Our new photography exhibition ‘Agan Kernow: Make it Better’ opens 17th September in our new gallery.

It will combine the work of two local community photography projects. Cornwall Adult Education’s ‘Locally Led Learning’ and Make it Better CIC’s ‘Discover Smartphone Photography’ projects explore how photography can promote better health and wellbeing.

‘Agan Kernow’ which is Cornish for ‘Our Cornwall’ is a collection of documentary photography from students of ‘Locally Led Learning’. This is an ESF funded project from Cornwall Adult Education that aims to engage long-term unemployed/inactive members of Cornish communities in learner-led learning. This exhibition uses photographs taken from group outings walking around St Austell and clay country. The project has allowed learners to get out in the fresh air, build their confidence and skill set and see familiar surroundings with a new perspective.

‘Discover Smartphone Photography’ led by Ruth Purdy of Make it Better CIC introduced participants to the fun and creativity of photography using only your smartphone! In digital and in-person sessions, a different theme, such as ‘texture’ was explored each week. Eventually, when safe to do so, the group met at different locations such as Luxulyan, St Austell and Kingswood to walk and photograph. The weekly photography challenges gave participants a chance to express themselves and explore their creativity saying something new about themselves and their community.

Both projects, through walking and photographing their local surroundings have highlighted that meeting together, being creative and enjoying the local landscape can aid in mental and physical health and wellbeing.

The coronavirus global pandemic of the last 2 years has highlighted the importance of good mental health. Participants of ‘Discover Smartphone Photography’ looked at "five everyday actions that have been shown to make us feel better and happier. These 5 ways of wellbeing are to be active, connecting, observing, learning and giving."

Promoting better Health and Wellbeing and engaging with our local communities is core to Wheal Martyn’s aims as a charity and museum. We are delighted to display the products of two projects that explored local landscapes including clay country, promoted creativity and benefitted the health and wellbeing of learners and participants.

We look forward to welcoming you to Agan Kernow: Make it Better. If you feel inspired to take your own photographs or share your own thoughts and reflections on your local landscapes then please email us at [email protected] or tag us on social media @whealmartyn.