Women in agriculture celebrated in new exhibition

Paula by Joanne Coates.

Women in agriculture will be celebrated in a new photographic exhibition, Daughters of the Soil, by award-winning documentary photographer Joanne Coates.

The exhibition will be held in The Garden Rooms at Tennants, Leyburn, from August 16 to September 4.

This work was initially created by Joanne through Maltings Visual Arts in Berwick in partnership with Newcastle University’s Centre for Rural Economy and Institute for Creative Arts Practice, focusing on the women of Northumberland.

However, the series of portraits has been expanded for this exhibition to focus on telling the stories of women from traditional farming communities in Wensleydale, Swaledale and Coverdale.

Joanne Coates lives and works in the Dales.

She collaborated with Professor Sally Shortall, an expert on gender and agriculture at Newcastle University, to document the role of women in contemporary farming practices.

Joanne said: “Women’s contribution to the farming industry is significant but often overlooked. There are underlying barriers such as access to land, class, motherhood, and lack of clear leadership roles.

“When tasked with imagining a farmer, who comes to mind? Women make up 15% of the farming industry in the UK, but despite playing a central role in agricultural progress throughout history, documentation of female farmworkers is slim. Over time, the stories of women who have shaped the land have been left unheard.”

The artist uses the medium of photography to explore themes relating to Northern culture and working-class life in rural places, with a strong emphasis on community.

She has exhibited both in the UK and internationally, in venues such as the Royal Albert Hall and Somerset House and has had commissions for the BBC, Vice, The Guardian, The Financial Times, and The Telegraph.

The exhibition at Tennants in Leyburn will be open daily from 9am to 5pm (closed bank holidays) and is free to enter.