Cultures of the Countryside examines the relationship between the museum and the micro-cultures of the countryside. Offering an exploration of museums and heritage projects in the UK that have attempted to introduce new ways of engagement between localities, objects, and people, this book considers how museums, heritage initiatives, and art projects have dealt with pressing local and global socio-political issues relating to the environment and rural life, including changing demographics and rural practices, local environmental concerns, and global climate activism.
Providing a thorough examination of the representation of competing histories, visions and politics, Sekules asks whether museums and heritage projects can engage actively in shaping cultures, as well as reflecting them. At the core of the analysis is an examination of the findings from a project in the UK’s East Anglia, ‘The Culture of the Countryside’, from which emerged themes closely bound to different countryside landscapes, peoples and heritage.
Aimed at practitioners and students alike, Cultures of the Countryside provides a unique insight into the roles of the museum and heritage projects in rural and environmental issues in the recent past, whilst also offering perspectives and recommendations for the future.
Table of Contents
Chapter 1: Countrification
Country and City
From Preservation to Protection to Campaigning for the Countryside
World Down to Earth
Protecting the Local
Moving to the Country
What does the Countryside Mean to You?
Not the Middle of Nowhere?
Chapter 2: Nostalgia, Art, and Folk Life
Museum and Mechanisation
Collections and Audiences
Nostalgia for the Working Horse
Folk-like in the Museum
Folk Culture: Survival and Revival
Artefacts and Folk
Chapter 3: Heritagisation and the ‘Open Air’
Public-Private Stewardship of Nature-Culture
Open Air Heritage and Democratisation
Landscape and Heritagisation
In the Field
Little Ouse Headwaters Project
Stewardship and the Working Landscape
Chapter 4: Education and the Countryside
The School in the Countryside
Children’s Countryside Knowledge
Environment Education and the Countryside
The Museum and Countryside Education
Outdoor Learning in the Countryside
Harmony and Subversion in the Forest
Education and Artists in the Countryside
Chapter 5: Global Village
BME (Black and Minority Ethnic) Cultural Politics in the Countryside
Norfolk, Suffolk, and Papua New Guinea
Another Way of Learning
Artist as Ethnographer
Globalising Village Connections
From ‘Cosmopolitan Contamination’ to Invasive Alien Species
Chapter 6: At the Edge of the Farm
Diversity of Farms
On the Edge of the Farm
Calamities and Creative Consequences
‘More about Human Intellect than Human Muscle’
Images of Farming
The Farm and the Artist-Ethnographer
Veronica Sekules was formerly Deputy Director and Head of Education and Research at the Sainsbury Centre for Visual Arts, University of East Anglia, UK, after an early career start in the environment movement and as a curator and writer. She is now Director of GroundWork Gallery in King’s Lynn, Norfolk, a new space dedicated to art and the environment.