Please note that during this national moment of mourning all programming for PoliNations has been paused until further notice. The PoliNations garden will remain open to the public as a place of reflection and contemplation. We will update our website with further information as soon as possible.

PoliNations invites you to step into a city-centre forest garden of magical proportions where you will be welcomed by an epic array of colour and nature.

Giant architectural trees drink rainwater as the forest garden plays host to a vibrant and spectacular free events programme situated in an oasis of thousands of plants and flowers co-planted by the city’s residents. 

This super-natural wonderland uncovers the origin stories of the plants we know so well, in a celebration of colour, beauty, and natural diversity. 

The entire PoliNations programme is free to enjoy and everyone is invited!

8AM - 8.10AM | Sound & Light | The Awakening

Early risers are invited to stretch and welcome in the day or sit under a tree as the forest wakes up.

Influenced by the sounds of nature, an original piece by Composer and Co-creator Max Perryment and Olivier Award winning and PoliNations Sound Designer Tom Gibbons, will gently awaken the super garden, hailing the start of a new day, every day. Take a seat, take a breath, or walk a little slower through the flowers, under the trees and out into your day.

Every day, you can also join us among the flowers and trees for a free guided session of Yoga, Meditation and Gong baths led by local teachers. Bring your practice to Polinations, wrapping nature into your sessions as you awaken with the super garden. Meditation is always welcome in the super garden, so even if you're not part of a class, feel free to take a moment among the trees.

8AM - 10PM | Everything | Contains Strong Language: Poetry and Performance Festival

We are so hyped to be partnering with the BBC’s annual poetry and spoken word festival Contains Strong Language at PoliNations this year!

Presenting poetry in all its forms from some of the finest existing and emerging talent from Birmingham and beyond, this year's highlights include White Juju - a live music performance written in response to the Black Lives Matter movement, Black British History and lockdown by award-winning saxophonist, composer and rapper Soweto Kinch (Fri 9 Sept), PLOT17 - an interactive performance using spoken word, lyrics, visuals and DJ-ing for ages 7-11  presented by Apples & Snakes, Dancing To Music You Hate - an explosive performance by the award-winning spoken word artist Jasmine Gardosi blurring the boundaries of gender and musical genre alike, INDIA/UK Exchange Poets Land at PoliNations exploring the queer experience in two very different countries, plus free workshops - from exploring the power of animation with Calling The Shots plus a very special reading for the best collection of nature and ecopoetry at the Laurel Prize Reading!

BSL will be available across the CSL programme - the exact schedule will be confirmed soon.

Verve is Birmingham's annual poetry festival and the local partner for CSL 2022. Discover what else is on at Contains Strong Language this year:

8AM - 9AM | Activity | Gong Bath

Calm. Peace. Stillness, Space. This is some of what you can expect in The Awakening practices with Manoj taking place at PoliNations. In every session, to start the new day, be guided on a special meditation accompanied by an original piece, to lay the foundations for a practice consisting of breathwork, yoga and gong, depending on the day you visit. Each session will be different with time and space given to use the surroundings to deepen our experience. 

All practices will be accessible to all levels and abilities for every body. Classes will be themed around celebrating who we are and those around us, as we seek to create stronger relationships with our own mind, body and soul.

8AM - 9PM | Everything | Iconic Plant Audio Tours

Put on some headphones and travel throughout the super garden in a zen like experience, as you listen to music and audio responses to our iconic plants, and found out how they came to be here.

You can choose to listen to the audio and music, or the music only channel.

Estimated time: 40mins – 1 hour

The Audio Tour features text by renowned author and environmentalist Jon Drori (author of bestseller "Around the World in 80 Trees") set to original music from cutting edge musicians and created by Olivier Award winning sound designer Tom Gibbons. Around each plant you’ll also find creative responses from award winning poets.

Follow this link for Jon Drori's full texts.

Writers: Romalyn Ante, Casey Bailey, Sujana Crawford, Olga Dermott-Bond, Isabel Galleymore, Sam J Grudgings, Emilie Lauren Jones, Roy McFarlane

Musicians: Tingying Dong, Meesha Fones, Petter Grevelius, Rakae Jamil, Fizz Margereson, My Panda Shall Fly, Sam Lee, Rosie Tee

Sound Design: Tom Gibbons

Audio Descriptions: Ask the Information Point for information on accessing Audio Descriptions of the sculptures through the headsets 

Braille: Identification panels are found at the signs by each of the Iconic Plants.

