Belfast based artist Charlotte Bosanquet performs, directs and facilitates actions, performances and events that generally question the pre-existing structures that constitute the relationship between ‘artist’ and ‘audience’. She aims to integrate the audience by making them proactive in the work itself and attempts to democratize their encounter by using site specific actions to encourage shared experiences.
For the Harvest Festival, Charlotte has been working with the Huntington and Peterborough Women’s Institute in creating a new folk mythology that will be unveiled in the Harvest Wain Procession on the Saturday 19th September. Six women from the WI have been given a bespoke garment to customise and wear during the procession. The garments celebrate folk tradition, harvest and women’s roles whilst also looking at the Centenary of the WI this year. Working with Peterborough based choreographer Kate Marsh, movement will be explored to display the symbolism within the garments.
Arianne Churchman is an artist from East Anglia now based in Nottingham. Her work investigates British folk traditions, celebrations and customs; and uses the forms of performance, film, sound and sculpture to explore these themes. The work questions how we might import or re-imagine ancient rituals, beliefs and rites within our modern life, placing the mythic and historic into a contemporary context to create a new playful space.
Arianne is working with local allotmenteers to recreate the ancient Harvest Wain Procession, where local farm labourers would parade a decorated horse drawn cart through the streets, bringing home the final load of corn. The crowned Harvest ‘queens’ riding resplendent on the cart were often not what they seemed, with local male farm hands dressing up in women’s clothes. Arianne is combining this with traditional farm customs and practices from the region to create a new ritual for the success of the Harvest. This includes creating bespoke costumes using traditional smocking techniques that reference both the horses and a speculative history of the Molly revellers.
Faye Claridge produces contemporary art works in response to historic archives and traditions, believing our current and future identities are shaped by ideas about the past. She frequently works site-specifically and with the public, especially young people, encouraging participation in research, idea development and production. Currently artist in residence with The Ironbridge Gorge Museums, she is exploring the role of traditional skills and beliefs at the start of the Industrial Revolution.
For Harvest, Faye has created a series of photographic portraits of local Molly dancers sporting make-up based on the symbolism of both harvest and Peterborough’s iconic buildings. She has worked in collaboration with Peterborough face painters Rose Croft, Vikki Harold and Laura Sumpter and dancers from Pig Dyke Molly. During the Harvest weekend, on Saturday 19 September, Faye will be leading a team in Cathedral Square to face paint passing shoppers, families and revellers to create a unique set of Harvest ‘selfies’.
Caitlin’s work adapts and transforms ‘domestic objects’ to create sculptural forms inspired by elements drawn from social and personal histories . She is interested in ideas surrounding memory, home and the social. She also creates immersive environments that use traditional craft techniques like sewing and embroidery, with drawing and photography. Domestic objects, fabrics and family photographs have all triggered many of her works with materials such as wallpaper, curtains and furniture coverings offering the chance to rework familiar patterns. These create a surreal ‘netherworld’ between waking and dreaming where images, shapes and memories morph.
For Harvest, Caitlin has created a series of processional cloths and capes that seek to celebrate women as part of the Harvest celebrations. Drawing inspiration from Peterborough Cathedral’s diamond shaped ceiling portraits and medieval imagery, Caitlin has created a series of living ‘portraits’ for the Harvest Wain parade on Saturday evening. Symbolic imagery relating to the seasonal fruits, flowers and ‘God’s eyes’ ( a pagan symbol of the elements and fertility) will be embedded within each symbolic cape. These have been produced in collaboration with local craft collective Handmade in Peterborough and the Women’s Institute.
Matt Lewis is a musician and sound-artist based in London. Key areas of interest include the politics of sound, Foley, urbanism, notation and alternative methods of media distribution. His work is most often focused on particular physical sites, or around particular social issues, such as regeneration or street vending. A strong participatory aspect exists as an integral part of this practice. Matt has performed and exhibited nationally and internationally in countries including Austria, Brazil, Portugal, Serbia and the USA, in festivals and venues such as The Whitechapel Gallery, Café Oto, The Roundhouse, Diapason NYC and Centro Cultural Sao Paulo, Brazil. Recent projects include Clandestine Airs a commission through Resonance FM and VOID Gallery and no such thing as empty space, a collaboration with deafblind charity Sense and Metal. Matt is co-founder of sound art group Call & Response
For Harvest, Matt has created a sound work called Where is the Rustling Wood? This piece can be heard during the weekend by entering a structure made of hay bales on Cathedral Square. The sounds heard in the piece have all been harvested from the countryside around Peterborough and Matt is asking listeners to question the relationship between the sounds of the local countryside and the production of food. As part of the commission Matt is inviting the public to contribute their own recordings to form part of an evolving online composition.
