Experts from CSM guided visits to mine workings, revealing the scientific processes of extraction in modern mining technology.

Camborne School of Mines participate in The Penzance Convention

Academics and postgraduate students from the Camborne School of Mines have recently hosted field trips and participated in a conference organised as part of The Penzance Convention at The Exchange in Penzance.

The Penzance Convention is a three-day international interdisciplinary meeting of artists, curators, writers, scientists, historians, philosophers and experts from other fields reflecting on the theme of extraction.

Building on the legacy of The Falmouth Convention, held in May 2010, it opened with daylong field trips led by artists and experts from other fields, followed by conference presentations and debates. The Convention focused on the social and environmental legacies of Cornwall’s extractive industries-mining and fishing in particular. The Convention aimed to provide opportunities for exchange of ideas between international artists and curators and the art community in Cornwall, raising the profile of Cornwall as a centre of creative activity.

In the range of field trips offered to delegates, experts from Camborne School of Mines(CSM) guided visits to ancient and contemporary mine workings and revealed the scientific processes of extraction practised in contemporary mining technology.

The field trip to South Crofty, Heartlands and the Camborne School of Mines Test Mine was led by Dr Robin Shail and included meetings with John Webster - Western United Mines/South Crofty; Kirsty Davies - Heartlands and Gus Williams - CSM Test Mine.

A second field trip to Great Condurrow Mine, King Edward Mine and the extraction labs at Camborne School of Mines was led by Sam Hughes and included meetings with Tony Brooks/Kevin Baker - Condurrow / KEM mines; Professor Frances Wall and Dr Gavyn Rollinson - CSM/Mineralogy Labs.

CSM also contributed to Hadrian Pigott's field trip, The Invisibles – emanations and extractions from Hot Rocks, which looked at radio-activity and radon. Dr Ben Williamson and Tony Bennett contributed to this field trip, which included a visit to Rosedale mine.

Artists were invited to give their responses to the field trips.  Commenting on the first field trip, to South Crofty, Heartlands and the Camborne School of Mines Test Mine, Abigail Reynolds wrote: "I emerged from the test mine with a whiff in my nostrils of the chase, the craft of mining, the skill in reading the rocks - that the mine would be a kingdom as rich in interest as a rainforest to the biologist or stock prices to a city analyst". Lucy Gunning reflected on her visit to Great Condurrow, King Edward Mine and the CSM Mineralogy Labs: "The tin shed had been the portal to a dark and thrilling place."

Dr Robin Shail of Camborne School of Mines also spoke at the conference, amongst many other academics and artists from across the UK.

The Penzance Convention was initiated by independent curator Teresa Gleadowe, convenor of the event with artist Hadrian Pigott, in partnership with Newlyn Art Gallery & The Exchange, Penzance. It is funded by Arts Council England South West, Outset Contemporary Art and LUMA Foundation, with additional support from a range of supporters.

See The Penzance Convention website - REPORT section - for an account of all the fieldtrips and videorecordings of the conference proceedings, and The Penzance Convention Facebook page.

Date: 8 June 2012

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