A way forward for Cornish history and heritage

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3cornishchoughs
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A way forward for Cornish history and heritage

Post by 3cornishchoughs » Mon Jul 23, 2012 11:38 am

Dyth da!

I have recently joined C24 although been in touch with discussions for a number of years. It's now come to the time when I feel ready to contribute to action. I posted first in the questions section to ask where best to post on discussions on history and heritage. This is my particular field of expertise in which I work professionally and for which have a fiery passion:

questions/best-place-for-history-herita ... t6711.html

I won't re-hash some of my as yet amorphous thoughts (see above) but I do feel strongly that Cornish history in the public realm is not getting a good deal, neither for its people nor for those wanting to find out more. I also do not believe the higher ed sector is serving it particularly well, although with a few exceptions.

A lot of history is badly or plain misrepresented--not just those which down play Cornish distinctiveness but also just poor history that presents facts that are wrong. Good history, well-argued, is irrefutable and would contribute to putting a better case forward for devolution/independence or similar. It would also help people from the outside better understand why we know that Cornwall is different, it is not England, Wales, the Channel Islands or anywhere else.

If we were to create a (virtual) Story of Cornwall museum whose aim was a broad public education about Cornwall and Cornishness what subjects would you like to see covered? For me I would want to start with the formation of our incredible geology and landscape. It is the landscape and geology under our feet and houses that has made this land so different. I'd like to come right up to the present day and be confident with portraying Cornish politics in all its forms.

Again some more general thoughts but I now believe strongly that creating high quality publicly-circulating information on Cornwall is a good way forward - I am also thinking about improving the quality of Wikipedia articles on Cornish subjects and places - there is a lot of scope here.

Just as an aside, I was at Lafrowda in St Just on the weekend and really enjoyed the parades and guises that the local schools made but there wasn't a single Cornish person/creature/legend represented (except for a chough), rather it was all Poseidon and ancient Greece. The floats were so impressive that I thought this would be a great opportunity to revive folk stories publicly (although I do realise this is being done in many schools and my husband at one of his schools in mid-Cornwall remembers being part of a Gorsedd project).

Thoughts/ideas welcome. No idea how I could take this forward but if we could get some good ideas together I would seriously consider putting in a funding application. I would not want this to be part of any institution at present however, that could be quite limiting.
3cornishchoughs

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Kevrenor
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Re: A way forward for Cornish history and heritage

Post by Kevrenor » Fri Jul 27, 2012 1:56 am

Surely someone closer the the Cornish scene than us in the diaspora could have ideas on this?

Carvath
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Re: A way forward for Cornish history and heritage

Post by Carvath » Sat Jul 28, 2012 2:20 pm

3cornishchoughs: as a start on the geology side it's worth talking to Poldark Mine:
http://www.poldark-mine.co.uk/

and also Geevor.

and for general education materials Cornish Quest and Will Coleman.

Kevrenor: your article on Cornish mining in NSW in the recent 'MyCornwall' is excellent


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Re: A way forward for Cornish history and heritage

Post by Rosko » Sun Jul 29, 2012 11:58 am

3CornishChoughs,
Without wanting to downplay anyone or anything that's being done elsewhere - and there certainly is plenty - your suggestions & ideas sound fantastic!
I like it....

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Re: A way forward for Cornish history and heritage

Post by 3cornishchoughs » Thu Aug 09, 2012 4:25 pm

For some reason I wasn't getting reply notifications so have just seen all of your replies. Firstly meur ras!

@Carvath, I'm aware of Cornish Quest and Bewnans Kernow and will explore how some of the ideas I have put forward can fit in. I am keen that there should be a campaign to actually take Cornish history out of Cornwall. While work to educate school kids and others is absolutely vital, I think knowledge of Cornish distinctiveness is quite poor beyond the Tamar, demonstrated quite horrifically by pages of anti-Cornish comment following the Visit Cornwall news. Spreading good, well-referenced information online will be a start.

Thanks also for the links--I think Geevor (shamefully I haven't been to Poldark) is the best place to learn about Cornish industrial heritage, at least on the mining site. I am not so keen on Heartlands and its so-called state of the art exhibition but that's for a separate post.

@Rosko - thanks! I don't want to tread on trodden ground so it's good to find out what else is out there and trying to do the same thing first but I do believe a decent online campaign would work wonders. I am even thinking we could look at crowd funding like Kickstarter or Sponsume to attract funds from all over the world that would support a public education campaign.
3cornishchoughs

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Re: A way forward for Cornish history and heritage

Post by Guests » Thu Aug 09, 2012 6:16 pm

Do you have any thoughts on Cornish identity?

Perhaps you could give some idea of your views on this so that we could have a better understanding of your approach.

Rosko
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Re: A way forward for Cornish history and heritage

Post by Rosko » Sat Aug 11, 2012 12:11 pm

@guest

I would presume 3cornishchoughs has plenty of ideas & thoughts on identity, but without education (& language), identity is lost and/or dead, so teaching history & culture - so rich in Cornwall - to both Cornish kids, and beyond the Tamar, is vital, I would agree...

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3cornishchoughs
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Re: A way forward for Cornish history and heritage

Post by 3cornishchoughs » Sun Aug 12, 2012 10:13 am

@Guests I have a lot of thoughts on Cornish identity. Firstly I would prefer to hold the plural. We all have several identities that are made up of parentage, ancestry, birth, growing up, settling down, occupation and a word that doesn't have an equivalent in English, Heimat--a strong attachment to home/homeland. From a personal point of view I believe it's in people's actions rather than words that you uncover their true identity.

