1st Edition

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

By Veronica Sekules Copyright 2018
    298 Pages
    by Routledge

    298 Pages
    by Routledge

    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.


    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


    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.