The Maltings (Berwick) Trust and Newcastle University appoints artist Emily Cropton to explore wellbeing in rural communities

3 July 2024

Emily is multidisciplinary artist based in the Scottish Borders whose socially engaged practice encompasses visual art, landscape architecture, teaching and creative producing. She works primarily in rural contexts and explores the interaction between dynamic social and environmental systems, cycles and processes.

The Maltings (Berwick) Trust and Newcastle University’s Centre for Rural Economy and Institute for Creative Arts Practice partnership supports the exchange and sharing of knowledge between artists and researchers to inform critical responses to contemporary rural issues.

The commission has been informed by research from the University that has demonstrated how living in a rural area can have a significant impact on individuals’ wellbeing, both positively and negatively.

Emily will work with the partners as well as researchers at the University’s Population Health Sciences Institute to document and respond to the theme of wellbeing in rural communities, with a specific focus on the relationship between the human and landscape body.

Upon appointment Emily said: “I’m delighted to be working on this commission with The Maltings and Newcastle University. My residency will be exploring the wellbeing of rural communities and its relationship to place and landscape, a subject that is significant to me professionally and personally. I’m looking forward to learning from the people and landscapes of Northumberland, and to developing the work in conversation with researchers. The opportunity to work in this way, between theory and practice, will be a new approach for me and I’m excited to get stuck in.”

Dr Carmen Hubbard, Reader in Agricultural Economics and Policy at Newcastle University said: “We are delighted to welcome Emily Cropton as the new artist in residence to undertake this research. Health and wellbeing is without doubt an important topic and Emily’s multidisciplinary approach to art, her work experience within a rural context and her enthusiasm for collaborating with academics, will contribute to pushing the boundaries of cross-disciplinary working practices across the University. She will work with academics across the three faculties to inform critical responses to a very important contemporary rural issue.”

Emily was selected for the research commission from over 60 applications by a panel including James Lowther – Head of Visual Arts, The Maltings; Richard Talbot Director, Institute for Creative Arts Practice and Professor of Contemporary Drawing; Carmen Hubbard, Reader in Agricultural Economics and Policy, Centre for Rural Economy; Christina Dobson, Senior Research Associate and Jennifer Deane, Research Assistant, Population Health Sciences Institute from Newcastle University.