Common Place


A Symposium on Art, Community and Social Change

9am - 17.30pm | 05.07.2019
Various Venues, Redruth, Cornwall


Art can bring about a raft of social and economic benefits, but also unintended by-products that can cause tension, and sometimes cultural erosion and fragmentation in a community. At this symposium, we invite artists, curators, community groups and those engaged in town planning, regeneration, and cultural planning and funding, to come together to discuss the sometimes difficult position of arts projects, from the large publicly funded to the locally initiated artist-led, in influencing change in their communities.

Delegates will interrogate how these changes might impact on the local population and the artists themselves, in the context of gentrification / regeneration, cultural tourism and local identities, and what an ethically sustainable position might be to support the majority of the stakeholders in a community.

Speakers from Cornwall, London, Scotland and Wales will share their experience of working with art and social change, and lead the discussions throughout the day.

In conversation with these speakers we will consider a series of questions that navigate the complex consequences of the work we do.

This symposium originated through artist Sovay Berriman's questioning of art's relationship with social change and the cultural gentrification which is happening across Cornwall and the rest of the UK. What role does art activity and the strategies of arts organisations play in these changes? And where do our responsibilities as a sector lie? She proposed the concept to Cultivator, with whom she has co-produced the symposium.

We have chosen Redruth as the location for this event - a historic mining town, centre of creativity and innovation, and once one of the wealthiest towns in the world, but now one of the most deprived in Europe.

Our main conference venue will be the historic Murdoch House, in the centre of Redruth, and former home to inventor William Murdoch. In recent years, Redruth has seen a number of artist-led projects and spaces flourish, we will be holding break-out discussion groups in two of these spaces; Back Lane West and CMR. Later in the day Auction House will also open its doors and join Back Lane West and CMR in hosting an exhibition of work from a selection of artists who have been supported by Cultivator. 

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Evening Event & Exhibition


Alongside the symposium, Cultivator will open an exhibition across Back Lane West, CMR and Auction House in the evening from 6pm, showing work from a selection of artists who have developed their practice with support from the programme - particularly the skills development fund, mentoring grant and start-up programme. As this phase of Cultivator programme comes to an end, the exhibition is part of the Cultivator Celebration Week (2nd - 7th July) where different sectors are showcased througout the week.

All symposium delegates are invited to enjoy the work across the three venues, as well a supper from the Beats & Roots café in the Butter Market (advanced booking essential). The exhibition will continue on Saturday the 6th July, featuring tours by artists whose work will be on show. 

Exhibiting Artists:

Bram Arnold
Simon Bayliss
Sovay Berriman
Sara Bowler
Naomi Frears
Dean Knight
Amanda Lorens
Alice Mahoney
Lesley Plumridge
Camilla Stacey
Lizzie Stevens
Melanie Stidolph
Kate Walters

Artist Talks
1pm - 4pm, 6th July - starting at Back Lane West

with Sara Bowler, Dean Knight, Camilla Stacey, Lizzie Stevens, Melanie Stidolph and Kate Walters