Arts organisation Metal planned a large scale, weekend-long Harvest Festival in Peterborough’s historic Cathedral Square. The festival celebrated the relationship between the city and its rural countryside, connecting people to the land and its associated Harvest rituals, whilst promoting local food and its suppliers. Overall this city wide, family orientated event focussed on ecological and social sustainability including localism, food production, food waste/sustainability, agricultural education and collective responses to the land.
This was a publicly engaging weekend of art and culture that reinvigorated and transformed the ancestral ritual of Harvest and attracted thousands of people into the city centre; here is a brief outline of the weekend and what it involved.
Between the hours of 10am and 5pm, a bustling food and craft market, located in St John’s Square, recreated the buzzing and vibrant markets that were held in Peterborough city centre for hundreds of years. Throughout the day bread making demonstrations took place in the square, where you were also entertained and engaged by a selection of musical and dance groups; from Morris, Molly and cultural dancers, to a variety of folk musicians. To kick off the evenings proceedings there was a folkloric ritual procession, including representative members and groups of the community, who guided audience members into the Cathedral Square. Where come the evening a mass public ceilidh was held followed by some of the finest folk musicians starting with blue grass style and working up to a full-on Gypsy Klezmer Turkish folk frenzy.
The food and craft market, located in St John’s Square, will be took place between the hours of 10 am and 4.30pm. At its centre, international artist’s Lucy + Jorge Orta, hosted a meal for 500 invited guests in front of the guildhall in Cathedral Square – their first outdoor meal in the UK. Guests were invited via a host of Harvest ambassadors. This meal was be made by locally sourced ingredients, including a large quota of the produce coming from the surrounding allotments.
Over the weekend long Harvest celebrations, 10 UK newly commissioned visual and performing artists works were revealed; processions, sound installations and films-just to name a few! Read more here.
Photos by Chris Porsz and Ben Chapman
Information about the lead artists
Lucy + Jorge Orta’s collaborative practice draws upon ecological and social sustainability issues to create artworks employing diverse media, including drawing, sculpture, installation, couture, painting, silkscreen, photography, video and light, as well as staged ephemeral interventions and performances. Amongst their most emblematic series are: Refuge Wear and Body Architecture: portable minimum habitats bridging architecture and dress; HortiRecycling: the food chain in global and local contexts; 70 x 7 The Meal: the ritual of dining and its role in community networking; Nexus Architecture: alternative modes of establishing the social link; The Gift: a metaphor for the heart and the biomedical ethics of organ donation; OrtaWater and Clouds: water scarcity and the problems arising from pollution and corporate control; Antarctica: international human rights and freer international migration; and Amazonia: the value of the natural environment to our daily lives and to our survival.
Harvest Commissioned Artists
1o Selected Harvest Artists – Aisha Zia, Arianne Churchman, Caitlin Heffernan, Charlotte Bosanquet, Eloise Moody, Faye Claridge, Matt Lewis, Redhawk Logistica, Robyn Woolston and Sue Shields. Read more about each of the selected artists here.
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