Tracing the Landscape: Cumbrian Farm Women, Patricia MacKinnon-Day has been commissioned by Arts Council England and Lakeland Arts.
Patricia MacKinnon-Day has been invited to make work which responds to the work and life of Cumbrian farm women. This multimedia exhibition explores the challenges faced by women striving for independence and recognition in their social and cultural roles. The project compares and contrasts the lives of similar individual in different geographic locations and delves deeper to reveal what makes them unique. Tracing the Landscape: Cumbrian Farm Women examines female roles in farming, their hopes, frustrations and place in an industry often seen as a ‘man’s world’. They each have wide-ranging, passionate and differing views on their industry, but are united as women farmers.
To these five women, farming is not a job but a way of life. It is in their blood. Male voices around farming are well-documented, however, women are often overlooked. Women farmers always seem pushed into the background. The aim of this exhibition and research is to bring the stories of this often marginalised group to the fore.
The five sheds offer personal narratives of the women, layered with individual films and audio; historic agricultural objects from the Museum of Lakeland Life & Industry, part of Lakeland Arts collections, as well as personal domestic and agricultural possessions and materials chosen by the women.
Mackinnon-Day uses the word ‘palimpsest’ to describe her process of excavating and investigating multiple layers of a place over a significant time-period. The element of time in this work is crucial: from the historical to the contemporary; researching a place; embedding herself within a place; making the work, writing about the work; and, finally, installing the work after it is completed.