Daughters of the Soil – Joanne Coates

The Gymnasium Gallery  |  2 April – 5 June 2022

Image courtesy Joanne Coates

Daughters of the Soil is the culmination of twelve months research by documentary photographer Joanne Coates into the role of women in agriculture in Northumberland and the Scottish Borders.

The work was produced during a residency with Maltings and Newcastle University’s Centre for Rural Economy (CRE) and Institute for Creative Arts Practice, which enabled the artist to collaborate with Professor Sally Shortall, Duke of Northumberland Chair of Rural Economy at CRE whose research focuses on gender relations in agriculture.

Women make up 15% of the farming industry in the UK and their contribution is significant but often overlooked, with underlying barriers such as access to land, class, motherhood, and lack of clear leadership roles assisting this.

Despite playing a central role in agricultural progress throughout history, documentation of female farmworkers is slim. Daughters of the Soil aims to redress this and create a powerful portrait of the role women play in contemporary farming practices.

Joanne Coates is a photographer, storyteller and socially engaged artist. Her work has been featured in The Guardian, BBC, Financial Times, The Telegraph and The British Journal of Photography. She is a winner of the Magenta Foundation Flash Forward Awards and in 2021 she was joint awardee of the Jerwood / Photoworks Prize.

Daughters of the Soil was commissioned by Maltings in partnership with Newcastle University’s Centre for Rural Economy and Institute for Creative Arts Practice with the support of Arts Council England.