This short film, produced by Sophie Hughes, is an outcome of the research project around the ‘Haughley Experiment’ that was initiated by Delfina Foundation resident Åsa Sonjasdotter, and conducted in collaboration with three students of the 2021-23 MA programme in Art & Ecology at Goldsmiths, University of London – Fatima Alaiwat, Sophie Hughes, and Linnea Johnels.

Titled Cultivating Stories: Haughley Experiment Re(Visit), Sophie Hughes’ 8 minute video explores archive, soil memory and artistic collaboration – themes emerging from the group’s research and sharing visuals captured during the process.

Over a period two months the four artists made multiple visits to the former site of the Haughley Experiment, in Suffolk, conducted research into its history in local archives, and established relationships with local residents and community groups, who had memories and personal archives related to the initiative.

The collective’s endeavours were shared with the public in one-day gathering – which revisted New Bells Farm, the original site of the Haughley Experiment about 40 years after it was ended – and explored and discussed the potential of traces left, the ideas and legacies of the seminal agricultural experiment, and invited further responses and contributions. A pamphlet produced for attendees can be viewed here.

The Haughley Experiment was a project initiated in 1939 by the non-conformist farmers, Alice Debenham, Kathleen Carnley and Eve Balfour. Working with the land, they compared the effect of organic, chemical, and mixed farming on soil over a period of thirty years.

Photos from ‘Chemical, Organic, and Mixed: A speculative (re)visit to the soils of the Haughley Experiment’