Songs, stories and vegetables and grain grown in Penryn helped to showcase the inspired work at the town’s Loveland Community Field at a unique event.
Volunteers have turned 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.
The 2022 Field Day, held on Saturday, showcased stories about Penryn’s relationship with food in the past, present and future. It was created and produced by the artists Small Acts (Katie Etheridge and Simon Persighetti) as part of the Creative Peninsula network, led by the University of Exeter and funded by UKRI.
There were four guides who each took a group of visitors around the field so they could meet different people involved in the project and try a variety of activities, poetically presented.
Penryn’s HUM choir sang songs with lyrics based on interviews with people who work in Loveland.
Visitors learned about lost grains which were grown in Cornwall and are now growing again in Loveland and walked through the grains project, among lentils, oats and other grains.
Visitors also learned about the history of the site and were shown medieval pottery uncovered when the field was ploughed recently.
There was a playful ‘reconvening’ of the St Gluvias Church Debating Society Association Football Club (SGDSAFC) who used to play on the field. Passing round a football, visitors debated how land should be used.
There was also an exhibition of work by Carys Boughton, who draws people volunteering in Loveland. Her illustrations have been printed on wood and installed in the garden, among the plants. Visitors were given a postcard and pencil to make their own drawings.
Visitors were able to visit the patch used to grow vegetables for the Falmouth Food Cooperative and were involved in planting beetroot.
Guides also introduced visitors to the use of herbs in ancient medicine, and how to find and identify plants. Attendees ate lunch together made from food grown on Loveland.
The work was commissioned by Dr Evelyn O’Malley and Professor Cathy Turner, for the Creative Peninsula project, which is led by Professor Tom Trevor.
Professor Turner said: “Performance is a wonderful way of bringing people, places and ideas into dialogue. We loved Small Acts’ proposal to work with the volunteers at Loveland to think about land use and food cultivation in Penryn. I’m bowled over by the way they have brought people together for this event”
“Our call to artists asked them to make a site-specific work, focused on the vibrant cultural activities that take place outdoors. We wanted to celebrate the peninsula’s distinctive landscapes, and the many ways that 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 Exmouth Beach Rescue Club to stage a day of performances on Exmouth beach.
Both performances will be documented in short films.
TheCreative Peninsula network based at the University of Exeter, has been established to explore collaborative approaches to place-making and culture-led regeneration in Devon and Cornwall, with a focus on increasing access and exchange between urban and rural communities, celebrating the region’s distinctive landscape and Atlantic coastline, and exploring its complex histories, through the arts. Professor Tom Trevor will be leading the programming of a summit at the Eden Project in November, exploring collaborative approaches to ‘place-making’ and culture-led regeneration in Devon and Cornwall.