Despatches from Dorset
Rural life is largely invisible. You can hardly glimpse it in the glossy prettiness of county magazines. BSE, the Countryside Alliance or Foot and Mouth Disease make bleak and angry headlines for a time, but then, when they report the countryside at all, the media put on rose-tinted spectacles and revert to picturesque clichés.
Although conurbations and countryside are interdependent, publishing and broadcasting tend to be metropolitan. Side-stepping the urban media and speaking for ourselves is simply a question of respect and self-esteem.
That is why Land Writes gathered writers together in contrasting parts of rural Dorset – the Piddle Valley, Sturminster Newton and Powerstock – to discover and explore what they wanted to say about country life now.
It was an Artsreach project, led by Paul Hyland with collaborators George Wright (photographer) and Helen Day (writer). In the name of Land Writes they added a few vivid paragraphs, stories and poems, some modest footnotes to the life story of Dorset.