A 100-Mile Conversation (12A)

Tuesday 28th April 2015
7pm at 7a Vyner Street, London E2


In spring 2013 Nathan Burr and Louis Buckley walked the length of the South Downs Way, starting in Winchester and ending at Beachy Head. Along the way they walked and talked with everyone from farmers and psychologists to therapists and writers to explore the connections between suicide, mental health, myth and landscape. This film documents the chain of conversations that took place over their nine-day journey.

Louis Buckley creates live events, talks and participatory activities. He grew up in the shadow of the South Downs and has a longstanding interest in the intersection between biology and art, and changing ideas about nature and the countryside.

Nathan Burr is a Brighton-based artist and designer. Nathan aimlessly wanders into spaces of conjuncture to design new rituals that re-imagine human narratives contained within past, present and future landscapes.

Film Screening and Conversation:

Tuesday 28th April 2015 at 7pm
7a Vyner Street, London E2

Food and drinks as usual.

For more information e-mal kathrin(at)myvillages.org



From a Village to the World

Saturday 21st March at 3pm
7a Vyner Street, London E2

With Ana Džokić and Marc Neelen, STEALTH.unlimited


In 1950s socialist Yugoslavia, Rajka and Vukašin Borojević (Ana’s grandparents) created a number of initiatives involving workers and villagers. From there endeavours, and in particular a large scale rural women textile cooperative, we look at how their work resonates today with principles of self-organisation, collectivity, radical education, emancipation or the empowerment of women, while setting out to be both entrepreneurial and economically viable.

Images: Dragačevo Women Cooperative, 1956 / 1960


Haystacks 2015

Talking rural in public in London starts in late February this year and Haystacks will be back in full swing from March 2015 onwards.

A few dates so far:

Saturday 28th February 2015 at 12.15pm
Re-Imagining Rurality Conference
Keynote paper by Kathrin Böhm and Miranda Pope,
presenting Company: Movements, Deals and Drinks
University of Westminster, London

Sunday 15th March at 11pm
Community Haystack Meeting
A first meeting to set up a support group for
the annual Community Haystacks on the Walthamstow Marshes
Waterworks, Lammas Road, London E10 7QB

Saturday 21st March at 3pm
With Ana Džokić, Stealth Unltd
On a large scale women’s textile coop set up by
her grandmother in rural Serbia after WW2.
7a Vyner Street, London E2

Saturday 23rd May at 2pm
With author Melanie McGrath
On her research into East End life and going hop-picking,
followed by a reading from her book ‘Hopping’.
At Dagenham Library, Dagenham Heathway

Wednesday 10th June at 7pm
An Edge Effect
Art and Ecology in the Nordic Landscape

Book launch with Bonnie Fortune (ed)
7a Vyner Street, London E2 9DG

Saturday 01 and Sunday 02 August
Lammas Land Community Haystack
Scything, talks and haystack making
Walthamstow Marshes, East London


Kraut instead of Hay


There is no big December Haystack as such, but if you fancy taking part in the long standing Anglo-German tradition of making sauerkraut together (we’re in our fourth year now!) please come along to my studio this Sunday 30th November to slice, stamp and seal. You can pick up your portion two weeks later during our X-mas social.

Sunday 30th Nov, 3-5 pm, 7a Vyner Street, London E2.


Haystack 15: Kosovo Haystack Collection with Lala Meredith Vula

O Friday 14 November at 7pm
7a Vyner Street, London E2

Lala Haystacks contact LR

Since 1989 Lala Meredith Vula has been taking photographs of Albanian farmers’ haystacks. Her collection comprises photos from over 1000 haystacks, taken during the various seasons and documenting their various forms of completion. During this time she would also follow the haystack makers, spend time with farmers and find out as much as she could about haystacks.
The Haystack Series was originally shown during Next Phase in Wapping Pumping Station (1990) and at the Photographer’s Gallery (1991), coinciding with Claude Monet’s show at the Royal Academy. Tim Hamilton from the Guardian called her show ‘the alternative haystack show’!

