Caught by the River

Kestle Barton: Tent Talks

26th June 2024

The current Kestle Barton exhibition Colin Robins & Oliver Udy: Anthology of Rural Life — Farmers of The Lizard (15 Jun – 1 Sep) is a photographic survey of families and individuals farming on The Lizard Peninsula. In collaboration with Falmouth University, the University of Plymouth, Falmouth Art Gallery and The Museum of Cornish Life, Helston, with generous support from the Cornwall Community Foundation, Kestle Barton have put together a duo of free ‘Tent Talks’ — an ideal opportunity to discuss relevant concerns for those living in, and visiting, the surrounding area. Find further information from the farmstead below.

Tent Talk I: Food systems, farming and land use
Saturday 20 July from 11am – 5pm

Land use at the moment is a very sensitive and complex subject with many, sometimes seemingly contradictory, agendas vying to be heard. Many people are desperate to be understood, and to understand what is really going on.  This situation affects everyone, especially in rural areas such as The Lizard, Cornwall; and there is a growing number of people dedicating their time and energy, and investing great resources, into asking what can be done in order for our current, and future, lives to be productive and nourishing in the face of many obstacles.

There appears to be no consensus on what the obstacles, or the solutions, are. However we believe it is an ongoing conversation that demands attention, time and listening.

We would like this day to be an acknowledgement of the the vital necessity of farming to our food system, as well as exploring some of the nuances and complexities around the relationship between farming and other uses of land. We have invited just a few speakers to shape the conversation. They offer a range of  perspectives and solutions that are forthcoming at this time. It is not a fully comprehensive line-up, nor will it reflect everybody’s position on these issues. We are inviting you, whoever you are reading this, to come to this free event and join in a dynamic, constructive conversation that can fill in some of the gaps and highlight others.

The morning will start with an overview of food systems in the UK with researchers Jane King and Vicki Hird. They will explain some of the mysteries of how food actually moves from plough to plate and give their own specific view of what problems we are facing and what solutions they are seeing emerge from their work.

We are also interested to hear from Dr. Harriet Bunning before lunch, talking about current trends in cattle breeding, as one example of how every sector of industry is thinking, and re-thinking, the way things need to change to improve our current situation and future-proof as best we can.

After lunch, we will have several local farmers sharing their experiences of farming on The Lizard, and raising the issues that they believe are most significant and transformative to the situations they are facing. We are asking individuals, organisations, businesses and any other interested parties of all ages to come join us in the tent this day, to listen and reflect upon what the speakers present, and to offer your own perspectives (questions and solutions) to the conversation.

We do not expect change to happen overnight, we do not expect to change any minds over these matters, but we hope by coming together and discussing we can all listen, learn and lean into the challenges ahead with a bit more information, fortitude and sense of shared human interest. Please join us in this endeavour.

Tent Talk II: Creative practice and the land
Sunday 21 July from 11am – 5pm

In response to the exhibition, and the new work made on the Lizard Peninsula, the day will include a series of discussions around the relationship between photographers and the land.

Speakers include Colin Robins + Oliver Udy (ARL), Jem Southam, Joanne Coates, Oli Raymond Barker, William Arnold and Jo Bradford.

St Keverne Band will also be performing The Worm Forgives the Plough, 2024 by Georgia Gendall. Composed by Seamas Carey and arranged by Freddie Hodkin.

With a range of practices represented, the speakers will discuss their approach to making work about the land, and the communities that are interwoven around it.


Find more about Kestle Barton, the Tent Talks,  Anthology of Rural Life and general visiting information here.