The sound of activity resonates throughout the walls of Harewood’s old Bothy and Walled Garden, where wartime flowers blossom and offer a place of healing and reflection
‘Seeds of Hope’ is a multi-sensory, immersive installation created by Lord Whitney for Harewood House, a stately home in a stunning part of Yorkshire. Filled with beautifully detailed sets and reflective soundscapes, audiences were guided on a journey through hidden spaces into the past, to another world.
Lord Whitney led a team of creatives including writer David Allison, sound designers Buffalo, and graphic designers Passport to bring to life reimagined real stories from 100 years ago. Necessity had won out over beauty and the country was coming to terms with the sacrifice and loss of WWI. In this work of fiction inspired by the real people and stories from Harewood’s past, Lord Whitney created an immersive experience that tells a story of life, community and spirit and ultimately finds a hope for a better future.
‘Seeds of Hope’ was conceptualised, designed and produced by Lord Whitney, alongside creative collaborators and a team of incredible gardeners and team at Harewood House. The experience took visitors on a journey across a large space within the grounds of the Harewood Estate – from old potting shed, into the Bothy and across the Walled Garden. Central to the experience is a journal; a beautifully designed, hand-illustrated guide around the spaces, written from the point of view of a young gardener during WWI.
Inside the bothy are two rooms – a dimly lit gardeners’ room and the head gardener’s office. Both offer audiences an atmospheric insight into what life could have been like 100 years ago. Layers upon layers of sound, smell, set and props give way to huge amounts of detail to allow for a real immersive take on this world of the past and reflect Lord Whitney’s unique methods of storytelling. The journey stretches across the gardens – showing not just the productivity but also the symbolism across a stunning ‘Peace Meadow’ and an installation created from 1269 sunflowers to represent the soldiers who were cared for at Harewood.
Lord Whitney’s immersive experience is a unique view of the events at Harewood House during and after World War One. With the aid of the Gardener Boys’ journal, I was guided via the day-to-day experiences of those who lived and laboured at Harewood House. Lord Whitney capture how, shifting out of the darkness of this time, the people as well as the land proved to be resilient, hopeful and strong.
Seeds of Hope was designed to use contemporary art to connect with heritage and invite new and existing audiences into unseen, unused spaces. The project pushes boundaries of bringing history to life by offering audiences and commissioners an opportunity to step away from traditional museum exhibitions and engage the viewer in a much more creative, meaningful way.