Trees A Crowd


Astrid Goldsmith: Puppets, politics, and The Wind in the Willows with extra Wombles

Season 1, Ep. 4

Astrid Goldsmith is an award-winning stop-motion animator. After tuition from Great Uncle Bulgaria and 12 years of hand-making models for other people - including Garth Jennings (for “The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy”), the boy band Blue and the unrelenting Duracell Bunny - she made her debut solo film, “Squirrel Island”. Astrid’s animations question the impact of human policy on the natural world, and her latest commissioned film, “Quarantine”, was nominated for the Debut Director Award at the Edinburgh TV Festival’s New Voice Awards. In this in-depth conversation, we talk grey squirrels vs. red squirrels, badgers as a focus for nationalism, how “good and bad” animals are an unfair human construct, and how anthropomorphic animation lends itself perfectly to deeper reflection about us and about our diverse ecosystem.

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Dr Helen Pheby: Sculpture for sheep, and rhubarb trains; the place ‘Extraordinary’ can happen

Season 2, Ep. 7
Dr Helen Pheby is the head of curatorial programmes at Yorkshire Sculpture Park. Set in 500 acres of historic parkland, the park has provided a “gallery without walls” for artists such as Elisabeth Frink, Auguste Rodin, Giuseppe Penone, and local legends such as Barbara Hepworth and Henry Moore. Helen has collaborated on projects in Iraqi Kurdistan, South Africa, India, and even Barnsley! Born in the so-called ‘rhubarb triangle’, Helen reminisces over “the rhubarb express”, a train which ran from her village in Yorkshire to London, and muses over how magical it was being able to see the contrast between rural and urban environments. In this insightful conversation, Helen explains how she believes creativity and art is a human right, how the YSP was visited by Henry VIII, and how another Henry, Henry Moore, believed it was the job of artists to show people the natural world and subsequently designed artwork for sheep. She explains how the Sculpture Park aims to be inclusive, free from the barriers of social standing, wealth and a gender imbalance that art is often associated with. Subsequently, the YSP is now home to brain-controlled helicopters, women on horseback steeplechasing through the landscapes of the First World War, and all of this second to the migratory routes of the Great Crested Newt. In her own words: “We are places the extraordinary can happen.” For more information on this podcast, including David's thoughts following this interview, head to: