Tipping Points:

Cultural Responses to Wilding and Land Sharing in the North of England

Image by Somewhere Nowhere

We are reaching a ‘tipping point’ in the UK where more wildlife habitat is being restored than taken away. This unusually positive use of the term (along with the good news it denotes) is the inspiration for the AHRC-funded follow-on project ‘Tipping Points: Cultural Responses to Wilding and Land Sharing in the North of England’. Researchers at the University of Leeds are working with three partner organisations – Castle Howard, Wild Ennerdale and Stirley Community Farm – all of which are involved in planning and implementing schemes to increase biodiversity levels on their land, often involving modifications to farming practices.

Image by Somewhere Nowhere

A series of nature writing and creative art workshops in each of our three venues will centre on the concept of the ‘wild’, raising awareness of conservation initiatives, especially wilding and land sharing in collaboration with farmers, and eliciting creative responses from participants around the meanings, values, and possible futures of these landscapes. These responses will then feed into the land-use deliberations of our partner organisations, who are keen to broaden their public engagement.

Image by Amy-Jane Beer

A second strand of our activity is the ‘Love and Soil’ symposium at Castle Howard, which will bring together farmers, conservationists and arts and humanities practitioners. The symposium will look to open lines of communication in a fraught area of debate in which farmers often feel unfairly criticised for their methods, and to foster mutually supportive networks, in both practical and cultural terms, for farmers wishing to adopt a more ‘nature-friendly’ approach.

Image by Mary Colwell

Link to the project page on the UKRI Gateway to Research https://gtr.ukri.org/projects?ref=AH%2FT012358%2F1