FIELD Photographer in Residence (Oct 2020 - Sept 2021)
Ruminations (text and image). Artists multiple handed out for free as part of the FIELD public events across the UK.
Ruminations (digital video). Featuring interviews with women and girls discussing their relationships to cattle on the Town Moor.
Westwood (digital video). Featuring an interview with Zowie Bell the Pasture Warden and first woman in 800 years to have that job.
Between October 2020 and Sept 2021 I was photographer in residence on FIELD an interdisciplinary research project which explored human relationships to farm animals.
My work focused on two areas of ancient common pastureland: The Town Moor in Newcastle and The Westwood in Beverley, East Yorkshire, focusing on women's voices in these traditionally patriarchal spaces. In both places grazing rights are held by hereditary freemen who have used the land, for at least 800 years. A change in legislation in 2010 allowed women to take up this right for the first time and in Beverley the Pasture Warden, Zowie Bell, is the first woman to ever hold this job.
My work brings together a series of interviews with women and girls reflecting on their interactions with cattle on the Town Moor and an interview with Zowie Bell describing her daily work caring for cattle and sheep on the Westwood with video and photography made in both locations to reflect on our relationships to farm animals in these ‘everyday’ settings. Alongside this work I also conducted research in the MERL archives discovering photographs of prize-winning animals from agricultural shows held on the Town Moor. Some of those images are featured in the Ruminations multiple and were reconfigured into a photographic concertina ‘Touch’ focusing in on the moment of interaction between humans and animals. My aim for this work is that it shares some insight into these two ancient farming spaces and asks some broader questions about our relationships with animals, the landscape and each other.
This work was shared at a series of events across the UK including film screenings and talks, alongside fellow artists in residence Shane Finan and Mark Jones and project researchers and an exhibition at the MERL as part of the FIELDS public engagement programme.
Funded by the Wellcome Trust as part of FIELD a four year research project in partnership with University of Lincoln, Leeds Trinity University, University of Hull, University of Glasgow, University of Edinburgh and the Museum of English Rural Life.