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Contemporary and Country (C&C) present contemporary art and the handmade by artists and makers based in the east of England. C&C hold pop-up exhibitions in non-gallery spaces, introducing selected work by established creatives based in rural locations. We display new and recent work in stimulating settings that suit an informed audience.

What makes C&C different?
C&C display new work by contemporary artists and makers who don’t conform to assumptions about creativity being a metropolitan activity. Through their chosen subject matter these artists raise questions about our landscape, highlighting issues away from the romantic, toward a variety of more engaging concerns shared by creative practitioners working in geographically isolated communities today.

Why is creativity taking place in the country?
Artists and makers have turned to non-urban locations, exiting cramped conditions of the UK’s larger cities and discovering smaller towns, and creative hot spots in rural settings. They are making their living in surroundings that are an inspiration, as well as a less punishing working environment. Once relocated, they have greater access to inexpensive workshop and studio space, better natural light and fewer competing distractions.

Moving on from Norfolk by Design
Norfolk by Design came about when Davina Barber and Emma Deterding assembled a shortlist of artists and designers working in Norfolk through holding several regular networking events. Paul Vater and Paul Barratt brought their shared experience in exhibition making and cultural sector marketing to the project. The first pop-up exhibition two day event came about in a beautifully renovated outbuilding at West Lexham, west Norfolk. Davina, Paul and Paul went on to put together a series of pop-up events between 2016 and 2017, when Davina Barber stepped away to concentrate on solo art projects including the Beachhouse Brancaster.

Paul Barratt and Paul Vater have gone on to expand the original project to create more pop-ups showcasing work by an increased number of artists and makers from across Norfolk, Suffolk and Cambridgeshire. These have taken place in several locations including the stables at Houghton Hall Norfolk, alongside exhibitions of sculpture by Damien Hirst 2018 and Henry Moore 2019. They have also organised pop-ups at Creake Abbey near Burnham Market and in St Andrews Hall, Norwich, Art Fair East 2019.


Contemporary and Country brings together the organisational talents of curator Paul Barratt and designer Paul Vater.


Paul Barratt started working in contemporary art galleries in 1989, having graduated in Fine Art from Goldmsith’s, London University. He initially worked at Anthony d’Offay Gallery, one of the contemporary art dealers, who dominated the London art market in the 80s and 90s. He was approached by the Lisson Gallery to be gallery manager for the influential art dealer Nicholas Logsdail. This was followed by a short period in New York at Gladstone Gallery, to work for visionary art dealer Barbara Gladstone, working with the artist and filmmaker Matthew Barney.

On his return to London, Paul secured a place on the prestigious postgraduate curatorial course at the Royal College of Art, to complete an MA. After graduation in 2001, he worked as an independent curator on several projects in Oslo, London, Brighton and Basel, before joining Paul Vater at his design agency Sugarfree in London in 2004. He has worked with Paul ever since.



Paul conducts studio visits to maintain strong relationships with artists, designers and craftspeople who show their work with us. He manages the main C&C website and has developed the online shop where selected works are presented for sale.

Paul established his design company, Sugarfree, in 1990 and quickly gained a reputation for delivering fresh, effective marketing campaigns and brand identities for clients including Save the Children Fund, United Nations Association and UNHCR. Over the years those added to the roster include IPC Magazines, Arts Council England, The Roundhouse, Barbican Centre, Arts Marketing Association, Look Ahead Housing and Care, Paddington Waterside, BBC Worldwide, Commonwealth Foundation, Prestel, City of London Corporation, Baker Street Quarter, Victoria BID and the University of East Anglia.


Installation at the stables, Houghton Hall – May to September, 2019