Cultures of the Countryside : Art, Museum, Heritage, and Environment, 1970-2015 book cover
1st Edition

Cultures of the Countryside
Art, Museum, Heritage, and Environment, 1970-2015

ISBN 9781472423467
Published December 1, 2017 by Routledge
298 Pages

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Book Description

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

Middlesbrough Haka

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

The Museum

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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.