Redhawk Logistica is an arts agency exploring cultural solutions to civic space issues. Much of the work takes the form of low tech, interventions that exist as subliminal influences within the public realm. These can take the form of signage, fly posters or advertising hoardings but highlight the positive potential of the individual rather than selling products. They record these playful interventions, which often have a second life through documentation, dissemination and exhibition.
The starting point for the Harvest commission titled ‘Our Nation’ is Norman Cross, the world’s first custom built POW camp which was located on the outskirts of Peterborough. In the early 1800’s, Napoleonic French prisoners of war located at Norman Cross made souvenirs from simple materials, such as bone and straw, to trade with local people. Today this tradition continues as inmates at HMP Peterborough, itself a unique institution, are working with us to create affordable merchandise, derived from designs by Studio ORTA. The work questions authorship, ownership and authenticity. We have chosen to donate all profits from sales to local community garden and food growing project Green Back Yard, whose land is under threat of development.
Eloise founded her award-winning hat making company ‘Moody and Farrell’ in London eight years ago. She has made seasonal collections shown at Fashion Weeks in London and Paris which have been featured in a wide range of international magazines such as Vogue, W Elle, Grazia, Harpers, Crafts and Selvedge. She has also collaborated with designers Meadham Kirchhoff as well as creating hats for television and films including the iconic hat in the recent film Paddington. She has spent the past five years working with straw, using ancient techniques and processes to create very modern marvels. Eloise is currently undertaking exciting new projects as an artist, using her skills to create finely crafted objects
For Harvest, Eloise is making ceremonial loaves of bread for the 500 dinner guests at the Meal. Working with renowned chef Lee Clarke, she is baking into each an envelope containing a series of ‘provocations’ to stimulate conversation between the diners. Four special loaves will contain finely crafted hand carved replicas of the archaeological finds from the twelfth century food market which originally took place in Cathedral Square. The diners who find these relics will get to keep them as a commemorative souvenir, Eloise has also been giving masterclasses on straw plaiting techniques, working with the community to create beautiful napkin rings for the Meal.
Artist and folk evangelist Sue Shields is a visual artist based in Peterborough. Integral to her practice is the mapping, exploring and gathering of social history, lore and traditions of the land. Much of her work involves reintroducing lost affinities between nature, social history, traditions and the public. She is active in the artistic community in Peterborough, and co-chair of artist group Creative Peterborough, an independent collective championing the needs of local artists.
For Harvest, Sue is creating an ‘Onion Emporium’ celebrating all things to do with this ancient vegetable. Her market stall and ‘listening booth’ created from vintage onion crates will invite visitors to learn more about this ubiquitous allium, and to listen to recordings of interviews conducted with retired farm labourers and land workers. You will also be able to sample and take away free bags of produce supplied by local onion producer Moulton Bulb Company.
As a socially engaged artist Robyn works across installation, moving image, photography and sculpture. She often questions material use and the value we place upon waste. Previous installations have included 132,000 plastic knives and forks, 7500 ice-cream containers and a reconfigured Las Vegas sign. During 2012 she won the Liverpool Art Prize and went on to exhibit 3.6 tonnes of plastic waste within one of Europe’s premier collections of Victorian paintings at the Walker Art Gallery, Liverpool. Her work has also featured in the New York Times Dot Earth blog, National Geographic Traveller magazine as well as on the front cover of the Green Party magazine: Green World.
‘Harvestment (2015) provides a meditation upon celebration and harvest, mortality and growth. Filmed in diverse locations which include a waste pickers co-operative in São Paulo, Brazil, and a large-scale horticulture unit deep within the eastern agricultural belt near Peterborough. The film focuses upon what humanity sees fit to harvest, or re-purpose, from a Scottish estate’s snow-clad stag remains to the urban detritus of Latin America. The soundtrack to the work includes Highland pipers, choral practice from Peterborough Cathedral and a vintage gramophone.’
Aisha Zia is a text-based artist, writer and playwright now based in London, originally from Peterborough. She writes mainly for site specific performance and film. Her interests are rooted in social issues and politics, exploring the role of the artist in civic life. Previously she has worked on large scale theatre touring projects with Common Wealth that are socially engaged and work collaboratively with communities and audience. In 2014, she won a Fringe First award for her show ‘No Guts, No Heart, No Glory’ about female Muslim boxers.
For Harvest, Aisha is working with a group of local residents from across Peterborough to act as hosts at the Meal to stimulate debate and conversation. Utilising provocations developed through participatory workshops with local gardeners, activists and environmentalists, the questions will explore themes around food production, distribution, and consumption, and what Harvest means in the globalised 21st century.