Centre for Rural Economy

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Contemporary rural arts practice

Centre for Rural Economy senior lecturer Menelaos Gkartzios, and research associate Fran Rowe have spent the past fortnight in Japan as part of the Contemporary Arts in Rural Development research network. They were joined by project partner Matt Baker from The Stove Network, artist Lucy May Schofield and senior lecturer in Northumbria University’s Fine Art department Julie Crawshaw.

The project is funded by the UK’s Research Councils (AHRC and ESRC UK-Japan Social Sciences, Arts and Humanities Connections grant), and involves an international network of UK-Japanese international stakeholders with expertise in contemporary arts practice, rural community development and rural planning.

Along with Newcastle University’s Centre for Rural Economy and Institute for Creative Arts Practice, the network involves academics at the University of Tokyo and other stakeholders in both the UK and Japan, including Berwick Visual Arts, Scotland’s Stove Network and Tokyo-based Art Front Gallery.

The network has been established with aims to develop a new research agenda on the role of contemporary arts in rural development policy and theory. Following on from a visit by Japanese colleagues earlier this year at Newcastle University, the two-week reciprocal visit to explore Japanese perspectives has been a resounding success ensuring input from prolific policy, art and academic stakeholders in the field.

During the visit, the project team presented their work at a day conference held at the University of Tokyo, co-hosted by the Japanese Association of Rural Planners. The team visited Tokyo’s Art Front Gallery to learn about its approach to public art, and travelled to several rural arts events. These include visits and network events hosted by the prestigious Echigo-Tsumari and Setouchi arts festivals.

Already the team are discussing several lessons that have been learnt from Japan and the UK and how this can lead to ongoing collaborations.

Read more about the project, including the latest updates in the new website specific to this project: https://conferences.ncl.ac.uk/ruralarts/

Contemporary Rural Arts - Japan Visit

published on: 4 June 2019