Rural heritage and contemporary technology have collided in a vivid orange shepherd’s hut which appeared at Exeter Cathedral.
The hut was created by University of St Mark and St John academic Andy Visser as part of a film and sound project called OneHutFull.
The OneHutFull project is designed to raise awareness of hill farming on Dartmoor and particularly the increasingly rare Whitefaced Dartmoor Sheep Breed. Andy was commissioned to design, implement and install a multi-sensory immersive experience in the hut which meshes film and sound captured throughout the farming year on the moor.
Andy said: “The aim of this commission is to highlight the history of hill farming on Dartmoor through the use of film and surround sound. We wanted to take the hut, an essential part of the shepherd’s life, and fill it with an immersive experience for visitors to give them a flavour of the farming year, from the storms and snow to lambing and shearing – the whole lifecycle of the moor.”
A flock of Whitefaced sheep grazed on the green and went into the cathedral for the launch, which was attended by the Bishop of Exeter, the Dean of Exeter Cathedral and the Mayor of Exeter as well as a number of farmers and artisan producers working with wool.
OneHutFull was commissioned by the Whitefaced Dartmoor Sheep Breeders Association and masterminded by sheep farmer Paula Wolton using funding from the Heritage Lottery Fund.
Paula said: “If we don’t want to see hill farming on Dartmoor lost forever, we need to inspire a new generation of farmers, artisans, producers and consumers. To do that, we need to celebrate the innovators of today and demonstrate what could be achieved in the future. And we have to reach new audiences.”
Andy Viser will be running a series of educational workshops to engage children with the past, present and future of Dartmoor and will be producing papers covering several research strands for the project over the coming year.
The hut, which was custom built in Dorset will be in Exeter for three days and then goes on tour to other sites in Devon and around the country. For more information visit www.onehutfull.org.
Andy Visser is the Programme Leader for MSound (games) and a senior lecturer for the University’s Live Music course which is taught in Plymouth and Berlin.
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