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Wheal Maid tailings dam, Bissoe (Credit-Chris Bryan)

Wheal Maid tailings dam, near Bissoe, Cornwall.

Credit: Chris Bryan

Art and science collaboration explores Cornwall’s mining heritage

Cornwall’s illustrious mining heritage has provided the inspiration for a special collaboration between a local artist and University of Exeter scientist.

Microbiologist Dr Chris Bryan has teamed up with Cornish visual artist Oliver Raymond-Barker to produce a distinctive collection of artwork, under the title ‘Natural Alchemy: A Fusion of Art and Science’.

The project combines Oliver’s artistic creativity with Chris’s expertise in microbial populations, creating artwork that draws upon Cornwall’s mining industry, past and present.

It uses the diverse properties of plants, rocks, minerals and metals, combined with the systems and organisms that surround them, to create the artwork.

The spectacular artwork will be showcased at Back Lane West, an artist-led space in Redruth, in late March before exhibiting at the University of Exeter’s Environment and Sustainability Institute (ESI), at the Penryn Campus, on Monday 7 April, from 5-7pm.

Speaking ahead of the event, Oliver said: “Collaborating on this project with Chris has really opened up my visual practice; we’re exploring avenues that I would not previously have considered or even known existed.

“The facilities at the ESI such as the Creative Exchange Studio and laboratories have been invaluable in the project’s development. Chris' expertise and the organisational support has also been critical to the work.”

Chris, a lecturer in Sustainable Mining and Mineral Resourcing at the University of Exeter,  and Oliver have been collaborating since July 2013 as part of the ESI Creative Exchange Programme, a joint initiative between the ESI and Falmouth University’s Research in Art, Nature and the Environment (RANE) research group.

The ESI is working with businesses and enterprises across all sectors of the economy in Cornwall, the Isles of Scilly and beyond to translate research and expertise into innovative business practices, products and services in order to respond to the challenges of environmental change. It has been funded by the European Regional Development Fund Convergence Programme (£22.9M) and the South West Regional Development Agency (£6.6M), with significant support from the Higher Education Funding Council for England.

For more information please contact Alex Huke, ESI Knowledge Exchange Manager or visit the project’s dedicated webpage.

Date: 21 March 2014