Newland: New Vision for a Wilder Future

The Tipping Points project looks at cultural responses to land-sharing in the north of England, as part of the UKRI Landscape Decisions programme. Tipping Points has explored various different kinds of site-specific issues, ideas and practices relating to the sharing of land between different owners, stakeholders, farmers and communities over the past year. You can explore some of the different project outcomes here, and here, including the fantastic nature writing and art workshops based at Castle Howard, Stirley Farm and Wild Ennerdale, which are now available for you to complete online! The following creative works were produced as part of the ‘Slow Conversations’ strand of Tipping Points, which aims to centre farmers’ voices in discussions over landscape decisions.

Newland: new vision for a wilder future

The agricultural community is moving towards less intensive methods of farming, adopting more sustainable practices and recognising the importance of carbon capture. As the science evolves, increasing our society’s understanding of soil health and restoration, and how changes in food production can help to restore natural habitats, we should recognise the critical role that farmers play.   

This film reminds us that farmers are custodians of the land, and that they care deeply about the environment and their impact on nature. As well as cultivating the fields, they work at the margins where private land meets public footpaths, where nature meets agriculture, where at times there is hidden heritage and also conflict. Farmers play a significant part in shaping and maintaining the countryside, but their voices are often unheard.   

We hope to dismantle the preconceptions and stereotypes assigned to farmers; to challenge negative perceptions of the delicate balance between agriculture and nature; and to encourage greater respect for the land from the public.  At the same time, we want to inspire farmers to connect with nature and with the legacy that they leave on the land, and to support them as they work towards the regeneration of the countryside.  

“…I consider myself a custodian.

This is it’s not just for me and my kids. It’s for everybody”

Ted Hughes

“It’s not all about taking in life, you’ve to put something back.”

Andrew Hughes

With thanks to Andrew and Ted Hughes at the Newland Estate for their time and generosity, and for creating ‘a beautiful piece of heaven, to enjoy’.

About the creators

Suzie Cross is a creative producer, artist, and Clore Fellow who specialises in creating engaging artworks and programmes particularly focusing on the environment, using artistic interventions as a vehicle to foster appreciation for nature. Suzie is Artistic Director of the Land Lines projects: Tracks, Traces and Trails and Tipping Points at the University of Leeds.

Dave Lynch is a pioneering artist & creative director at Immersive Networks working internationally at the intersection of art, science, technology and the environment. He creates large-scale multisensory artworks, realities and performances which explore our relationship to research, storytelling and experience.

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