Cornwall, specifically west Cornwall is my heimat, felt so deeply thatI want to make a difference to the way Cornwall and the Cornish are perceived within and beyond the Duchy, particularly the latter as there can be no hope for increased self-determination if those from outside don't understand the reasons why. It's not enough just to talk about it and lament the current state of affairs. My field is in historical studies and heritage so this is the area I am most keen to challenge. There is a lot of inaccurate misinformation about the past out there from all perspectives. My experience in Wales has taught me a lot about how to counter the Anglo-centric perceptions as well promote good, inspiring history without compromising on the evidence.

If your real underlying question is probing my own Cornishness and therefore making a judgement on my motives, perhaps this will help. I was neither born nor brought up in the Duchy. However I have not felt a stronger attachment to place as I have here. There are three Cornish choughs on my family coat of arms that I quietly salute on the way in and out of the house. I earn my bread from pounds generated in the local economy and spend the majority of those pounds here too. I have not stepped into an imperialist supermarket since I started living here--they are the largest sap of Cornish pounds out of the economy. I started learning Kernewek some years ago but had to leave it as the self-learn tape and books had become dated during the debate over orthography and standard written forms, however I am starting up again next week at a local community centre. I give of my time to three local charities.

Does this help you understand better my approach? Hope so!
3cornishchoughs

Carvath
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Re: A way forward for Cornish history and heritage

Post by Carvath » Sun Aug 12, 2012 11:15 am

Sounds good to me 3cornishchoughs, good luck.

For geology/mining, the CSM virtual museum is good (I forgot about it above):

http://projects.exeter.ac.uk/geomincentre/

Rosko
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Re: A way forward for Cornish history and heritage

Post by Rosko » Sun Aug 12, 2012 7:22 pm

Sounds v good to me. Like you say, actions and heart speak louder than accident of birth or ancestry. I sometimes wish a lot more of my Cornish countrymen thought like you. Sadly not; take that ego-maniac, self-loving and delusional TrevorPen, as a case in point, if Cornish is actually what he is...

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Re: A way forward for Cornish history and heritage

Post by Guests » Mon Aug 13, 2012 9:10 am

3cornishchoughs

It is not your identity I am interested in as much as gaining a better idea of your understanding of Cornish ethnicity.

Perhaps you would like to illustrate this more clearly as well as, if possible, your thoughts on and understanding of Welsh identity as you say you are well informed in that area.

Finally, you speak of "our incredible geology and landscape" and it would be interesting to have your views on this as you indicate it will underpin your potential approach.

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Re: A way forward for Cornish history and heritage

Post by 3cornishchoughs » Mon Aug 13, 2012 10:21 am

@Rosko, thanks--countrywoman btw ;-)

@Guests I don't mean to but I'm still not certain what aspect of my understanding of identity and ethnicity you want my opinion on? I won't be drawn into defining what is and what isn't Cornish or Welsh for that matter. As I said above, a person's identity and understanding of their ethnicity varies greatly. Some people's understanding of ethnicity is linked with lineage, others with genetics, others still with politics. My interest in Cornish identities is primarily related to heritage, both cultural and natural and a person's relationship with place, and so geology and landscape is fundamental to this from my point of view. How many people regularly walk our coast and moors, the valleys and hills? Or even wander around the streets of our historic towns? Without this you can't really understand the distinct heritage of a country (and how it even varies over short distances).

At a very basic level it is the ground beneath our feet that has shaped human existence all over the world both in terms of what we have been able to grow on top of it, what we have been able to hunt from it and what we have been able to get out of it. And it is at this very fundamental level that Cornwall itself has been shaped and defined from prehistory to the present day, hard rock mining having been one of its principal forms of wealth creation in more recent centuries--but there is more to Cornish heritage than hard rock mining--I would like to add to this some dimension of Cornish river and esturine heritage, that that of its coastal formation and much more ancient fishing traditions and industries.

This is a very quick response--I am still shaping ideas but the purpose of posting here was actually to get other people's viewpoints, so perhaps you could share yours too?
3cornishchoughs

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Marhak
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Re: A way forward for Cornish history and heritage

Post by Marhak » Mon Aug 13, 2012 12:05 pm

Twelveheads Press have been producing an extremely good series of small books (currently about £4.50 each) on all aspects of the heritage of Cornwall and of Scilly. They're called "Cornwall's (or Scilly's)..............Heritage". The middle word can be Archaeological, Geology, Maritime, Mining, China Clay, Lighthouse, Railway, Industrial, Building...and several more besides. I highly recommend these. They're all written by people who know their subject, are well worth collecting and, for all their small size (about 50 pages), contain a wealth of good information.

If it's Cornish culture you're after, then no better book has ever been written than A.K Hamilton Jenkin's "Cornwall and its People", originally written as three volumes between 1932 and 1934. It was last produced, under a single cover, by David and Charles in 1970 but I'm sure some will turn up in second-hand bokshops or in libraries. I absolutely value my copy.

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Re: A way forward for Cornish history and heritage

Post by Guests » Mon Aug 13, 2012 10:04 pm

3cornishchoughs

The response given is somewhat incoherent, but let's say, for argument's sake, that a Cornish person would tick a Cornish tick-box on a form such as a Census-type form.

How would you portray the history of the people who would indicate their ethnicity in this way?​
the purpose of posting here was actually to get other people's viewpoints


We also understand that the purpose of posting on C24 is to attract sponsorship and buy-in for bid-writing. You say you will not work with an institution and you seem to have experienced what has been referred to as 'questionable' experiences or issues for 'a separate post' quite widely.

It would be helpful if you could outline what structures there are for accountability and ownership of this 'history' being devised.

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