The exhibition phase of Combine: Farming Heritage | East Midlands is now well underway. Over the last six months we have successfully delivered over 85 workshops, working with over 250 people across the 6 counties of the East Midlands. We have met some amazing people along the way, heard many wonderful stories, produced and discovered some striking images and uncovered valuable material in the archives and museum collections, but more importantly, the young people have witnessed first-hand living farming heritage. All the research has been reflected upon and interpreted to create a strong visually stimulating exhibition that has now begun its regional tour. Currently in the Corby Heritage Centre it will visit venues large and small until July 2014, including schools, county museums and Record Offices and local community venues. Included in the exhibition are the 6 brand new contemporary maps created by the participants. They worked with artist Danny Callaghan to interpret their discoveries using a variety of creative techniques and produced unique pieces of artwork. A complimentary leaflet has been produced and is freely available from all the exhibition venues.
The project website is where you can find information in full of everything that has taken place since the project began. Of particular importance are the audio oral histories recorded by the young people who carried out a series of interviews with people in from farming communities. They offer a valuable insight into everyday farming and rural life past and present, some amusing, others quite poignant. There is also a facility to contribute your own stories by clicking on the contribute icon on the Home page.
To celebrate the project we have produced a commemorative book to tell the story and share the findings. A Celebration Event was held at the Rutland County Museum in November where all participants and partners came together for the first time. We presented everyone attending with their own copy of the book to take home and share with family and friends.
There have been numerous positive outcomes from the project so far, for participants and partners. Here are some comments from some of the people involved:
Christopher Weir. Principal Archivist (Public Services), Nottinghamshire Archives.
“Combine: Farming Heritage | East Midlands provided a wonderful opportunity for the Archive Service to support this pioneering project and engage young people with archives. We organised a workshop day for school children that gave opportunities for the children to work with quill pens, see conservation at work and view hundreds of years of history. The day generated huge enthusiasm and it was a privilege to be part of a project brought ‘history to life’. Being involved with Combine was a great opportunity for the Archives to develop it’s ‘learning outreach’ strategy and engage young people and we congratulate Junction Arts on initiating this excellent project.”
Dave Robertson. Teacher at The Kingswood School.
“This was a very interesting and necessary project in that our students are what I would call semi-urban! Corby has a strange industrial past despite being situated in a very rural county. This project enabled the students to reflect on their agricultural forbears and gave greater understanding of their home turf. The ‘gentleness ‘ of approach facilitated open response from our students. This in itself is no mean feat!”
Elizabeth Simpson Farmer Northants.
“I was always on the farm when I was a little girl and I can remember being put in the hay rack or a trough to keep me out of the way. I could watch everything from there but not get knocked over by the sheep. As soon as I was old enough I would pick up the lambs and their mothers, the ewes, would follow me round.”