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Reviews round-up: The Land We Live In, The Land We Left Behind exhibition

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Plus British socialism: The grand tour and WOW festival
Issue 2593
The exhibition explores the contradictions of rural life

The exhibition explores the contradictions of rural life

Much of the media have been reporting the ill-effects of highly processed food, so this exhibition is very timely.

The title comes from an old agricultural workers’ drinking toast, celebrating where they were and remembering where they had come from. The exhibition has three main threads.

The first element celebrates the rural past in its complexity and contradictions.

One display cabinet contains both an entrance ticket to a Luddite event and also William Nicholson’s class-snobbery riddled image of the “yokel”.

Another has a manifesto statement from the New Diggers next to a small display of Woman’s Own magazine alongside medals for cookery and craft.


One room juxtaposes a video installation of contemporary technological farming methods, against 16th century portraits consisting of fruit and vegetables. The final thread explores ways of thinking about, depicting, producing and consuming food.

The contradictions embedded in the relationships between people and land emerge in the room containing works challenging the dominant view of nature as a source of simple exploitation.

It contains a 1950s poster telling us that “farmers like Shell” and its production of petro-chemical based fertilisers.

This is an exhibition well worth seeing for the ways in which it explores the relationships within rural life over time.

It’s particularly important to look at how our attitudes to food have changed over time. And, in a world of climate chaos and shrinking natural resources, they need to change again.

Actions. The image of the world can be different.
Kettle’s Yard, Castle Street, Cambidge, CB3 0AQ Until 6 May. Free

British Socialism: The Grand Tour

BBC Radio 4

1.45pm weekdays and available on iPlayer

Ann McElvoy presents this history of British socialism.

In the first episode she takes a look at the life of 18th century socialist Robert Owen.

Future episodes will feature socialist feminism, the Fabian society, and Tony Benn. At 15 minutes long, these are ideal for a lunch break listen.

WOW—Women of the world

7-11 March. Various prices

Southbank Centre, Belvedere Road, London, SE1 8XX.

Now in it’s 8th year, the WOW festival is an eclectic mix of events from “speed mentoring” to drag king performances.

It also brings together activists at the forefront of Black Lives Matter and #MeToo campaigns.

Tickets for sessions can be pricey, but some talks are free.

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