Food and craft event to celebrate local tradition

Artist Gayle Chong Kwan.

Artist Gayle Chong Kwan.

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An event celebrating the North East’s traditional food and crafts will take place at the former Easington Colliery pit site

Internationally-known artist Gayle Chong Kwan will host The Pan Hag Field Kitchen at the old colliery, which is now a nature reserve

The free outdoor event, which will include craft demonstrations and workshops, will also give the opportunity for members of the public to vote for their favourite pan haggerty recipe in the Pan Hag Championship.

Pan haggerty, also known as panaculty or panack, is a traditional regional dish made with potatoes, meat and cheese.

It was a favourite amongst miners and there are a number of variations on the recipe.

The event, set to take place on Saturday, October 1, from noon to 5pm, is the culmination of two years of research, events, and activities delivered by Gayle Chong Kwan in East Durham.

Based in London, she has visited the area numerous times since May 2014 to develop a participatory artwork that celebrates the area’s rich heritage, produce, and pastimes in the form of walks, stories, memories, pictures, and recipes.

Along with items from the Pan Hag Field Kitchen event, Gayle’s work will form a printed legacy of the project, The Pan Hag Map – a new alternative guide to East Durham, which will be available from early next year.

Gayle said: “I’m delighted to invite people to experience and share the skills, memories, and stories of East Durham through this unique event, held on such a special site, and am excited that through this, they’ll have the opportunity to contribute to ‘The Pan Hag Map’.

“The people and places of East Durham have become very special to me, and I hope that through my art project I can highlight the area’s amazing cultural heritage, make new experiences, and provide different perspectives on this fascinating place.”

Throughout the afternoon, local enthusiasts will be working with Gayle to lead a series of activities.

These will include peg looming and bunting workshops, woodturning demonstrations, food tasting and recipe sharing, sea glass collecting, creative nature walks and art and craft sessions. Visitors will be invited to cast their vote at the world’s first Pan Hag Championship, sampling local pan haggerty/panaculty recipes, prepared using the on-site field kitchen, to help judge the ‘People’s Choice’ award at 4.30pm.

Debbi Lander, of Forma Arts & Media, added: “The chance for an artist to work over such an extensive period and so deeply with local communities is a special opportunity that enabled Gayle to explore novel ways of working and to create something new.

“The idea of relating the resources she found in the local area to the concept of ‘the Field Kitchen’ is visionary and playful.

“We hope the event will inspire people to get involved in making their own field kitchen, as a means of reconnecting people to each other, their local environment and cultural heritage.”

The Pan Hag Field Kitchen was commissioned as part of East Durham Creates, a cultural programme which aims to get more people involved in arts and creative activity.

Admission to the Pan Hag Field Kitchen is free.

For more information about The Pan Hag Field Kitchen, visit www.eastdurhamcreates.co.uk/panhag