Artist helps to improve Aberdeenshire farmers’ mental health

An award-winning artist has been appointed to take forward an innovative public art programme which seeks to tackle mental health issues in the agricultural community.

By Kevin McRoberts
Thursday, 2nd September 2021, 11:19 am
Nic Green (second right) with Lorna Paterson, NFUS manager (left); Sheila Waterhouse and farmer Tom Johnston.
Nic Green (second right) with Lorna Paterson, NFUS manager (left); Sheila Waterhouse and farmer Tom Johnston.

‘The Art of Farming’ is a project developed by Live Life Aberdeenshire’s Cultural Engagement team in partnership with Aberdeenshire’s farming community, National Farmers Union of Scotland and Robert Gordon University.

It has grown out of an increasing awareness of issues around poor mental health within the agricultural sector, and a desire to explore innovative and positive ways to improve farmers’ health and work-life balance.

Glasgow-based artist Nic Green will develop the project over the next nine months, bringing together what is anticipated to be a fertile mix of art and farming, where artist and farmers will share and exchange skills, knowledge, experiences and stories, and develop creative responses together.

Engagement in the arts is well documented in its ability to improve overall wellbeing for individuals and its power to build meaningful social connection.

Nic Green is a socially-engaged performance maker working across theatre, dance and site specific/outdoor performance, live art and ceramics. Her past work has received several accolades.

She carries an interest and experience in working with clay into the process and is hopeful that a hands-on investigation of the land upon which these farmers live and work, might yield interesting findings and processes.

“I’m really thrilled to be working with members of the Aberdeenshire farming community to create a collaborative artwork, starting from the ground up,” she said.

“The openness of the project and the willingness of all the partners to enter into the unknown together feels really exciting and unique. I am really looking forward to slowly uncovering what we will make over the next nine months.”

Sheila Waterhouse, Live Life Aberdeenshire cultural development officer, who secured funding for this project, said: “It has been such a pleasure working with all the partners involved in the development, including farmers.

"The commitment to address the seriousness of the issues and stories around life/work challenges that have come to light along the way, has been nothing short of uplifting.”