New museum exhibit puts the spotlight on the story of a Derbyshire Hill

Hill is the story of one Derbyshire hill told in photography, film, sculpture, poetry and song.

The hill featured in the exhibit rises north from Wirksworth. It is home to families, wildlife, farming, quarries, mine shafts and wind turbines.

The museum worked with award-winning photographer Kate Bellis who has spent the last 20 years documenting the relationships between rural communities and the land around them. Kate's images feature the working life of the hill − farming and quarrying − as well as images of the community that lives in the shelter of the hill.

Alongside Kate's photographs the exhibition features a full-sized dairy cow made from the materials of the hill itself, partly using Longcliffe Limestone, by acclaimed sculptor Sally Matthews. Sally's animal sculptures can be found across the UK and Europe.

Kate and Sally's work will be complemented by a film from Wirksworth-based film-maker Gavin Repton, poetry by Lucy Peacock and a song by Carol Fieldhouse. The works will also feature in a book with accompanying DVD to be published in March.

Councillor Barry Lewis, Council Leader and Cabinet Member for Strategic Leadership, Culture and Tourism, said:

"This exciting project offers us a window into a Derbyshire community, the landscape that shaped it, and its stories old and new.

"These five artists have shared their diverse talents with the people of the hill to create a unique project for Buxton Museum and Art Gallery and something that the whole community can be proud of."

Responding to the project Sunday Times journalist and local resident Matthew Parris said:

"For Under Milk Wood, Dylan Thomas had only poetry. To describe the hill behind Wirksworth, Daniel Defoe had only prose. But to capture this hill Kate Bellis, Sally Matthews, Lucy Peacock, Gavin Repton and Carol Fieldhouse use objects and images as well as words. I've spent happy hours walking (and tortured hours running) on the surface of this hill, but what lies beneath? What came before? What is the whole personality, the history, the identity, the society, the feeling of this place? I dare hope these artists are pioneering a new genre of storytelling."

Hill has been supported by Arts Council England, the Littoral Arts Trust and Longcliffe Quarries.


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