History and Heritage
The study, interpretation, and representation of the unique interaction that occurred between local and global processes to create the mature copper industry lie at the heart of this collaborative project.
All the partners in this project either hold significant collections of material relating to the Welsh copper industry, particularly that of South Wales, or have conducted historical research on the subject, particularly its international dimensions.
This project tests the relationships between history, heritage and urban regeneration by combining the fresh approaches of recent academic research with contemporary issues that have arisen as a consequence of the Welsh copper industry.
How do we interpret this industry in a public context, for example, in our museums, libraries and galleries? How do we raise awareness of the richness of collections relating to copper to new audiences, both academic and public?
Perhaps most importantly of all, how can a project like this encourage better communication between different parties, local residents, visitors, local government and businesses to preserve aspects of this heritage that will otherwise be lost forever? While this last question primarily concerns the physical remains of the industry, such as those that still dot the Lower Swansea Valley, it also concerns the educational importance of understanding this industry and the effect it has had on communities and the environment.
What we will do
The project takes a holistic approach and will have collaboration at its heart. In addition to its major partners, Swansea University, the University of Glamorgan, the National Waterfront Museum, the Royal Commission on the Ancient and Historical Monuments of Wales, and the City and County of Swansea, we will be working closely with an advisory group of archaeologists, students, local history and community groups, politicians, business people, and heritage organisations from across Wales and beyond to bring about its objectives.
Our programme of initiatives and events is being devised to have a significant impact on all those who take part in them. We hope this project will be a positive influence on practice and policy developments in the fields of heritage and urban regeneration, as well as serving to contextualise and explain the world-significant sites and history of the copper industry, especially those located in the Lower Swansea Valley. Not only will this project contribute to the ongoing development of the knowledge economy of Wales, but it also has the potential to improve a sense of place and cultural identity in the localities in which the copper industry was once situated.
Our programme has included:
- a major temporary exhibition on the global Welsh copper industry at the National Waterfront Museum, Swansea (July-October 2011)
- a follow-on travelling exhibition to tour national venues in Wales and the UK
- the origanisation of a free city-wide festival, Copper Day, to celebrate Swansea's role as the global centre of the historic world copper industry
- full engagement with the global audience via social media applications such as Twitter and YouTube
- a programme of digitisation, scoping archival collections and archaeological records, prioritising material which would benefit from preservation and increased access and reuse in educational resources targeted at further and higher education
- 3D visualisations of historic copperworks and computer-generated animations
- the development of a major online resource (www.welshopper.org.uk and www.coprcymru.org.uk) to raise awareness of the development of the Welsh copper industry and its heritage
- 14 October 2010: History, Heritage and Urban Regeneration. A public policy forum organised with the Institute of Welsh Affairs, hosted by the National Waterfront Museum (read a review)
- 5 March 2011: Swansea Copper Day. A free city-wide festival in the heart of the world's historic copper industry (read more on the Copper Day blog)
- 14-15 July 2011: A conference on the latest research on the Welsh copper industry and its heritage.
- July-October: Byd Copr Cymru-A World of Welsh Copper events run by the National Waterfront Museum.
- 2 July-16 October 2011: Byd Copr Cymru-A World of Welsh Copper, National Waterfront Museum, Swansea. A bilingual exhibition presenting insights into the historic Welsh Copper industry, illustrated with photographs, documents, objects and extracts. Based on our latest research on the global domensions of the Welsh copper industry. Free exhibition guides here.
- October 2011 onwards: Byd Copr Cymru-A World of Welsh Copper. A travelling panel version of the exhibition will tour around various venues in Wales and the UK.
- If your organisation is interested in hosting an 8-12 panel pop-up banner style exhibition on this subject please contact us.