While working for the Eden Project’s Post-Mining Alliance, Pete Whitbread-Abrutat devised and facilitated a photographic art project between St. Austell’s Poltair School – the main school serving Cornwall’s China clay mining villages – and Eden’s Post-Mining Alliance. Socio-economic decline in the ‘Clay Villages’ and their surrounding industrial landscapes cause negative external perceptions of the area and, inwardly, affect the self-image and confidence of its local inhabitants.
The project tasked 40 Year 11 GCSE art and ICT pupils (aged 15 and 16) to produce digital photographic images to broach the aspirational question: Focusing on the characters, communities and landscapes of the Claylands, how can you best illustrate the spirit, hopes and aspirations of the people who live there? The large-scale images were projected onto a cliff wall in Eden’s Mediterranean Biome to be viewed by over 100,000 Eden visitors during its 2006-7 winter season. The aim was to challenge the external perceptions of the area and highlighting the – oft overlooked – creative potential and positivity of the young people of Cornwall’s Claylands.