Kate's proposal outlined a practice based intensive period of research and making on two working farms in the Peak District in order to reveal and celebrate their unique homemade tools and technologies.
The commission culminated in the creation of a new archive of site responsive work that exists in the public realm as: a website; oral history library and outsider collection. Holding prints, drawings, transcriptions, sound, film and oral recordings as well as documentary photographs by Adam O’Meara and a new text in response to the work by social anthropologist Tim Ingold, the archive explores ideas of use and function, site specificity, contemporary collecting and the changing face of British farming. The project is also supported by The National Trust.
"Farming is in a constant state of flux, currently experiencing mass change brought on by environmental and economic instabilities. It is within this contemporary arena of rapid change that the homemade functioning tools I study belong; these examples of ingenuity and fit for purpose technologies, along with the lifestyle of their makers and their farms are vanishing. I have a unique insight to this world; I work on my family’s farm but I am also an artist, meaning I am both observer and insider and it is this close involvement with the farming industry that underpins my thinking, my practice and this proposal. This informed critical perspective will enable me to explore these sites, to reveal not only current farming practice and their unique technologies but to enrich debate, thinking and the encouragement of audiences to engage in contemporary art practice sourced from alternative yet relevant places.
The two farms in Derbyshire are both within the Peak District. The first is run by Frank Bellfield and his family, the second by semi-retired Ken Wilson and his wife. There are of course similarities but also differences; for example one breeds sheep the other beef, but both make and build - fit for purpose – tools and technologies. Unusual yet everyday these items are driven by function, their stories and reasons for being are fascinating and revealing. So by studying and recording these ingenious items and then by releasing the artwork into the public realm the audience is encouraged to consider not only ideas around contemporary collecting, archiving and site responsive art but also man's connection to the land and a make do and mend mentality."
Kate's work was shown at Wirksworth Festival, The Beetroot Tree, and as a major exhibition at The Collection, Licoln, with an associated symposium, 'Curating the Rural'.