London. Midnight. 19th January 2007. As a young graduate from the Ruskin School of Art, spurred by curiosity about the landscape and a concern for our relationship with the environment, I left London on an overnight Megabus bound for the far north of Scotland. Over the following eight months I made an eye-opening journey across fourteen wildly different farms across the island of Great Britain, zig-zagging south until I reached Cornwall in August. Throughout the journey I communicated with the urban-bound and rural alike, sharing my colourful, challenging and life-affirming experiences by writing a blog and uploading my drawings and photographs to a website, 'GB Farming'.
Over the ten years that have passed since then, 'GB Farming' has exceeded my ambitions for the project as a young artist. It has been recognised as an important snapshot of contemporary agriculture, in exhibitions at the Harris Museum, Preston and at the Attenborough Arts Centre, Leicester University for example. However, much of the material, initially created for a website, remains digital. Next year will be the ten year anniversary of 'GB Farming' - and issues within farming that first roused me to action, such as climate change and environmental stewardship, are no less urgent. Please help me mark this occasion and revisit these important debates by making the project available beyond its original iteration, as an illustrated book. With your support, the book will be published in January 2017 to coincide with the ten year anniversary of the start of my journey.
This publication will include a selection of written, photographic and drawn observations that feature fourteen farms across a remarkable range of scale, production and ethos: country estates; a croft; family farms; a city farm; a vineyard; an 'eco-community' living without fossil fuels and large-scale commercial operations. After ten years of collaboration within the art and farming communities (for example, the National Farmers' Union, Sideshow 2010 at the British Art Show), I've written a new introduction and afterward for the publication. I'm also delighted that François Matarasso, an influential writer of socially engaged arts practice, will also be contributing his reflection upon 'GB Farming'.
I need £2000 to cover the costs of designing (£800) and printing the book (£1000), paying Kickstarter a fee (£100-£200) and producing and posting rewards for donors. This is the very minimum necessary to enable me to produce a first edition of 100 books. These will be numbered and signed and given to donors.
In 2017 with the design of the book established, I will be able to invest in a subsequent edition to tour to galleries, rural community hubs, and the farms I visited along my original route, in a ten year 'anniversary tour'.
All donations given in support of this publication are hugely appreciated, from £5 upwards acknowledged with artwork from 'GB Farming': from a set of 'Liquorice Allsorts' postcards to an experiential evening at PRIMARY, Nottingham.
To find out more please join me in Nottingham, Sheffield or London:
Pop-up Exhibition: in the Cruck Barn @ Whirlow Hall City Farm, Sheffield, Sunday 5th June 2016, 11am - 4pm. Visit the exhibition and observe sheep-shearing at Whirlow during Open Farm Sunday.
Closing Discussion: at The Agriculture Gallery, The Science Museum, London, Wednesday 29th June 2016, 7:30-9pm. With Guy Smith, Vice President of the National Farmers Union and Kate Genever, artist. Hosted by Haystacks.
Risks and challenges
Competitive quotes for designing and printing the book have been sourced from Dave Everett and the Russell Press, a Nottingham publishing company; and the manuscript has been compiled. I'm all set to go!
I have project-managed numerous demanding projects, including publications for contemporary art festivals as well as exhibitions and commissions (evidenced on my website: http://www.georginabarney.com/more/); managing the design and printing of this publication will not be onerous.
My proposed 2017 tour will be funded separately; the publication of 'GB Farming' is not dependent on the success of this latter phase. If this campaign is successful I will be able to print the first edition and begin to market remaining copies in galleries, farms and art venues, regardless of this tour taking place. However, over 10 years' work on this subject I have obtained numerous supportive contacts that is sure to make the book an ongoing success after your investment. Perhaps I'll see you on the road!
'GB Farming' was initially funded by the Arts Council England and supported by charity Farming & Countryside Education; it is now being supported at PRIMARY and the Small Food Bakery for a campaign launch, as well as Whirlow Hall Farm Trust in Sheffield and the Science Museum in London for subsequent campaign events.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
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