In its first stage, the SOIL+AiR project is exploring the possibilities of an on-farm, creative agroecology residency in Regional NSW. It would aim to bring together enquiring, creative interdisciplinary approaches of artists with the innovation and vision of farmers and land managers who are consciously doing things differently to ensure biodiversity outcomes alongside profitability. Any program established would be based on mutual respect, creativity, and shared benefits and outcomes centred on adaptive cultural change in the regions and their communities — places at the heart of food and fibre production in the Australia of the future. The project may potentially develop international connections with creatives and farmers working in the agroecology and rural/ regional futures space.
There are other creative rural social ecology projects of different formats in play in Regional Australia, but none with the potential to bring an intensive, investigative, contemporary creative lens to mainstream agriculture and those regions of the country producing the bulk of our rural commodities, and soon to be power generating hubs. This project aims to find a residency model or models that allow for the artist and farmer/ land manager to work closely together in mutual creativity, peeling back superficial, romantic notions of rural landscapes and communities, digging into where biodiversity conservation and sustainable food and fibre production might intersect now and in the future.
Lead artist (Australia): Kim V. Goldsmith
Regionally-based artist (Wiradjuri Country), Kim V. Goldsmith has decades of experience working in agriculture, natural resource management (NRM) and the arts. She is approaching this project from the perspective of someone raised on a large working farm in North Western NSW, who studied Systems Agriculture, and reported on rural industries as a specialist radio and print journalist; she farmed in the Central West of NSW for 10 years – 7 of them during the Millennium Drought; consulted on the marketing communications of food and fibre production, NRM projects and regenerative farming initiatives for 25 years; and has an interdisciplinary arts practice of 20+ years exploring the layers of nuance and complexity within rural and regional territories. Kim’s creative work includes site-specific, geo-located activities such as soundwalks, soundscapes, art video, writing and installation. She’s an experienced facilitator, educator, and arts administrator. Kim is the founder of ecoPULSE.art.
Stage 1: Scoping study (April – October 2023)
The Country Arts Support Program (CASP) grant for Stage 1 provides a modest artist fee to look at the merit, impact and viability of the project, initially, for an on-farm residency in Central West NSW. The scoping study will explore the relationship between creative and farmer, working through issues, needs/ wants, challenges/ opportunities, potential outcomes and partnerships. It will include a week with artists and farmers in Shropshire UK in July/August, looking at creative exchange models there, before Kim starts a pre-arranged artist residency in Scotland in August/September.
End of Stage 1: end of October 2023
Outcome: Scoping report and outline of a plan for further stages, including potential partnerships and funding options for a residency program.
If you’re interested in a conversation about the project or in potentially partnering as the project progresses, email Kim to organise a conversation.