Lala Meredith Vula (1990):
‘My starting point for the haystacks series was the question: “What is art?”
Having studied art for many years and visited many galleries throughout the world I soon found that the context of a work of art played a major part on where it is placed. For all my research, it took my returning home to discover the real significance of my search, it was in the fields of my former home town that I witnessed a way of life as old as the land itself where farmers went about their business, everything had its place. Within all this, I saw that somehow the farmers were unconsciously creating strange, sculptures that had the presence of modern sculptural pieces. Here part of my search was over. I had found the meeting place between my new world of art, being an artist, and my past, in the landscape of Kosova.’


Christine Frisinghelli about Lala, Camera Austria 2010

‘Lala Meredith Vula explores the question of the significance of tradition, origin and female identity in deferent ways in her photographic works: frequently we encounter a women dressed in traditional Albanian costume, posing at historic locations or in rural settings. Her experience as an international artist is only in apparent contradiction here to the photos of her home country side in Kosova, In which for many years she has photographed haystacks. In this way, she also raised the question as to the essence of art, the creation of form, and the experience of beauty: we may read these very individual figures as sculptures, but according to Lala Meredith Vula they are above all else a testimony to work in a farming community in which everything has its proper place, use and time.’

David Chandler about Lala’s work for the The Photographers’ Gallery

Lala Meredith-Vula’s compelling black and white photographs focus on the extraordinary architectural and sculptural forms of haystacks in Former Yugoslavia. The haystacks are built around precarious wooden frames, and as the hay is gradually removed for use, they take another life, reshaped into haunting and strangely anthropomorphic structures. In order to highlight these qualities Meredith-Vula’s approach is straightforward yet dramatic. Using a uniformly frontal viewpoint with a low camera angle, she has emphasised outline while disguising the haystacks’ true scale. In reality they vary in size, but in these photographs they invariably loom large and tower-like, dominating idyllic rural settings glimpsed only in the background. Meredith-Vula’s fascination with the seemingly endless variety of haystack forms, with their combinations of disfigured clumps of hay and fragile wooden poles, has led her to compile what amounts to a bizarre typology – one that brings to mind the work of Bernd and Hilla Becher. Like their gas tanks and blast furnaces Meredith-Vula’s haystacks are ‘anonymous sculptures’ and she documents them like works of art. But, they are also functional elements of a seasonal landscape, destined to disintegrate and disappear, and these photographs record a temporary beauty that seems to encapsulate the severe but rich character of a traditional way of life.

About Lala Meredith-Vula
Lala Meredith-Vula was born in Sarajevo in 1966, moving to England in 1970. She studied art at Trent Nottingham University and at Goldsmiths’ College in London where she graduated with a degree in 1988. This work was completed between 1988 and ’90 with the aid of a Yugoslavian Government Scholarship. This is the artist’s first solo exhibition in London.

Haystack 14: Heathrow Orchard Walk (autumn version)

Heathrow Orchard Walk (autumn version)
with Kate Corder
Sunday 14 September 2014, 1.30-5pm

In spring 2014 towards the end of apple blossom, a first Heathrow Orchard Walk took the form of a guided tour between Sipson and Harmondsworth village, searching for evidence of orchards and apple trees. Haystack number 14 will revisit this tour of contradictions, extremes and unexpected London landscapes during apple harvest time.


Prior to the building and expansion of Heathrow Airport the area surrounding both villages flourished with market gardens and orchards growing food for local communities and London. Kate Corder will take a guided walk across the land which is a potential site for the heavily contested third runway.

The walk starts at the gates of Transition Heathrow, a multi acre squat in an old market garden at the village of Sipson. We then walk from Sipson, passing the former Greenpeace Airplot orchard (no longer there) to Harmondsworth (1.1miles) to visit the grave of Richard and Ann Cox in St Mary’s churchyard (the Coxs grew the first Orange Pippen apple). Next to the churchyard lies the Grade 1 listed 600 year old Harmondsworth Barn, which is going to be open to the public the same day.

On route Kate is going to discuss the history of cultivation in the area and screen artist Tom Ingate’s Apple Tree Orchestra performance on a mobile phone.

The last part of the walk takes us to the Sheraton Heathrow Hotel, either directly along the main road or the Duke of Northumberland River Path. After visiting the apple orchard in the hotel garden, the Haystack ends with drinks in the Sheraton Discovery Bar.

