The Falmouth Convention

The Falmouth Convention was a three-day conference in unconventional form, with an emphasis on exchange of views and experiences. Conceived as an international meeting of artists, curators and writers to explore the significance of time and place in relation to contemporary art and exhibition making, it was planned to respond to the situation in Cornwall and other such dispersed, rural areas.

Cornwall is a remote part of England, known for the beauty of its landscape and coastline, but also an area that has been identified by the EUas one of the poorest in Europe, with high unemployment and significant social deprivation.

The Falmouth Convention opened with a keynote by the distinguished American writer and curator, Lucy R. Lippard. It then set out to examine its own locale, with field trips led by artists, curators and local experts, looking at particular geographies, histories and narratives in Cornwall. The Convention culminated in a conference on Saturday 22 May and Sunday 23 May, with presentations by international curators and artists, discussing commissions, residencies and the impact and influence of large-scale international exhibitions.

The Falmouth Convention was developed as a collaboration between University College Falmouth (now Falmouth University), ProjectBase and Tate St Ives, in response to a series of forums and conversations held in 2009 with artists, curators and writers based in Cornwall to consider a bid to host the international exhibition Manifesta in Cornwall in 2014. The Convention was initiated and convened by the independent curator Teresa Gleadowe and supported by Arts Council England South West, with additional support and help-in-kind from a range of international agencies, and from organisations in Cornwall.