Through Arts Council England we are delivering the biggest ever investment in the arts in record time. Hundreds of millions of pounds are already making their way to thousands of organisations.

“These awards build on our commitment to be here for culture in every part of the country.”

Chair, Arts Council England, Sir Nicholas Serota, said:

“Culture is an essential part of life across the country, helping to support people’s wellbeing through creativity and self-expression, bringing communities together, and fuelling our world class creative industries.

“This latest set of awards from the Culture Recovery Fund builds on those announced recently and will help hundreds of organisations to survive the next few months, ensuring that the cultural sector can bounce back after the crisis.  We will continue doing everything we can to support artists and cultural and creative organisations, with further funding to be announced in the coming weeks.”

Nick Bury, Chair of Forest of Dean Sculpture Trust said:

“We are delighted and grateful for this investment. The pandemic has led to some of our sculpture commissions and arts projects involving local young people to be postponed or cancelled, which was devastating for our hardworking team of staff and volunteers. The Forest of Dean Sculpture Trail is receiving record numbers of visitors as people are drawn to outdoor spaces to experience art and culture at a safe distance. This new grant comes at a vital time and will help us adapt our artistic programme and revamp our website.  We will be sharing news in the coming months of some of the exciting projects we have been developing behind the scenes”