Case studies

In order to answer the research questions the project will examine a small set of interconnected case studies that each highlights a specific aspect of the five identified digging themes:

  1. UK print media representations of digging, 2000-2012. This case operates at the institutional level and focuses on the different values of digging presented in the print media. In part it will search for coverage on allotments and growing your own to identify stories on digging. To keep the sample manageable main newspaper coverage will be analysed, excluding magazines and supplements. This to study the  ‘newsworthiness’ of digging and its associated media framing.
  2. The Winstanley Festival. Since 2011 The Wigan Diggers’ have organized an annual festival to allow people to find out about the life, writings, ideas and actions of Gerrard Winstanley, who was born and raised in Wigan, in North Manchester. The festival celebrates him and his movement through live music, poetry and film, and specific acts of symbolic reenactment: the digging on the commons, performed by an actor in period costume playing Winstanley. Perhaps most importantly, the festival stresses ‘a re-born sense of community spirit amongst ordinary people everywhere’ (Festival website). This case study examines values of digging through focusing on the social scale of a bottom-up community collective rooted in a specific geographic place.
  3. Recreating a wartime garden. Inspired by the work of C.H. Middleton (1945), the pioneer of the 1940s Dig for Victory campaign whose radio broadcasts were followed by millions, this case study examines how one family is using Middleton’s writing to recreate a 1943 wartime garden. Breaking with the 1940s, their project extensively uses social media, and this case study, focused on the social scale of the individual, will primary use this online material to identify how different values are articulated through the recreation of this Dig for Victory garden.
  4. The Big Dig. This case study works at the institutional level and examines the ‘Big Dig’ project, which seeks to attract people from deprived areas who typically do not volunteer. Its website highlights local people in order to create ‘vibrant community food gardens, which can reduce anti-social behaviour, provide fresh, healthy food and put pride into communities’ (Big Dig website).

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