Gallery Zero: INSTAR

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Gallery Zero is a platform for collectives of artists, creators, makers and agitators to develop practice and engage with audiences through the notion of collaboration. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Gallery Zero remains closed and our residency programme continues to be on hold. In light of this, we offered shortlisted residency applicants the opportunity to platform their work online. Over the next couple of the months, we’ll be uploading their submissions.

INSTAR is a Nottingham-based collective that looks create deeper connections to the natural world through interdisciplinary practice. The Subumbrellar, a commission for the Festival of Science and Curiosity, is a ‘spirited’ mechanical kinetic form, inspired by the biomechanics and beguiling gelatinous rhythm and motion of a swimming Jellyfish, Medusozoa. The artwork responds to the story of 700 million years of evolution and how the world's oldest swimming creature has utilised vortex technology to become one of earth's most recognisable and successful lifeforms.

A person on a hill in a yellow raincoat, a bagpack and holding a document.


Engaging with twenty pupils living in Sheffield, this project resulted in the co-production of ten bespoke art works of apparel, all directly inspired by the natural world and the direct experiences encountered when connecting and navigating Kinder Scout in the Peak District.

Culminating in a site-specific photoshoot in the Dark Peak, whereby students modelled their apparel whilst re-enacting artistically directed scenes of conservation work, navigation and landscape management. This multi-faceted project invites audiences to consider how inner-city young people connect to wilderness in contemporary Britain and questions the barriers and the opportunities this landscape offers.

Part of National Trust ‘People’s Landscapes’ programme, funded through Trust New Art, National Trust and Arts Council England.

A series of neon posters across a wall.

Skate of Nature

A UV art installation curated by INSTAR for Light Night 2020 in Nottingham city centre. This temporary skate park, pasted with a mosaic of twenty unique INSTAR posters reflecting the outcomes of the State of Nature report 2019, symbolic of the power that young people have in influencing cultural and positive change of our urban centres, for people as well as for wildlife.

A selection of taxidermy on a red desk and behind on a shelf.

Thereby Hangs a Tail

Curated by INSTAR, with over thirty heritage specimens selected from one of the UK's largest natural history collections at Wollaton Hall, Nottingham, this exhibition connected audiences to the beauty and wonder of each individual exhibit but also to highlight the vulnerability and conservation concerns of each species on display. This image is of a practical taxidermy workshop area we created, for Chris Orgil, a leading restorer in taxidermy to share his expertise and his passion for the natural world as a naturalist and visual artist

A colourful patch which states "Nature Rocks!"

Spirit of Kinder patch / BE KINDER cultural Trail

As a creative response to the Spirit of Kinder annual event, and also to commemorate the Mass Trespass of Kinder Scout in 1932, its history and natural heritage, these colourful portable icons encapsulated the views and voices of over 80 local people living in and around Kinder Scout, focusing on the connections they have with its landscape, a commission for National Trust People’s Landscapes programme.

A limited-edition production of five bespoke back-pack patches themed around LOVE, ACCESS, VOICE, DISCOVERY and CARE were produced. They also featured as large-scale light boxes as a commission for the Be Kinder Trail curated by Jeremy Deller and Jarvis Cocker.

Two children looking at an exhibition about a bat. They are using a light to move around and see more.


Transforming an old stable block located below a highly populated long-eared bat roost into a temporary exhibition space. Bat was a curated and produced exhibition at Wollaton Hall by INSTAR, in collaboration with local and international scientists. Creating a spectrum of blues, audiences navigated the gallery from twilight into darkness, guided through an exploration of the nocturnal world and science of bats. The exhibition included long exposure photography and long exposure moving image, recording the dynamic and unique flight patterns of different species of bats, interactive sonic sculpture, specimens, skulls, digital media and graphic/historical illustration

We, INSTAR, Trish Evans and Nick Humphreys, create deeper connections to the natural world through interdisciplinary contemporary art. Based in Nottingham, UK our diverse portfolio of work is deeply rooted to the environment and natural world, spanning disciplines such as public/site-specific installation, sculpture, visual art, digital media (photography/moving image) and creative language.

Established in 2012 with the launch of our curated exhibition inspired by the science of bats, we have gone on to collaborate with local/international artists, ecologists, scientists, museums, galleries and local/national conservation organisations…. and pop stars! We have produced work across landscapes including uplands, woodlands, salt marshes and streets, as well as having curated and produced public programmes, exhibitions and cultural interpretive dialogues, all fuelled by our combined ambition to enliven and stimulate new and compelling kinships and connections to the natural world.

We lead on two local conservation projects: Swift Street, raising awareness and protecting swifts, with over thirty swift boxes now installed across three residential streets and wild-NG, a soon to be launched project which aims to replenish, connect and protect nature in Nottingham.

Our current projects and commissions include, ‘Infinity Forest’ public artwork for Essex County Council, ‘In nature nothing exists alone’ public artwork for National Trust, Northumberland, ‘RegeNEration’ commission for Museums BAIT, Northumberland, ‘Understory’ public artwork for Gedling Borough Council, ‘The Subumbrellar’ for Festival of Science and Curiosity and ‘Paper Trail Project’ for The National Forest.

INSTAR on Instagram

INSTAR on Facebook

Your support is vital

A small one-off or regular donation helps us present free exhibitions, events and education programmes across the city, up and down the UK, and around the world.