What Is Rural?

Friday 18th March 2011, 9:30 for 10:00am start

The Collection, Danes Terrace, Lincoln, Lincolnshire, LN2 1LP t. 01522 550990

Friday 18th March 2011, 10am - 4pm.

A one-day symposium hosted at The Collection that Rosalind Stoddart will be speaking at.


What is Rural? aims to further thinking around the intersection between art, real places and research and provide an arena for specialists to explore and challenge ideas.


The event will attempt to challenge and explore thinking, making and approaches to Rurality. Whilst offering an opportunity to extend and inform current research and practice alongside developing new networks. Our aim is to deepen levels of engagement and understanding in ethical, aesthetic, critical, funding, environmental and philosophical issues evident in rural spaces and related discourses.


The day will enable artists, art and art practice to become the prompt that opens up a richer dialogue, encourages sharing and makes available specialist ideas to a wider public. The wide range of speakers have been linked up, so as to create a dynamic environment that will hopefully encourage audience involvement and allow for 3-way debate and discussion.


Confirmed speakers include: Ian Hunter: Littoral • Emma Heald: Advisor for Natural England •Liz Genever: Animal Scientist. EBLEX • Paul Genever: Lincolnshire Farmer • David Gilbert: Curator • John Plowman: Artist and co-director of Beacon • Rosalind Stoddart: Independent Cultural Engineer • David Walker Barker: Artist • Tim Neal: Academic.


Sheffield University Tickets to the event are: full price 22 and concession 15includes lunch and refreshments.

Spaces can be booked online using the link below.



9.30 for a 10.00am start, coffee and tea on arrival

10.00: Setting the Scene Adam O’Meara and Kate Genever What is Rural?’ A multi-disciplinary daylong symposium to coincide with a series of related shows at The Collection, including Taskscape by Adam O’Meara and Kate Genever and Food Chain by Nick May at the Usher Art Gallery

10.15 – 11.15: Strategic Thinking Ian Hunter: Littoral Emma Heald: Advisor for Natural England

11.15: morning break

11.45 – 12.45: Farming the Land Liz Genever: Animal Scientist. EBLEX Paul Genever: Lincolnshire Farmer

12.45 – 1.45: lunchTaskscape exhibition and other Collection exhibit open.

1.45 – 2.45: - Urban Ideas / Rural Settings David Gilbert: Curator John Plowman: Artist and co director of Beacon Rosalind Stoddart: Independent cultural engineer

2.45 – 3.15: afternoon break

3.15 – 4.15: Creation and Search David Walker Barker: Artist. Tim Neal: Academic. Sheffield University

4.15: Round Up - further questions/comments/ideas for future.



Ian Hunter from Littoral. Ian completed a PhD at Manchester Metropolitan University in 1992, and was Curator and Acting Director with the National Art Gallery in New Zealand until 1980. In the early 1980s Ian set up the ANZART Australia/New Zealand artist exchanges, and after moving to London was employed as Arts Officer at the National Council for Civil Liberties until 1984. He came to live in the Northwest in 1986 on a pioneering artist residency with Rossendale Groundwork Trust. In 1989-90 he established Littoral/Projects Environment as an arts trust for social and environmental change.


LITTORAL is a non-profit arts trust, which promotes new creative partnerships, critical art practices and cultural strategies in response to issues about social, environmental and economic change.



Emma Heald, Advisor for Natural England Emma is a Land Management and Conservation advisor for Natural England, which is the government’s advisor on the natural environment. They offer practical advice, grounded in science, on how best to safeguard England’s natural wealth for the benefit of everyone. Their remit is to ensure sustainable stewardship of the land and sea so that people and nature can thrive. ‘It is our responsibility to see that England’s rich natural environment can adapt and survive intact for future generations to enjoy.


’They work with farmers and land managers; business and industry; planners and developers; national, regional and local government; interest groups and local communities to help them improve their local environment.



