• Myvillages, Farmers & Ranchers, Deer Trail USA (2013)

    Myvillages, Farmers & Ranchers, Deer Trail USA, 2013. Photo: Wapke Feenstra

A special series of events and conference dedicated to exploring how artists engage with the contemporary rural sphere.

What is the role of art in rural contexts?

This series of public events, leading to a conference in 2019, takes the particular set of conditions presented by the rural as a context for art. How are ideas of community, climate or architecture perceived from a rural perspective? Art is always assumed to thrive best in metropolitan centres, yet when focus is diverted we are met with new questions and priorities.

The Rural looks at contemporary artists, architects and creative practitioners who are challenging the assumptions made about rural life, providing a new vision of the countryside grounded in everyday experience.  This series considers how artists respond to the socio-economic divides between the rural and the urban, and the impact of the decline of industry in small towns and surrounding villages. From re-imagined farming practices and food systems to architecture, community projects and transnational local networks, this programme brings these projects to the foreground, inviting a careful and critical look at our relationships with the rural today.

The Rural Assembly: 20 – 22 June 2019

Connecting the local to the global, this conference invites an international and transdisciplinary conversation on art and the rural, with a focus on profiling projects from across the world.

Details to be announced soon.

Past Events

Whitechapel Gallery - Talk - All villlages in one place - Sally Tallant - MyVillages

All Villages in One Place

Thu 29 Jun 2017, 7pm

Director of Liverpool Biennial Sally Tallant joins artist collective Myvillages to consider new models for socially engaged practice in non-urban settings.

Climate Control

Climate Control

Thu 26 Oct 2017, 7pm

What is the relationship between geopolitics, conflict and climate change?

Rebecca Chesney, Death by Denim, 2015. Courtesy of the artist_web

Rethinking Landscape

Thu 15 Mar 2018, 7pm

How do contemporary artists challenge representations of the rural through landscape?

Katrina Palmer, The Loss Adjusters 2015

Post-Industrial Rurality: Shifting Narratives

Thu 5 Apr 2018, 7pm

Artist Katrina Palmer, designer Hefin Jones and Dr. Menelaos Gkartzios introduce their practices of working in post-industrial regions.

Studio Morison, Sleepers Awake, 2011. Courtesy Studio Morison

Creating Change

March Town Hall, Cambridgeshire
Sun 10 June 2018
11.30am – 4.30pm
Free, booking required

Off-site event bringing together artists of international standing alongside grassroots projects to discuss creative ways they work with communities.

LandRush Project

Art and Agriculture

Thu 5 Jul 2018, 7pm

How do artists represent and situate themselves in agricultural contexts? Featuring artists Georgina Barney and Paul Chaney alongside photojournalist Uwe H. Martin.

FRAUD Post-Rural Carbon Ecologies

Post-Rural Carbon Ecologies

Thu 25 Oct 2018, 7pm

Artist duo FRAUD performatively present their ongoing art-led inquiry Carbon Derivatives, which investigates forests and foreshores as salvage sites for carbon, unearthing the systemic violence of the green economy.

Commons: The Rural


Manchester School of Art
Thu 15 Nov 2018, 6pm

Artist Ruth Beale, historian Katrina Navickas and community organiser Chris Blake as we ask, what might the rural commons mean today?


The Rural

Documents of Contemporary Art
Edited by Myvillages

Part of the acclaimed Documents of Contemporary Art series of anthologies which collect writing on major themes and ideas in contemporary art.

Released in February 2019.




Myvillages is an artist group founded in 2003 by Kathrin Böhm (UK / DE), Wapke Feenstra (NL) and Antje Schiffers (DE). The work addresses the evolving relationship between the rural and the urban, looking at different forms of production, pre-conceptions and power relationships. Myvillages initiates and organizes international artistic projects which range from small-scale informal presentations to long-term collaborative research projects, from work in private spaces to public conferences, from exhibitions to publications and from personal questions to public debate. Current and recent projects include Vorratskammer / Pantry at House of World Cultures in Berlin (2011), Good News from Nowhere at the Architecture Foundation London (2013), Lending Shape to Form (2015), A–Z Marzona Collection, Hamburger Bahnhof, Berlin, Farmers and Ranchers(2012–2015) with M12, Colorado, US and the Fries Museum, NL and the International Village Show for the Museum of Contemporary Art Leipzig (2014–2016), Myvillages’ ongoing work in London includes monthly Haystacks events and Myvillages Company: Movements, Deals and Drinks project, winner of the 2014 Create Art Award.

Wysing Arts Centre

Wysing Arts Centre is a registered charity that provides a range of programmes for artistic research, experimentation, discovery and production, out of which emerges an ongoing programme of exhibitions, public events, activity for young people, families and schools. Their large rural site near Cambridge includes a gallery, educational facilities, artists’ studios, project spaces, a 17th century farmhouse, and a growing collection of outdoor sculpture.

Department of Geography, The University of Aberystwyth

‘The Global Countryside: Rural Change and Development in Globalization (GLOBAL-RURAL)’ is a major research project funded by the European Research Council. The study aims to advance our understanding of the workings and impact of globalization in rural regions through the development and application of new conceptual and methodological approaches.

Istanbul Biennial

The Istanbul Foundation for Culture and Arts has been organising the Istanbul Biennial since 1987. The biennial aims to create a meeting point in İstanbul in the field of visual arts between artists from diverse cultures and the audience. The fourteen biennials İKSV has organised up to now have enabled the formation of an international cultural network between local and international art circles, artists, curators and art critics by bringing together new trends in contemporary art every two years. Considered as one of the most prestigious biennials alongside Venice, Sao Paolo and Sydney, the Istanbul Biennial prefers an exhibition model which enables a dialogue between artists and the audience through the work of the artists instead of a national representation model.

Manchester School of Art, Manchester Metropolitan University

Manchester School of Art is an innovator in art and design education and research in the UK. We celebrate our 180th birthday this year and draw on our experience and expertise to offer undergraduate and postgraduate courses that provide our students with the essential skills and knowledge for their chosen career. Contemporary Art in rural places and the representation of rural places in visual and popular culture are significant research specialisms for staff in the Department of Art.

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