re:place symposium | Fri 27 May | 11am - 4pm | Gothic Warehouse | Cromford Mill
To mark the end of the second year of commissions and projects, artists and other speakers discussed contemporary art practice in relation to the rural situation.
Alec Finlay | Kate Genever | Charles Monkhouse | Charlotte A Morgan | Ivan Smith | Rosemary Shirley
Reading from White Peak | Dark Peak by Alec Finlay and David Troupes.
The title of the re:place project is deliberately ambiguous; on the one hand it is an art project about place - responses to places in Derbyshire, or the place that Derbyshire is - and on the other it is about re:placing the simplistic and selective perception of Derbyshire as a bucolic wilderness, a romantic landscape, and responding to the complexity, creativity and richness of the place. It is also about replacing this view of Derbyshire with one which foregrounds contemporary art practice.
Derbyshire is a county with strong local distinctiveness, but eludes description as a single entity: it has the landscapes of the Peak District in Derbyshire Dales and High Peak, with prehistoric sites, agriculture, quarrying, lead mining, dry stone walling and the grand houses such as Chatsworth and Haddon; in North East Derbyshire, Chesterfield and Bolsover the more recent mining and industrial heritage sits alongside the medieval fortress of Bolsover Castle and the Tudor Hardwick Hall; and the World Heritage Site of Derwent Valley Mills stretches through the Amber Valley down to the city of Derby. It is a dynamic area both physically and in demographic terms.
The symposium explored how contemporary art practice can interrogate, illuminate and reshape the ideas of Derbyshire and of the rural.