The Pomology Project
The Pomology Project was a contemporary art project that explored ideas of diversity through reimagining British orchard traditions and customs in an urban context. (Pomology is a branch of botany that studies and cultivates fruit). What might be termed ‘traditional’ English fruits are actually descended from central Asian ancestors and the project uses this botanical history to explore narratives relating to diversity/difference. These include thinking about racial heritage and the repercussions on citizenship, protecting territories and crops, celebrating difference in relation to mental health, biodiversity in the natural world and broadening the range of foods we eat (including our expectations about what apples should look and taste like).
The project included:
– A new contemporary Wassail (‘Waking Up The Winter with a CLANG’). A live performance at Kings Heath Library & Highbury Park that was attended by over 200 people. Co-created with the ‘Stick Around‘ group at Highbury Orchard Community and women at Ashiana Community Centre.
– The Cherry Minder, a new participatory artwork as sound sculpture developed in collaboration with musical instrument designer Sam Underwood.
– The Apple Store, produced with the help of Wade Muggleton’s orchard and local fruit whizz Rob Tilling. This bought 60+ heritage apples, housed on a bespoke display system, into the public domain for admiring with the eyes and belly.
Produced with artist Jo Capper in consultation with women from the Ashiana Community Centre.
The project was developed in collaboration with groups and partners across the city many of whom became pivotal in the development of ideas, content, props and costumes.
A live programme of activity took place throughout 2019 and 2020, due to be followed by exhibitions at University of Birmingham & Library of Birmingham. With Covid-19, these exhibitions were unfortunately suspended. So please enjoy our digital exhibition of the project content on the website, including archive material from the collection of Winterbourne House & Commonground.
Funded by Arts Council England, Birmingham City Council, University of Birmingham & STEAMhouse.