Primary/Bristol: Dolphin Primary School

Sophie Mason, 'Stick Coat' (Ritual object used for connecting with wildness in cities).


Dolphin Primary School is part of Bristol City Council’s Primary/Bristol series of artist commissions for primary schools commissioned as part of the Primary Capital Education Programme. As part of the development artist Sophie Mason and landscape architect Simon Brown have been commissioned by Willis Newson to develop concepts and designs for an outdoor roof garden as part of this newly built primary school.


Built from recycled materials with support from community and parent volunteers, nature ecology and sustainability are at the heart of the garden concept. Raised beds will provide opportunities for children to grow food which will be cooked in the school kitchen. A willow nook, shaded pergola and outdoor work table will provide spaces for outdoor learning and play.

Sophie will work collaboratively with the children, teachers and community of Dolphin School to understand their desires and create a beautiful and ecological science garden that produces food, reduces waste, promotes biodiversity and explores rainwater harvesting.

The work is due to be installed in Spring 2017.

This project has been made possible through funding from Bristol City Council as part of the Primary Capital Education Programme.

Sophie Mason

Sophie Mason is an artist and urban grower dedicated to exploring creativity and nature in the urban environment. Through art, gardening and teaching she fosters connections of care between the self, the natural world and each other. Since completing a Masters in Fine Art Sophie has worked in collaboration and built on her solo practice, combining performance, installation, sculpture and drawing; to explore these themes.

Simon Brown

Simon Brown is a Landscape Architect and Anthropologist with a passion for imagining places of the future. He has worked in private practice in London, abroad in Ladakh, on the design of the prestigious Druk White Lotus School and is currently creating a design service - Landstory that is concerned with the regeneration and revitalisation of living systems.

Simon's purpose is to build local resilience and cultivate abundance whilst promoting a greater connection to the natural world.

Willis Newson

Willis Newson is a leading UK arts consultancy specialising in creative approaches to improving health and wellbeing.  It has particular expertise in public art commissioning and the design of health and social care environments. It creates positive, welcoming and engaging healthcare environments by integrating art into the architecture, landscape and interiors of hospitals, mental health, care homes and community buildings.

Established in 2001, the practice is based in Bristol and works across the UK. It encompasses a wide ranging set of skills and expertise to produce effective, appropriate and exciting arts programmes.

Centre for Contemporary Art and the Natural World

The Centre for Contemporary Art and the Natural World is promoting this commission within their Soil Culture programme of residencies, exhibitions and activities, part of the UN International Year of Soils 2015. CCANW aim is to use the Arts to give people a deeper understanding of their responsibilities within Nature. Now based at the University of Exeter, its programme during 2013-16 is called 'Soil Culture', part of the UN International Year of Soils 2015, and comprising artist residencies, exhibitions and activities.


  • Commissioner

    Bristol City Council, Dolphin School

  • Produced by

    Willis Newson

  • Partners

    Dolphin School, Willis Newson, AWW Architects, Centre for Contemporary Art and the Natural World, BCC

  • Supported by

    Dolphin School