NEWS: Daughters Of The Soil @ Vane Gallery | NARC. | Reliably Informed | Music and Creative Arts News for Newcastle and the North East

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Image: Poppy, vet and farmers daughter, taking a break from driving the combine during harvest, 2021, photograph

The culmination of 12 months’ work researching gender and agriculture in Northumberland and the Scottish Borders, Daughters of the Soil is an insightful and powerful portrait exhibition from critically acclaimed documentary photographer Joanne Coates.

The work, which will be exhibited at Gateshead’s Vane Gallery (every Wednesday to Saturday between Thursday 11th August-Saturday 3rd September) shines a spotlight on the significant, but often overlooked, role that women have to play in the agricultural industries that we so often rely on.

Joanne has worked as a farm labourer and lives in a rural area with her farming partner, which affords her a unique insight and perspective. To create the exhibition, she collaborated with Professor Sally Shortall (the Duke of Northumberland Chair of Rural Economy and an expert on gender and agriculture) as well as over 40 women from the farming industry within the regions, finding herself inspired by the increasing visibility of women within the farming industry, who currently make up a mere 15% of the UK’s farming workforce. Although this visibility is welcomed, Coates’ work still highlights the vast need for change in an industry that is still so male-dominated and often presents women with underlying barriers such as access to land, class, motherhood, and lack of clear leadership roles.

Joanne comments. “Women aren’t as visible as men on farms, but we are seeing them more often. The female workforce is driving tractors, having a social media presence, and can be seen on the TV, but they don’t often inherit land or work in leadership positions.”

Daughters of the Soil by Joanne Coates is at Vane Gallery, Gateshead from Thursday 11th August-Saturday 3rd September.

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