2019-20 Events

Silent Orchid Festival


Friday, 15 May 2020


12.00 - 16.00


Research and Cultural Collections Student Centre, 32 Pritchatts Road (G1 on campus map)


Free, no booking required

Do you have a windowsill in need of some decoration? Are you interested in growing orchids successfully?

Artist Matt Westbrook and world orchid authority Philip Seaton invite you to buy an orchid seedling and nurture it to full flower.

Visible on windowsills, desks and bookshelves, the plants will be accompanied by a set of hand-made vessels to form a sculptural trail across the campus. Chamberlain was a political cartoonist’s dream, and the props that appeared in many cartoons of him provide inspiration for the vessels. Created by students in ceramic workshops organised by Westbrook they will acquire new meaning and encourage discussion on Chamberlain’s political ideas from a contemporary viewpoint.

Grow kits will be available to purchase at the event for £25 each and include:
• A ceramic plant pot
• Growing material
• A copy of Philip Seaton’s bestselling Kew Growing book Growing Windowsill Orchids
• An orchid seedling grown by Philip Seaton at his Orchid seed lab in King Charles 1st School, Kidderminster. Plus a mature, in flower orchid for inspiration!*

The Silent Orchid Festival runs alongside Matt and Philip’s ongoing project, ‘Mr Chamberlain’s Orchids’, which stems from an artist residency at the University of Birmingham and aims to highlight the interconnected narratives between heritage, science and cultural histories. For more information visit mattwestbrook.co.uk

* It is currently intended that varieties of seedlings and in flower orchids will include Restrepia cuprea and/or Restrepia sanguinea, (subject to availability). Both of these are native to the Andes mountains in South America and are suitable for growing on windowsills in the UK. Restrepia cuprea is currently endangered in its natural habitat and is on the worldwide ‘Red list’ of extinction.