A Field of Wheat
Between Autumn 2015 and Autumn 2016, a collective made up of 42 members of the public, the food industry, farming community, artists and researchers became active stakeholders in a 22 acre field of wheat in Branston Booths, Lincolnshire. A Field of Wheat was created working with Ruth Levene (artist) and Peter Lundgren (farmer).
Wheat is consumed by around 4.5 billion people every day and is a highly significant global food commodity both in volume of trade and land used for its cultivation. Wheat is intimately tied to our cultural history as one of the first crops to be cultivated on a large scale and Lincolnshire is a significant wheat growing county in the UK.
A Field of Wheat was a creative platform that explores the complexities of contemporary arable farming first hand, bringing together elements of performance, walking, dialogue, culture and ritual with global commodities markets, ecology, local history and the practice and future of farming in Lincolnshire, the break basket of the UK. Throughout its cycle from drilling to harvest the community of participants took part in decision making and exchange of dialogue and ideas with the farmer, each other and the artists through an online platform, visits (eg London Corn Exchange) and events on the farm. In the project we experimented with ways of holding space for dialogue informed by Quaker methodologies. The final harvest event was co-designed with participants.
A Field of Wheat was shared with wider audiences via the website, public events on the farm (such as a temporary straw build constructed on a field to host harvest events) media coverage ( half hour programme on BBC Radio 4) and presentations (Scottish Sculpture Workshop, Food Sovereignty Conference, Maynooth University & Galway Third Space, Exhibition and talk at Bridport Art Centre with Cape Farewell, Real Farming Conference Oxford) and through spawning a follow up project led by collective member Abi Rose #OurField.
A Field of Wheat emerged from two years of research supported by Dance4 and Arts Council of England. Additional funding from University of Lincoln and ArtsNK.
See the Field of Wheat website for more images, artwork and information.