Katie Davies: The Lawes of the Marches (2015)


Katie Davies: The Lawes of the Marches (2015)

Katie Davies: The Lawes of the Marches (2015)

Single Screen 16 minutes

In 2015 artist in residence with Berwick Film & Media Arts Festival  Katie Davies spent six months filming hundreds of personal stories of participants involved in the Common Ridings, all along the border of England and Scotland.

These ridings continue a 700-year-old ritual of communal horse riding, meaning as much now as they did when marking the common ground and commemorating the past when they began in 1500.

Originating in the era of border raids and the infamous bandits, the Reivers, the film explores the ridings against the Elizabethan document, The Lawes of The Marches, a treaty to control the lawless West, Middle and the East Marches on both sides of the boundary. During this time, the families and clans across the Marches would switch nationality, raiding across the border to create a frontier of terror and crime. Governed by The Lord Wardens of the Marches, it was not a geographical border but The Lawes of The Marches, which formed the border control for borderers during this time.

Designed to preserve the boundaries of individual towns, the Common Ridings are now a series of hugely popular annual summer events which begin in May in Berwick Upon Tweed, and end in August in Coldstream, and which include hundreds of participants and horse riders literally following in the steps of their ancestors. Lengthy marathons that begin early in the morning and end in the early hours, with pre-riding ceremonies to ordain the principle riders and standard bearer as the Ridings are a unique Scottish Borders tradition.

Katie Davies is a video artist exploring the construction of identities, their reflections and manipulations. Nationalism, violence and democracy form a central critique for her videos and installations, often focusing upon individuals and communities whose identities are dictated by the state; their agency to self-identify snared between political agendas and Sovereign violence.

Katie is a Royal West of England Academician and was nominated for the 2016 Paul Hamlyn Award. She is a Jury member for the International competition, Short Film Festival Oberhausen, 2018 and has exhibited nationally and internationally including FACT Liverpool 2018, Kassel Dokfest, Bratislava International Film Festival and Oberhausen International Film Festival 2017 & 2015, Sarajevo Film Festival 2015, Border Visions, Connecticut, USA 2012 and The Istanbul Biennial 2009. She has contributed to several publications and her writing on practice-led research has been included in US and British publications. Katie is Senior Lecturer in Media & Cultural Production at The University of The West of England