On 7 October 2020, a talk was held and the publication was launched with Wideyed, programmed in collaboration with NEPN and the Northern Centre of Photography. With contributions by Jill Cole, Director of Northern Heartlands as well as Dr Menelaos Gkartzios, Reader in Planning and Rural Development from the Centre for Rural Economy at Newcastle University.
Agricultural shows have been part of British farming life for centuries. The smaller shows last for just one day while the largest cover a whole weekend, but all have in common contests for best livestock, cake, craft, owner and vegetable competitions. Whatever their size, these annual events are important meeting places for local communities, but they also attract participants and audiences from across surrounding regions, briefly drawing together urban and rural people in celebration of shared agrarian heritage.
Agri[Culture] began in 2018 with Wideyed photographers Lucy Carolan, Richard Glynn, Louise Taylor and Nat Wilkins collectively focussing on the annual agricultural shows taking place in the North Pennines area of England where they live. A version of their work was first exhibited in Wyoming and then toured back to its source, appearing at selected agricultural shows along the Allen, Tees and Wear dales during the 2019 season. The travelling exhibition combined contemporary photography with archive materials, and creative writing by members of the NorthPens Writers Group. It invited everyone to consider the culture of rural traditions by serving as a stimulus for conversations about our agri[cultural] identity and sense of place in past, present and future.
Agri[culture] – the book – celebrates the culmination of this 2 year project.