11AM - 11.30AM | Performance | Contains Stong Language: BBC Words First Reading | Mother Tree Stage

In association with BBC 1Xtra, BBC Contains Strong Language presents the Words First Reading, celebrating the most talented poets and spoken word artists aged 18-30 from across the UK. Voices past and present will appear as special guests at the reading including 2022’s scheme finalists, hosted by Bohdan Piasecki. 

11AM - 12PM | Activity | Tuk Tuk Chaiwallah

Enjoy a free cup of chai every day, whilst exploring the history of tea and its journey to the UK.

Thank you to our friends at Dishoom for taking us on this fascinating chai-filled journey!

1PM - 3PM | Workshop | Contains Strong Language: Animation Workshop with Calling The Shots | WonderSphere, Chamberlain Square

Aged 16-30?

Spoken word artist or poet?

Discover the creative impact of animation and explore ways to unleash the power of your words through visualisation.

You'll be introduced to animated poetry and use cut-out and collage techniques to create short animations. By the end of the workshop, you should be confident to start creating your own personal content to share online and add to your portfolios.

Led by animators Lily Mae Kroese and Ellie Land with help from finalists from the BBC Words First talent development scheme.

This event is part of a special programme of commissions by BBC Arts and Arts Council England's commission! It's free to attend, but you'll need to book your space in advance.

1PM - 2PM | Performance | Contains Strong Language: Across Borders Poets land at PoliNations | Mother Tree Stage

Contains Strong Languages' Across Borders project, in partnership with Birmingham 2022 Festival, connected poets across the Commonwealth. Here the poets ask important questions: what should we learn from each other? What can we share?

Join six of our writers sharing their experiences and favourite new poems from the anthology. With Shivanee Ramlochan (Trinidad), Nick Makoha (UK), Ellen Van Neerven (Australia), Efe Paul Azino (Kenya), Dzifa Benson (UK), Njeri Wangari (Nigeria). 

Hosted by Bohdan Piasecki. This event is part of a special programme of commissions by BBC Arts and Arts Council England's commission!

3PM - 4PM | Activity | Into the Garden

There are over 5,000 trees, flowers and plants in the PoliNations super garden!

Head Gardeners from The Birmingham Botanical Gardens are here to get you better acquainted with our plants - where they come from, how they came to our shores and what stories they tell.

Whether you are an avid gardener with an eye for biodiversity, or a plant notive who is keen to find out more - these free tours are a great way to learn about our super garden!

3PM - 4PM | Activity | Tuk Tuk Chaiwallah

Enjoy a free cup of chai every day, whilst exploring the history of tea and its journey to the UK.

Thank you to our friends at Dishoom for taking us on this fascinating chai-filled journey!

7PM - 7.30PM | Performance | Contains Strong Language: Premiere of BBC Words First Animations

Come and join the finalists of the BBC Words First talent development scheme for young spoken word artists as they perform their poems live to specially commissioned films by emerging animators.

The Poets are Annaliese Broughton, Billie Meredith, Charlie Staunton, Eve Atkinson, Indira Toussaint and Nana Yaa Adu.

The Animators are Adelina Court, Gabriela Bran, Dan Smedley, Jess Mountfield and Inez Skilling. 

BBC Words First Animations are a Calling the Shots production for the BBC.

This event is part of a special programme commissioned by BBC Arts and Arts Council England. It's free to attend, but you'll need to book your space in advance.

8.10PM - 10PM | Performance | Contains Strong Language: Jasmine Gardosi; Dancing to Music You Hate (extracts)

Jasmine Gardosi is an award-winning spoken word poet, beatboxer and multiple slam champion of national and international renown. Prepare for an hour of explosive dubstep bass-lines and soaring folk violin which blow apart the boundaries of gender and musical genre alike.

This event is part of a special programme of commissions by BBC Arts and Arts Council England's commission!

7.32PM - 8.02PM | Sound & Light | Sunset Shift

Every day at dusk, our super will undergo a beautiful transition into night. Enjoy a mesmerising light show, nature-inspired soundscapes and ethereal performances, taking a moment to pause and reflect before moving into the evening's activities. The soundscapes centre around the ancient ritual musical instrument, the Bullroarer, and are developed and recorded by brass and percussion players from BCU’s Royal Birmingham Conservatoirepart of Birmingham City University in collaboration with PoliNations’ Sound Designer Tom Gibbons.

Website: and

Commissioned as part of UNBOXED: Creativity in the UK.

UNBOXED: Creativity in the UK is funded and supported by the UK Government, the Northern Ireland Executive, Scottish Government and  Welsh Government, and is co-commissioned with Belfast City Council, EventScotland and Creative Wales.