Schedule: times and locations

Our first meeting point is at West Drayton train station (TFL zone 6) at 1.30pm (trains from Paddington take 20 minutes). From there we take the 222 bus (towards Hounslow) to Sipson. If you are travelling on the Underground meet us at Grow Heathrow in Sipson Village at 2pm. (Take the Piccadilly Line to Hounslow West and then take Bus 222 toward Uxbridge and get off at Sipson Close). Transition Heathrow is a minute walk away from the bus stop, turn right onto Sipson Lane and left onto Vineries Close and find their gate.

Addresses along the way and approximate times:

2pm – Transition Heathrow, Grow Heathrow, Vineries Close, Sipson, West Drayton, UB7 0JH.

3.30pm – Richard Cox’s grave, St Marys, High Street, Harmondsworth, UB7 OAQ.

4pm- Harmondsworth Barn, The Great Barn, Manor Court, High Street, Harmondsworth, UB7 0AQ.

5pm- Sheraton Heathrow Hotel, Colnbrook By-Pass, Harmondsworth, UB7 0HJ.

From the Sheraton we can take buses (U3 or 350) back to West Drayton or Heathrow Underground station.

If you attend this walk please respect the local community and do not scrump their apple trees unless the trees seem neglected.

Dr Kate Corder is an artist, researcher and curator. Her PhD explores allotments, plant material, land cultivation and products of the garden.

To get in contact on the day call Kathrin on 07941 696515.

Community Haystack on the Walthamstow Marshes, 1-3 August 2014


Community Haystacks
invites everyone with an interest in the history and current use of the marshes to take part, with the aim to reintroduce annual communal harvest events to the former Lammas Land.

The Walthamstow Marshes are one of the last expanses of semi-natural marshland left in London, and were formerly used widely for grazing and haymaking. Since 1985 the land has been designated a Site of Special Specific Interest (SSSI) and is now managed by the Lee Valley Regional Park. Traditionally the Marshes were considered “common land” and Lee Valley Regional Park now conserves the Marshes using an ancient system of management, where hay is cut on Lammas Day (1 August).

The event takes place on the Lammas Meadows behind the Lee Valley Ice Rink on Lea Bridge Road. For event bookings and further information visit: visitleevalley.org.uk/haystacks


Scything Lessons
Friday and Saturday, 1-2 August, 1.30pm & 4.30pm
Scything expert Clive Leeke will run two-hour workshops (priced at £5, includes tools and refreshments), which will include practical experience of different scything methods as well as information about the numerous advantages of traditional scything.
Book your tickets now.

Alternatively, if you’re a dab-hand at sycthing, why not just come along!

Friday and Saturday, 1-2 August, 7pm
Free talks on the Marshes and the chance to discuss broader issues related to the history, management and current use of the site. Invited speakers include artist and architect Céline Condorelli, food grower and conservationist Fiona Fiona McAllister (Growing Communities), artist Alana Jelinek and a representative from the New Lammas Land Defence Committee.

Haystack Making
Sunday, 3 August, 12-4pm
Day three will be dedicated to gathering hay and building haystacks. This is a family friendly event and guests are invited to bring their own picnic and join in the making of the largest haystack the Marshes have seen for while! The park rangers will also offer guided walks around the meadows with first-hand information about the wildlife, plants and land management.

The event co-organised by the Lee Valley Regional Park Rangers together with artists Kathrin Böhm and Louis Buckley.

This year’s ‘Haystack’ follows on from a first public haystack making on the marshes in 2013. Click here.


Haystack 12 Going down to Kent with Mark Watson, Saturday 24 May

From the early 19th century each summer over 200,000 east Londoners – mostly women and children – would ‘go down to Kent’, for temporary seasonal work harvesting apples, berries, hops and other crops. This annual event came to an end in the 1950s.


The tradition of hop picking in Kent reminds us of London’s closeness to the countryside and relationships between urban communities and rural production, workforces and harvest seasons, economic needs on both sides and the excitement of going somewhere else – even if it’s a working holiday.

Mark Watson will talk about this tradition of “going down to Kent” and the changes in beer cultures and beer production over the last centuries.


The talk takes place on
Saturday 24th May at 2pm
at Valence House
Becontree Avenue
Dagenham RM8 3HT

Nearest train station is Chadwell Heath (15 min from Stratford).

