The workshop was described as ‘an intensive experience that will require commitment’. Participants were asked to undertake preparatory reading, come prepared to talk about an exhibition or project they were developing or would like to develop, participate in a writing workshop, prepare short presentations and bring materials to be screened and shared.
The Cornwall Workshop aimed to address the specific needs of artists, curators and critics based in Cornwall and the South West and to expand the region’s capacity by connecting to national and international networks and debates. It set out to be specific to its context and to address the situation in Cornwall and other such remote, dispersed, non-urban areas.
The workshop set out to develop ideas suggested by Lucy Lippard’s keynote address for The Falmouth Convention, ‘Imagine Being Here Now’.
‘ . . . no matter how long or short a time we live in a place we inherit the responsibility for knowing about it, valuing it, working to keep it viable, and illuminating our dynamic cultural spaces and their underlying, often invisible meanings and uses — for those who don’t. If a local is someone who gives more than she takes, everybody is a candidate.’
‘. . . a tantalizing liminal space has opened up between disciplines, between the arts, geography, history, archeology, sociology. . . A real sense of place is a virtual immersion that depends both on lived experience and on topographical, even infrastructural, intimacy, not to mention acquired knowledge on the ground and in the books.
‘. . . What if the existing place demands to be considered for itself, not as a blank slate, but as an already evolved image with a history that can be altered, even transformed, but never entirely erased? In this case, collaboration with those who are of the place, especially scientists who know it close-up, in excruciating detail, would make the whole enterprise far more complex and more layered. Collaboration is the social extension of collage.’
Ten participants were selected from an open submission of forty-five applicants. In addition, and in recognition of the value of international exchange and networking, four international participants were invited to be workshop participants, with the support of overseas cultural agencies.
In addition to Mark Dion, workshop leaders included Martin Clark, Artistic Director of Tate St Ives, Lori Waxman, Chicago-based art critic and Sally Tallant, Director of Liverpool Biennial. Geologist Robin Shail led a field trip on the Lizard.