Daughters of the Soil is the culmination of twelve months research by documentary photographer Joanne Coates into the role of women in agriculture in Northumberland and the Scottish Borders. The work was produced during a residency with Maltings Berwick, Newcastle University’s Centre for Rural Economy (CRE) and Institute for Creative Arts Practice.
Women make up 15% of the farming industry in the UK and their contribution is significant but often overlooked, with underlying barriers such as access to land, class, motherhood, and lack of clear leadership roles assisting this. Despite playing a central role in agricultural progress throughout history, documentation of female farmworkers is slim. Daughters of the Soil aims to redress this and create a powerful portrait of the role women play in contemporary farming practices.
Joanne is a photographer, storyteller and socially engaged artist; having grown up in rural North Yorkshire, she is based and remains deeply connected to the countryside. Collaborating with over 40 women from across the regions, this exhibition is a curated collection which explores issues women face in farming. The work combines documentary photography with socially engaged methods to create a distinctive visual motif rooted in lived experience.
In September 2022, Joanne will also be presenting a new commission as an awardee of the Jerwood/Photoworks Awards 4, alongside Heather Agyepong. Joanne is working collaboratively with 12 lower-income women participants across the rural North East of England for a period of 8 months — producing work through mapping, archives, sound and photography. Joanne will shed light on women’s contribution to the farming industry, where there are underlying barriers such as access to land, class, and motherhood.
The Jerwood/Photoworks Awards are a collaboration between Jerwood Arts and Photoworks, supported by print partner Spectrum Photographic. Previous recipients have included Silvia Rosi, Theo Simpson, Alejandra Carles-Tolrá, Sam Laughlin, Lua Ribeira, Matthew Finn, Joanna Piotrowska, and Tereza Zelenkova.
Find out more
Find out more about Daughters of the Soil exhibition, here.
Read about the 2022 Jerwood/Photoworks Awardees, here.
Read about Jerwood/Photoworks Awards project, here.