Shaping the Landscape – Newcastle

20th November, 1-2pm, Room 3.41 Armstrong Building, Newcastle University

Seminar: An artistic exploration of the impact of Brexit on rural communities

This project explores how Brexit will shape the future of land use, focusing on greener practices in energy production, agriculture and tourism. Although the role of agriculture in rural economy is perhaps disproportionately discussed, the agricultural landscape itself shapes our soils, waters, biodiversity and the aesthetic of the British countryside, and is part of the country’s emotional identity. However, in the light of Brexit and our exit from the Common Agricultural Policy – along with the real value of both total crop output and total livestock output continually dropping –  it is likely that how land is used and valued will change dramatically in the next decade.

With the reduction of funding from the EU in so many areas including agriculture, how will the government manage to support and encourage a positive vision of a post Brexit future? And are local communities on board and sufficiently involved in making these changes happen? Through interviews with communities from the Northumberland area, particularly farmers, land owners, conservation organisations and innovators of land based businesses we will find out how they predict the land use may change as a result of Brexit and how they relate to the changing rural landscape of a post-Brexit future.

This seminar presents the initial findings from the first phase of the project.  The artist Gemma Burditt and and Paul Cowie will discuss the findings and the next phase of the research.

The commission builds on the recently published report by the CRE ‘Brexit: Implications for the rural north of England’, led by Dr Paul Cowie


Gemma Burditt is a moving image artist, primarily working in installation, digital books, short films, commercials, music videos and projection design. With an innovative approach to film making often crossing techniques such as animation, live action, documentary and installation. She is interested in narrative and visual storytelling, exploring how individuals negotiate their own personal journeys in a wider context of environmental change.