51 Voices artist

Adam is a contemporary practising artist who works at university level teaching Art at RSA and has run outreach projects in the last 5 years in primary schools across Reading. Adam’s practise engages with rural agricultural narratives owed to his personal background in dairying. He makes use of museum objects, agricultural materials and working rural landscapes to engage people of all ages and demographics in the cultural contemporary ecology of British agriculture.

51 Voices object

The magazine represents a snapshot of national agricultural life in 1951 allowing participants a glimpse into the heritage of British Agriculture. It provides the basis from which to work with the continued and unique history of British cattle breeding whilst acknowledging and understanding the changes the agricultural sector has undergone in the last 70 years with up-to-date comparable examples.

Adam’s work with The MERL as part of our 51 Voices project also featured in the June 2021 Farmers Weekly.

51 Voices activity

Adam, who uses art to educate, inform and explore agriculture, created HaikuMoo, giving participants the chance to understand more about dairy cows. This interactive website gives instructions on how to draw a dairy cow, while learning about dairy breeds and terminology.

HaikuMoo Weblink

As part of The MERL’s Public Programme, Adam ran a pilot workshop in April 2021 online via zoom with 10 participants for children aged 7-11 to test the HaikuMoo concept, before rolling out to school groups for in person and online delivery.

In June 2021 Adam worked with 60+ students from Year 5 and 6 at Redlands School. Adam reported that as a local, urban school, they relished the opportunity to work with a creative practitioner engaging with rural life and dairy farming. The workshops brought some of farm working to life by connecting directly with a museum object.

Participant feedback

All participants enjoyed the workshop and teachers spoke of Adam’s clear and informative teaching style. Technical terms about dairy farming and cattle breeds were carefully disseminated to maintain interest for students with unusual facts British agricultural heritage and farming practice.

Some found the drawing steps hard to follow with folding the paper – Adam modified by drawing the steps on the white board and numbering each segment on the sheet throughout the workshop.

Students were enthusiastic throughout the workshop and enjoyed the opportunity to interact (with Adam) in their class time after the restrictive impact COVID has had on the education sector.”

Artist reflection

The beauty of this instructional method of teaching using Jon Lockhart’s experimental use of Thing-Link software, is that this workshop is expandable in content; repeatable in format and widely accessible both as an online learning resource and as an in classroom learning aid. Both the students and the teachers really loved the interactivity of the HaikuMoo Thing-Link teaching aid. It brought a level of excitement and interest the workshop that may have been hard to replicate by other means. Participants at Redlands School were delighted to each receive a copy of a recent magazine, kindly donated by Farmers Weekly, especially for the workshops.”

Children holding up pictures they made in the HaikuMoo workshop

HaikuMoo was made possible through the generous support of Arts Council England and the Culture Recovery Fund. Even when we’ve been unable to welcome our communities in to The MERL Galleries, we’ve still been #HereForCulture.