Soil Culture: Introduction

New Opportunities and Partnerships

Following its move to the University of Exeter campus last year, CCANW has announced opportunities for artists to apply for residencies linked to the Soil Culture project- its most ambitious programme to date, and a contribution to the UN International Year of Soils 2015.

Claire Pentecost, soil-erg, shown at Documenta(13), Kassel, Germany, summer 2012. Claire Pentecost is an artist based in Chicago whose work will be shown in the Established Artists exhibition. She proposes a new system of value based on living soil, a form of currency that anyone can make by composting.

The aim of Soil Culture is to use the arts to inspire a deeper public understanding of the importance of soil - a resource on which the whole of civilization depends, but which many take for granted. Healthy soils are essential for the production of the food required to feed a growing population.  They also play an important role in our global eco-system, acting as a carbon sink to reduce the impact of climate change. Today, soils are threatened by several forms of degradation including loss of natural nutrients and bio-diversity caused by contamination, compaction, erosion, flooding and salinisation.

Between 2013 and 2016, in collaboration with Falmouth University and other partners, CCANW will deliver Soil Culture in several phases. The first involves research led by the University, funded by a grant from the Arts and Humanities Research Council, and this will culminate in a Forum at Falmouth between 2-5 July this year.

The second phase involves eight artist residencies hosted by different arts and environment organisations across the South West, from this summer to the spring of next year.  Some will be with long established institutions such as Schumacher College at Dartington and the Universities of Exeter and Plymouth, but the larger number will engage with relatively new organisations such as Hauser & Wirth Somerset in Bruton, White Moose in Barnstaple, Environment and Sustainability Institute in Penryn,  Hannahs at Seale- Hayne, Newton Abbot and Kestle Barton, Helston.  From May 2015 - September 2016, an exhibition of the results of the residencies will then tour to eight galleries in the region, including the Thelma Hulbert Gallery in Honiton and spaces run by most residency hosts. This phase is substantially supported by Arts Council England.

The final phase involves a major exhibition of work by established International artists whose work has engaged with soils, sometimes over several decades. This will be launched in September 2015 at Falmouth Art Gallery before going on to Peninsula Arts at the University of Plymouth and a third venue outside of the region.

“We are delighted that CCANW have chosen to highlight the wonder, fragility and plight of our soils through their new arts programme. We feel that culture should be at the heart of agriculture and this programme will be a very effective way of engaging people with this rather scientific subject.” - Helen Browning, CEO, Soil Association

Lottery Funded

Centre for Contemporary Art and the Natural World c.i.c.

Registered in England 4141506.

Directors: Clive Adams, Daro Montag

Staff: Gemma Baal, manager, Sally Lai, residency coordinator, Martyn Windsor, exhibition coordinator

Advisory Panel: Tristram Besterman, chair, Phil Collins, Charlotte Rathbone, Jem Southam, Peter Young, Rick Bond, Dave Pritchard, Emma Rothwell, Henrietta Vercoe, William Lana

CCANW is pleased to acknowledge support for its 2013-14 development programme from Arts Council England, Devon County Council, South West Water and The University of Exeter