Liz Genever, Animal Scientist for EBLEX

Liz works for EBLEX - English Beef and Lamb executive, which is a levy board. EBLEX undertakes a variety of activities on behalf of farmers and meat processors to help them get the best possible returns from their enterprises in a sustainable way, as well as stimulating a profitable demand for beef and lamb. Their work is equally split between cattle and sheep and can be divided into a number of distinct areas. Without the involvement of EBLEX, it is unlikely that individual enterprises would have the resources to invest in areas like research and marketing – to the detriment of the industry. Her particular area of interest and research is grassland management.



Paul Genever, Lincolnshire Farmer

Paul Genever with his family run a traditional mixed farm in South Lincolnshire. The farm lies close to the River Welland and sits on glacial deposits. Parkland and ancient Bronze Age sites form part of its acreage. It is now the only farm in the local vicinity that keep livestock - running a herd of Hereford X suckler cows, a flock of Mule sheep, 2 geese and some useless dogs all at a loss. Croft Farm is part of the Entry Level and Higher Level environmental and conservation schemes managed by Natural England.


David Gilbert, Art Curator

David is an experienced freelance contemporary art curator, arts consultant, project manager and arts educator. He has worked for many years in the museum & gallery and education sectors, with a particular interest in contemporary visual arts. Curator of the Wirksworth Festival 2010 and ‘re:place’ an ambitious two-year curated programme of site-specific contemporary visual arts commissions and installations across Derbyshire of regional and national significance. It will run throughout 2008 - 2010.



John Plowman, Artist and co-director of Beacon John is co-founder of Beacon a visual art organisation based in Lincolnshire that was set up in 2004. Beacon is a curatorial project whose mission is art>travel>site, it’s aim is to establish new art and new artists in the rural. It’s objectives are to programme a regular series of innovative visual art projects, establish and consolidate an audience, locally, regionally and nationally and raise the resources to support the programme of work.



Rosalind Stoddart, Independent Cultural Engineer

Rosalind was founder and Artistic Director of Fermynwoods Contemporary Artf or 11 years, an independent arts organisation and commissioning agency. Their year round programme explores and reflects on art and ecology to enhance understanding and engagement with our environment. This is achieved through artist residencies, site-specific installations and participatory events that take place in the public realm across Northamptonshire and beyond, in collaboration with regional, national and international partners.


Rosalind resigned from her position at Fermynwoods at the end of 2009 but has continued to develop these areas of interest through independent projects. Now she works as a independent cultural engineer, whilst also being a Trustee of Northamptonshire Arts Management Trust; The Core, at the Cube, Corby, the Birgit Skild Memorial Trust and Fiori Musicali. She is also a Northamptonshire Ambassador.


David Walker Barker, Artist

David was born in South Yorkshire. He Studied at Goldsmiths College and the Royal College of Art in London, going on to win several awards. He has work in public collections including the Arts Council of Great Britain, The British Institute and National Westminster Bank.


“When I look at the landscape it is not hills, rivers and woodlands that I see nor the industriniscape or urban sprawl but layers of time stretching back to the beginning of the universe.” This short statement summarises the range and diversity of David Walker Barker’s visual works. Simultaneously it identifies a fascination for land surface and environments, for a sense of place and for what he terms, “deep nature” - the subatomic and microcosmic and foretime itself.




Tim Neal, Academic at Sheffield University

Tim is researching a PhD concerned with touristic engagement with `wildsites: in particular the migration of British subjects into the leisure landscapes of rural France. French rural life has been the subject of much study particularly from an anthropological perspective over the past forty years. While such work provides an invaluable foundation for understanding the persistence and discontinuities of contemporary rural life the current prevalence of British migration to rural France invites new work of which this research project is one example. A common approach has been to focus on sets of questions designed to characterise British migrants and/or their explanations for moving. Other approaches have worked with notions identity and authenticity. http://www.sheffield.ac.uk/trp/researchschool/currentresearch/timneal


Please click the link below to download the What Is Rural Symposium PDF

What is Rural? PDF