Songs, stories, vegetables and grains grown in Penryn helped showcase the inspired work at the town’s Loveland Community Field in a unique event.
Volunteers transformed the former arable field into a beacon of sustainable food production designed to bring people together to learn new skills, breathe fresh air, meet new people and reconnect with nature.
Field Day 2022, held on Saturday, featured stories about Penryn’s relationship with food in the past, present and future. It was created and produced by artists Small Acts (Katie Etheridge and Simon Persighetti) as part of the Creative Peninsula network, run by the University of Exeter and funded by UKRI.
There were four guides who each took a group of visitors to the field so they could meet different people involved in the project and try out a variety of activities, presented in a poetic way.
Penryn’s HUM Choir sang songs with lyrics based on interviews with people who work at Loveland.
Visitors learned about the lost grains that were grown in Cornwall and are growing again in Loveland and browsed the Grains Project, among lentils, oats and other grains.
Visitors also learned about the history of the site and were able to view medieval pottery unearthed during recent plowing of the field.
There was a playful ‘replay’ of St Gluvias Church Debating Society Association (SGDSAFC) football club playing on the pitch. Passing around a soccer ball, visitors debated land use.
There was also an exhibition of works by Carys Boughton, which attracts people who volunteer in Loveland. His illustrations were printed on wood and installed in the garden, among the plants. Visitors received a postcard and a pencil to make their own drawings.
Visitors were able to tour the plot used to grow vegetables for the Falmouth Food Cooperative and participate in planting beets.
Guides also introduced visitors to the use of herbs in ancient medicine and how to find and identify plants. Participants ate lunch together using food grown in Loveland.
The work was commissioned by Dr Evelyn O’Malley and Professor Cathy Turner, for the Creative Peninsula Project, led by Professor Tom Trevor.
Professor Turner said: “Performance is a wonderful way to bring people, places and ideas into dialogue. We loved Small Acts’ proposal to work with Loveland volunteers to think about land use and food culture in Penryn. I am overwhelmed with how they brought people together for this event”
“Our call for artists asked them to produce site-specific work, focusing on the dynamic cultural activities that take place outdoors. We wanted to celebrate the peninsula’s distinctive landscapes and the many ways people enjoy the environment. This work builds on our previous research project, Outside the Box, which asked how outdoor performance might strengthen our relationship with the natural world.
This is the second of two commissions. The first, who do you think should save us? was created by artists Jane Mason, Grace Surman and Gary Winters. They collaborated with Exmouth Outdoor Swimmers and the Exmouth Beach Rescue Club to organize a day of shows on Exmouth Beach.
Both performances will be documented in short films.
TheCreative Peninsula network, based at the University of Exeter, was created to explore collaborative approaches to place-making and culture-driven regeneration in Devon and Cornwall, with a focus on the improved access and exchange between urban and rural communities, celebrating the region’s distinctive landscape. and the Atlantic seaboard, and exploring its complex histories, through the arts. Professor Tom Trevor will lead programming for a summit at The Eden Project in November, exploring collaborative approaches to ‘place-making’ and culture-driven regeneration in Devon and Cornwall.