Elder Vernacular


Commissioned by Fig/Sam Skinner and funded by Arts Council England. Elder Vernacular is one of two inaugural Fig projects, which has secured a long term base at Elder Stubbs allotments in Oxford. Elder Vernacular was a research project into the terrain immediately surrounding the allotment, and produced an artists palette of materials grounded in the East Oxford landscape.

The project asked what it might mean to (re)discover a visual ‘vernacular’ in the context of COVID-19 and climate change, which have both spurred city dwellers towards an embrace of the hyper-local, for physical and psychological sustenance. It took inspiration from the work of early researchers like Robert Plot, the historical surveyor of Oxfordshire’s landscape and folklore. Plot’s wide-ranging enquiry was re-purposed to answer contemporary needs for grounding in the landscape. The artistic materials and research developed were shared in workshops with the Recovery Group based at Restore on Elder Stubbs Allotments, and formed the basis of a temporary installation in Florence Park. A book containing samples of the paints developed was designed and printed by Julia Uteres at Common Books.