The talk is part of Myvillages’ new project ‘Company. Movements, Deals and Drinks’ which takes place in Dagenham and links the history of ‘hopping’ with the ambition to set up a new community drinks enterprise.

Haystack 11 Heathrow Orchards with Kate Corder on Sunday 27 April

IMG_3130 IMG_3136 IMG_3150IMG_3253 IMG_3193IMG_3315 IMG_3307 IMG_3329
The next Haystack takes the form of a tour to various orchards and apple related sites around London’s Heathrow area.

Kate Corder is interested in the Thames Valley Corridor as a former apple tree orchard cultivation area, which included Heathrow prior to the building of the airport. It is still undecided if or when a Third Runway will be built at Heathrow. Kate will direct a walk searching for apple tree blossom along one of the potential runway sites in the public domain. The walk will meet at Transition Heathrow, a squat in an old market garden at the village of Sipson, then walk to Harmondsworth to visit the grave of Richard Cox, who grew the first Cox’s Orange Pippen apple. The walk will continue to the Sheraton Hotel at Heathrow, where the managers planted an orchard, and the Haystack ends with drinks at the Discovery Bar.

Kate Corder is bringing a bag full of apple stories and histories to have along our tour – hopefully just in time for apple blossom.

Read Kathrin’s reflections on the walk on the Guardian’s Comment is Free website here.

Our first meeting point is at West Drayton train station (TFL zone 6) at 1.30pm (trains from Paddington take 20 minutes), there we will get the 222 bus (towards Hounslow) to Sipson. If you are coming on the Underground meet us at Grow Heathrow in Sipson Village at 2pm. (Take the Piccadilly Line to Hounslow West and then take Bus 222 toward Uxbridge and get off at Sipson Close). Grow Heathrow is a minute walk away from the bus stop, turn right onto Sipson Lane and left onto Vineries Close, where you will find the entrance.

Grow Heathrow is the market garden set up by Transition Heathrow. Here Kate is going to introduce the site and apple history followed by an I Phone screening of artist Tom Ingate’s “Apple Tree Ochestra” performance.

From there we’ll be walking to Harmondsworth (1.1miles), passing the former Greenpeace Airplot. Artist Jo Thomas will be remembering the apples trees planted and twinned in support of Greenpeace Airplot.

In Harmondsworth we will go to St Mary’s church and visit Richard Cox’s grave in the churchyard. Here, Kate will read a short essay on Richard Cox and apples.

We will then walk to the Sheraton Hotel Heathrow for a drink at the Discovery Bar, and visit the orchard planted by managers two years ago in the hotel garden.

From there we take a bus back (U3 and 350) back to West Drayton or Heathrow tube.

Addresses along the way:

Transition Heathrow, Grow Heathrow, Vineries Close, Sipson, West Drayton, UB7 0JH

Richard Cox’s grave, St Marys, High Street, Harmondsworth, UB7 OAQ

Sheraton Hotel Heathrow, Colnbrook By-Pass, Harmondsworth, West Drayton UB7 0HJ

Kate Corder is an artist, researcher, curator of Cultivation Field and her recent PhD explores allotments, plant material and land cultivation.

Haystack 10 Care and Crisis with Kim Trogal on Thursday 20 March 2014

In her presentation ‘Care and crisis: ethical economies in subsistence practices’ Kim Trogal is going to explore questions around the emotional and ethical aspects of our economies. Whilst it might sound strange to speak of the relation of money and feelings, the economic aspects of our lives structure our relations (and spaces) in ways that are often not perceptible. Via an abridged history of the English commons, mutual aid in a rural German village and some of the subsistence practices of Romanian women, the paper suggests that to be resilient again today, we need to (re)embed our economies in our everyday lives.

Kim Trogal is a teacher at the Sheffield School of Architecture. Her PhD research, ‘Caring For Space’ focused particularly on new, ethical spatial practices using feminist methods and concepts. She is currently working with Irena Bauman and Doina Petrescu, developing a new research platform in the School of Architecture, on local resilience.

Haystack 09 “Care and Crisis”
Thursday 20 March, 7-9pm
Tin Tin Room
Open School East

Old Rose Lipman Library
43 De Beauvoir Rd
London N1 5SQ