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Future Landscapes

The future of agricultural landscapes through an artist’s eye

Published on: 16 September 2021

Centuries of agricultural practices have moulded the lie of the land across the country.

Rural communities

Several elements such as soil, waters and biodiversity have all been shaped to become part of the nation’s identity.

Recent political and environmental changes have had a great impact on this core industry. Our exit from the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP), the impending climate crisis, and the changes to how we use land is likely to have a dramatic effect over the next decade.

Illustrator and animator, Gemma Burditt, has worked in collaboration with Dr. Paul Cowie, Faculty Research Fellow at the Centre for Rural Economy, Newcastle University, to document the impact of these great changes on the rural communities. Over the past two years they worked with six land-based businesses throughout Northumberland to gain a deep understanding of this changing landscape.

The combination of a factual and creative approach has resulted in a unique exhibition informed by the results of their collaborative research. Gemma touches upon how communities may adapt to these pressing events and how our relationship could change with the physical nature of land itself. By combining the scientific and artistic worlds, this fascinating work is accessible to a wider audience.

Dr Cowie said: "The last two years has seen an unprecedented amount of change and disruption to communities everywhere. It’s also clear there is still a huge amount of uncertainty about what the future offers rural communities.

"It’s been a real pleasure to work with Gemma on this project to start to think about what the future may hold. I hope this exhibition helps start the debate about what the future may and should be.”

Artwork by Gemma Burditt

Imminent challenges

James Lowther, Head of The Maltings Visual Arts, said: The Maltings (Berwick) Trust was delighted to commission this special exhibition with support from Newcastle University (Centre for Rural Economy & Institute for Creative Arts Practice). It addresses imminent challenges for the agricultural and rural communities across the UK. At a time when there is so much uncertainty about the future, it is incredibly interesting to learn about how businesses are proactively working to adapt and embrace sustainable methods.”

 ‘Gemma Burditt: Future Landscapes’ exhibition is free to attend and is taking place from the 18th September to 24th October every Tuesday to Sunday between 11am and 4pm at The Gymnasium Gallery in Berwick Upon Tweed. Gemma will also be in conversation with Dr. Paul Cowie on the 23rd September at 7pm to discuss the project in more detail.  

 For further information about the exhibition please visit To book a free ticket to the artist talk on the 23rd September, please visit


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