The Penzance Convention

  • The Penzance Convention
    The Penzance Convention, held in May 2012

The Penzance Convention, held at The Exchange in Penzance, was a three-day conference in expanded form, building on the legacy of The Falmouth Convention. It reflected on the theme of extraction, with reference both to the social and environmental narratives of Cornwall’s extractive industries – mining and fishing in particular – and to the processes by which artists draw meaning from history and site.

The Penzance Convention set out to develop the interdisciplinary approach that was exemplified through field trips for The Falmouth Convention in 2010, and was conceived as an international meeting of artists, curators, writers, scientists, historians, philosophers and experts from other fields, with an emphasis on exchange of views and experiences. It focused on the far west of Cornwall, drawing on histories specific to this locale.

The keynote address by social historian Iain Boal opened the Convention and a varied programme of talks, exhibitions and events framed the field trips and conference presentations, offering opportunities for informal debate and social exchange. Read responses to the event, along with recordings of the presentations, in the Record section of the Convention website.

The Penzance Convention was convened by Teresa Gleadowe and Hadrian Pigott and produced by Phil Rushworth and Bettina Wenzel in partnership with Newlyn Art Gallery & The Exchange, Penzance. It was funded by Arts Council England South West, Outset Contemporary Art Fund and LUMA Foundation.

More information about the supporters, content and responses to The Penzance Convention can be found at