The Taking Root Exhibition

Paintings of flowers hanging on a white wall
Detail of the Taking Root exhibition, image credit Janette Robinson

Gardens are full of plants that have travelled across the globe. Some were collected by explorers as they discovered new lands, some were brought by merchants trading exotic treasures from afar. It takes a rich variety of plants to make the perfect garden – full of colour, scent, shape and texture.  

People have travelled too, from across the globe, enriching the places we live with different cultures and traditions, knowledge and life experiences.  

Members of Feels Like Home come from all over the world. In the Taking Root project they have worked with artists and poets at Wentworth Castle Gardens to explore their personal journeys through the national flowers of their countries of origin, flowers that have made the journey here too.  

Wentworth Castle Gardens contains plants from around the world, collected over centuries and now enjoyed by everyone who visits the formal gardens.  

Louise Lane, award winning botanical artist, created the beautiful flower illustrations whilst award winning poet, Andrew McMillan, shared writing skills with the group.  


I belong to a blue and beautiful ocean 

The tree belongs to nature 

You belong to the magic and beautiful song 

The flower belongs to the earth 

The sky belongs to incredible nature 

Life doesn’t belong to any of us 

Barnsley belongs to England and is a small piece of the world 

When I feel at peace, I know I belong to the world 

By Ann Fuentes

Barnsley Feels Like Home delivered a creative writing workshop for 10 ESOL students from Barnsley College. The workshop was followed by a celebration event for the Taking Root exhibition, where members of the group read poems and spoke about their contribution to the exhibition.  

The exhibition also captures Barnsley’s ‘Feels Like Home’ group welcoming Little Amal, a giant puppet of a young Syrian refugee girl, to the gardens.  The group created costumes, flags and poetry to celebrate Amal’s visit, sharing their own experiences of journey and belonging.   

 As well as creating poetry and costumes, ‘Feels Like Home’ worked with international artist Maryam Samaan to contribute objects to her art installation, the Rope of Hope. The Rope reflected Amal’s impressions and memories during her journey, incorporating the experiences of community groups wherever Amal had travelled.  

The Taking Root exhibition is on display in the Long Barn café and second-hand bookshop at Wentworth Castle Gardens from March – December 2022, touring to Northern College, Barnsley in 2023.   

Feels Like Home meet every week at the Experience Barnsley Museum. The group is for anyone new to Barnsley for whom English is not their first language. It welcomes everyone through sharing cultural experiences. Members of Feels Like Home are all keen to understand the culture and traditions of the UK and of Barnsley in particular. 

Feels Like Home is an ongoing project delivered by Barnsley Museums in partnership with Barnsley Refugee Council, funded by Arts Council England. The Taking Root project was funded by a Tackling Inequality Hallmark Grant from the Association for Independent Museums. Andrew McMillan’s poetry workshops were funded by Platforma.