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Industrial heritage and community revitalisation

Industrial heritage and community revitalisation

Jill Randall of the School of Art and Media has supported the creative reinterpretation, through contemporary art practice, of the abandoned Parys Mountain Copper Mine in Anglesey, Wales, in partnership with the communities of North Wales and a range of public and private sector organisations:

  • Promoting cultural engagement with an industrial legacy in an area hit by the cessation of traditional industries;
  • Introducing heritage led initiatives for community revitalisation through contemporary art practice, engaging local communities, improving the quality of the environment, promoting local businesses, encouraging tourism, and celebrating the area's unique industrial heritage;
  • Extending the reach of the project methodology to the link between the copper mining heritage of
  • other communities in the UK.

Art and an industrial legacy

Parys Mountain, Amlwch, Wales, is an extraordinary place, an extreme environment, with its own “terrible beauty” of amazing colours, and a post-industrial landscape where corrosion is accelerated. Jill’s research focuses on the potential of this legacy to inspire artworks and she has collaborated with the community in the production of artworks for a major solo exhibition, “Golden Venture”, at The National Waterfront Museum, The National Industrial Museum of Wales, Swansea, 2nd July–18th Sept 2011.

  • Amlwch is a “small town on Anglesey, which has suffered rapid economic decline in recent years” . The Living through Challenges in Low Income Neighbourhoods study examined the salience of ‘place’ in the daily lives of a sample of residents living in six low income neighbourhoods in Britain in the period 2008–2010. The Study found, in relation to Amlwch: “The industrial history and heritage of Amlwch has complex impacts on residents’ sense of esteem. Several residents spoke with pride about the role of industry in the town’s development and the characteristics of its population…However, the loss of this industrial base, and its perceived impacts on employment and the social dynamics, was more keenly felt in Amlwch than anywhere else. Many participants referred to the slender thread on which the economic fortunes of the town were seen to depend.” 
  • With a focus on creative reinterpretation through contemporary art practice of the industrial legacy of the area, Jill has succeeded in supporting the introduction of heritage-led initiatives celebrating the area's unique industrial heritage; improving the quality of the environment; engaging local communities; promoting local businesses and encouraging tourism. Jill designed the “Copper Kingdom” “branding”; forming a series of icons representing the industrial legacy, which can be reproduced at any scale and used in a range of ways, from signage to large scale sculptural works and functional detailing in street furniture have been developed through working with 5 local businesses developing design ideas incorporating the “Copper Kingdom” theme.
  • Partnership working and business development has included the training and mentoring of 3 local metal fabricators based in North Wales/Anglesey in the fabrication of the public artworks. Designs for craft products derived from copper mine objects and artefacts suitable for market to be manufactured by and in conjunction with local craftspeople have been developed. Examples include copper jewellery and textile designs, prints and souvenir objects. Events were held on August 3rd and 4th, 2012 to launch scheme at the “Copper Kingdom” Centre, Amlwch.
  • Jill is developing her approach to community revitalisation through mining heritage with communities in Cornwall.