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09.08.07
University and museum team up to promote Cornish history

Two bastions of Cornish history are teaming up to present Cornwall's development in a fresh way. The Institute of Cornish Studies, a research institute located at the University of Exeter's Tremough Campus in Penryn, will be working with the Royal Cornwall Museum for the next two years. The Arts and Humanities Research Council has awarded £121,000 to support the sharing of knowledge between academics and museum staff.

The project aims to enhance the displays at the Royal Cornwall Museum with the latest research on Cornish issues provided by staff at the Institute of Cornish Studies, as well as use archive interviews with Cornish people held in the Institute's Cornish Audio Visual Archive. Cornish identity and politics, mining, emigration and religious history are all potential themes that can combine the research of the Institute with the expertise and collections of the museum.

Consultation will take place to decide on suitable themes for future displays. A Research Assistant from the Institute of Cornish studies will work at the museum and academics will provide input into the museum's website, information panels and interactive audio-visual material. A joint lecture programme at the museum and on campus, publications and teaching resources will be produced.

Bernard Deacon, senior lecturer in Cornish Studies at the University of Exeter says: "This project will translate academic research expertise to give a fresh look to Cornish history. We are excited about the possibilities this brings to give our research a wider impact and we are keen to learn from the museum's subject specialists. There is currently a considerable popular interest in Cornwall's heritage and its historic identity, and this project reflects the growing role of the cultural industries in Cornwall's regeneration."

Sara Chambers, Head of Collections at the Royal Cornwall Museum says: "This is a fabulous opportunity to work in partnership with the Institute of Cornish Studies – it will be very much a two way process. We will be able to embrace current research on Cornish history and ensure our redisplay and learning programmes are right up to date, and the ICS will benefit from the collections-based knowledge here at the museum. We will be able to communicate this combined knowledge to a much wider audience – between us we can make Cornish history really accessible."

For more information or interviews contact Dr Bernard Deacon, telephone 01326 371889; Abigail Dixon, University Press Officer, telephone 01392 262307/07870 623635 or Leah Mynett, RCM Marketing Manager, telephone 01872 242788.

The Objective One Programme for Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly has invested in the Combined Universities in Cornwall (CUC) project, both Phase 1 and Phase 2, through the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) and the European Social Fund (ESF). University of Exeter is a partner of the CUC.

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Editor's notes:

The Royal Cornwall Museum (RCM) is owned and managed by the Royal Institution of Cornwall, a charitable organisation originally founded as a learned society in 1818. Recent government funding, under the Renaissance in the Regions programmme, is enabling the RCM to develop the ways in which it manages, cares for and helps people learn from its collections. This partnership will really enhance the understanding and enjoyment of the collections.

The Institute of Cornish Studies was founded in 1970. It is now part of a major expansion of humanities teaching by the University of Exeter at the Tremough campus, Penryn. From October 2007, Cornish and Contemporary Celtic Studies will be offered as part of three full-time Joint Honours degrees: BA Politics and Cornish Studies; BA History and Cornish Studies; and BA English and Cornish Studies. Students can also study part time for Masters and for research degrees in Cornish Studies.

The £100 million Tremough campus is a Combined Universities in Cornwall initiative of which the University of Exeter and University College Falmouth are two of the founding partners. It is funded mainly by the European Union (Objective One), the South West Regional Development Agency, and the Higher Education Funding Council for England, with support from Cornwall County Council. Set in 70 acres of countryside, but close to the waterside towns of Penryn and Falmouth, the campus offers a lively student community. The University of Exeter now offers degrees in Biology, Cornish Studies, English, Geology, Geography, History, Law, Mining Engineering, Politics and Renewable Energy on its Tremough Campus, which has expanded rapidly as part of the Combined Universities in Cornwall initiative.

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Clare Morgan
Media Relations Manager
Objective One Partnership Office
Castle House
Pydar Street
Truro TR1 2UD
Mobile: 07973 813647
Telephone: 01872 223439

cmorgan@cornwall.gov.uk

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