Land ownership dictates the rural sphere, socially, economically and politically. From the Enclosures Acts to tensions over remaining commons, join artist Ruth Beale, historian Katrina Navickas and community organiser Chris Blake as we ask, what might the rural commons mean today?
This event is a collaboration between the Whitechapel Gallery and Manchester School of Art, Manchester Metropolitan University. It forms part of our series on The Rural which explores how artists engage with the contemporary rural sphere.
Ruth Beale is an artist whose work considers the evocative relationships between culture, governance, social discourse and representation. Contemplating the civic and the public, and the concept of the Commons, her practice includes performance, installations, film and socially-engaged processes. She is co-founder of Performance as Publishing, an active research project into text and writing for performance, and The Alternative School of Economics, which uses the practice of self education to reclaim and explore economics as a social subject.
Chris Blake is a passionate advocate of community development and a founding Director of The Green Valleys an award winning social enterprise. The Green Valleys supports community responses to climate change and is currently leading the Skyline project – a feasibility study into landscape scale community stewardship of public land in the South Wales Valleys. He is also a founding director of Community Energy Wales dedicated to promoting the community ownership of renewable energy and is Chair of the RENEW Wales program that delivers community support through paid peer mentoring. He is also a Board member of Natural Resources Wales.
Katrina Navickas is Reader in History at the University of Hertfordshire. She has just been appointed to a British Academy Mid-Career fellowship to research a new project, ‘The History of Public Space in England, 1700-2000’. Her latest book is Protest and the Politics of Space and Place, 1789-1848, published by Manchester University Press. She has published widely on the history of protest and social movements in northern England, particularly Manchester.