A woman, man and a boy planting a tree. photo: Saya Rose Naruse

‘They who plant a tree, plant hope’ (2023)

Healing, hope, community and the power of nature

They who plant a tree, plant hope consisted of three tree planting events which took place in Newcastle and Northumberland to mark the valuable contribution that refugees and migrants have made in our communities across time. The events were attended by residents, refugee support organisations and community groups and were based at significant sites including a long-standing ancestral home, one of Newcastle’s newest community orchards and Newcastle University.

A group of people standing behind a newly planted tree. photo: Saya Rose Naruse

Trees are seen in many cultures as symbols of wisdom, growth, and healing, as well as ecological and mental wellbeing, and as being important contributors to communities bringing materials for comfort, food, building, and clean air.

Planting trees of sanctuary marks the journeys travelled by plants and people, and how both put down roots in their new homes, bearing fruit, bringing beauty and becoming welcome and familiar members of our ecologies, cultures and communities.

The project was part of the Refugee Week 2022, the theme of which was ‘healing’.

Locations where tree planting took place:

  • Howick Hall arboretum ‘United Nations of Trees’, home of the UK’s largest collection of wild origin plants – Indian Horse Chestnut tree.
  • Jesmond Community Orchard - a fig tree, grown by Ali Reza Iravani, an Iranian gardener.
  • Newcastle University in partnership with North East Solidarity and Teaching (N.E.S.T), planted a tree to commemorate its becoming a University of Sanctuary – a fig tree.

Project was carried out in partnership with N.E.S.T - North East Solidarity and Teaching.

Shovels standing next to a newly planted tree while people are walking away in a distance. photo: Saya Rose Naruse
A man and a child watering a young tree. photo: Saya Rose Naruse
A woman carrying a young tree in a cloth bag. photo: Saya Rose Naruse
website by Arto Polus