The FIELD project has been successful in applying for additional funding from the Wellcome Trust to enable to team to continue running a series of engagement events with a wide range of audiences.
Building on a strong series of public engagement events over the past 18 months, the new funding award provides an exciting opportunity to recruit creative art professionals that will reside with the projects research team, as well as work independently with the farming communities the project is working with. Overall, the aim is to facilitate improved knowledge of UK farming and the complexities of decision making involved in food production and consumption, using the creative practice as a stimulus for dialogue and reflection.
The award of the Enrichment Fund could not be timelier. Converging environmental, health, welfare and political agendas make the future of food and farming one of today’s most contested issues. Media representations are often unhelpfully polarised. Criticisms rest frequently on simplistic understandings coloured by false memories of an earlier ‘golden age’, while defensive farmers can struggle to articulate the challenges they face. In creating opportunities for more inclusive, reflective, non-judgemental exchanges, FIELD’s enrichment work will encourage farming and non-farming publics to work through their differences, and develop mutual respect, empathy and understanding.
The engagement and research activities the FIELD team have run to date have demonstrated a real interest by the public in farming and desire to learn more, as well as highlighting a desire by farmers for a more representative portrayal of UK farming. The enrichment award provides the project with an exciting opportunity to take these conversations further, using the creative outputs generated as an accessible ‘hook’ into farming, animal health and welfare conversations with a range of audiences.
The artists will be recruited over the summer with the aim of starting work in Autumn 2020.