Here's To Thee! The Social World of Cider

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  • Tel: +44 (0)1937 546546
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  • From £5 – £10 Concessions available

All about cider, from microbes to music, history to production

This event takes place at the British Library.

Part of the British Library Food Season Super Sunday. Day pass and single session tickets available.

Discover the world of cider with the team involved in Here’s to Thee!, a project which explores the ancient custom of the Wassail, ‘awakening’ apple trees, scaring away evil spirits and ensuring a good harvest come autumn. Artist Simon Pope, anthropologist Harry G West, singers Jim Causley and Bill Murray and cider-makers Polly and Mat Hilton, delve into the practice of the wassail through discussion, film, song and, most importantly, cider.

This event is part of the British Library Food Season 2023

Simon Pope is a contemporary artist whose work has focused on the internet's social and technical networks, walking with others and, most recently, collective explorations of more-than-human social worlds. He represented Wales at the Venice Biennale of Fine Art (2003) and was a member of award-winning collective I/O/D (1993-2000). His artwork is often made in collaboration with other artists and researchers, and through partnerships with universities and museums. Pope is currently a Research Associate at the University of Exeter and an Eccles Fellow at the British Library.

Harry G West is Professor of Anthropology at the University of Exeter. He has studied food and agriculture, agrarian social history, and rural political economy for over 30 years. He conducted ethnographic fieldwork in northern Mozambique between 1991 and 2007, focusing on peasant access to land in the contexts of the struggle for independence, state socialism, and post-socialist economic and political liberalisation. He has worked on heritage foods and the cultural economy since 2007, with a focus on artisan cheesemaking in Europe and North America. His work on cider has emerged out of an interest in fermentation and the relationship between microbial cultures and human cultures. He convenes the University of Exeter Masters in Food Studies, and is Lead of Exeter Food: A University Research Network.

Jim Causley is a folk-singer, award winning songwriter, musician, proud Devonian and all-round entertainer. He grew up in a wassailing village not far from Sidmouth Folk Festival, sang with Wren Music before heading to Newcastle University to study on their brand new degree course in Folk & Traditional Music. He rose to prominence singing with The Devil's Interval and Mawkin:Causley as well as touring with Waterson:Carthy and David Rotheray. In recent years his work has focused on his musical settings of poems by his relative Charles Causley, penning his own songs and reviving lost gems from his home county.

Polly and Mat Hilton are the cider-makers behind Find & Foster. Based in Huxham, East Devon, their project is to rediscover Devon’s lost orchards, and work with farmers to help breathe life back into traditional orchards on their farms; to prevent further decline and the extinction of important local apple varieties and work towards creating balanced, biodiverse ecosystems, that thrive with wildlife and require minimal human intervention. This approach serves to make use of rare and brink-of extinction apple varieties that would otherwise be wasted, resulting in delicious, complex ciders. Their low-intervention cider-making allows these apples to serve as a true expression of terroir, and has been heralded by The Guardian, The Times and Condé Nast Traveller amongst others.

This event will not be live-streamed.

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Name: Here's To Thee! The Social World of Cider
Where: British Library St Pancras
When: -
Price: From £5 – £10
Concessions available
Enquiries: +44 (0)1937 546546
Book now

* Please note that there is a £1.50 transaction fee when tickets are posted, or for telephone sales when an e-ticket is requested.