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University Museum launches online exhibition of food and farming images at Berkshire Show – University of Reading

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University Museum launches online exhibition of food and farming images at Berkshire Show

Release Date 16 September 2009

The University's Museum of English Rural Life (MERL) is playing a major part at this year's Royal County of Berkshire Show. MERL will be launching its final online exhibition from its digitisation project of over 13,000 images of British food, farming and the countryside. The latest images all come from the Farmer's Weekly Collection and represent subjects such as landscape, women in agriculture, education and training, and machinery.

Where – University of Reading Stand, Royal County of Berkshire Show, Newbury Showground

When - Saturday 19 September, 11am

Photo/Interview opps – At the launch, Dr Clare Griffiths (University of Sheffield), who is the current MERL Fellow, will speak about the research potential of the photographs, and Dr Jonathan Brown, MERL Honorary Fellow, will examine how photographers represented changes in the countryside during the 20th century. Staff from the project will be on hand to answer questions, to demonstrate the website, and to show members of the public how they can get involved via our Flickr group.

University of Reading Archivist Guy Baxter said: "In the year that Farmer's Weekly celebrates its 75th anniversary, it is fitting that examples of its historically significant photo-journalism in this area is being brought to a wide audience. The project aims to make a significant contribution to inspiring and shaping new areas of potential cross-disciplinary research on landscape and the environment. It will increase our understanding of British landscapes and environments and how they have been represented and addressed to specific rural audiences and how a photographic archive of this kind can be interpreted."

For details of the project please visit http://www.reading.ac.uk/merl/research/merl-digicountryimagesproject.aspx

For all media enquiries please contact James Barr, University of Reading Press Officer on 0118 378 7115 or by email on j.w.barr@reading.ac.uk

Notes for Editors:

The project has been generously funded by JISC as part of the Enriching Digital Resources programme, a strand of the Digitisation programme.

Dr Griffiths is a distinguished scholar of rural and agricultural history, with particular interests in agricultural policy and rural politics. Her books include 'Labour and the Countryside: the politics of rural Britain 1918-1939' and this new focus to her work will be innovative in exploring how photography as primary evidence in relation to analysing changes in the countryside (rather than solely as a source of contextual illustration).

The Museum of English Rural Life, in Redlands Road, Reading, was founded by the University of Reading in 1951 to reflect and record the changing face of farming and the countryside. It houses designated collections of national importance that span the full range of objects, archives, photographs, film and books. Today, it forms part of the University's Museums and Collections Service. The Museum operates as a major resource and research centre for the history of food, farming and the countryside with links into the School of History and other academic departments at the University.

The latest images all come from the Farmer's Weekly Collection and represent subjects such as landscape, women in agriculture, education and training, and machinery.

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