Exhibition helps visitors understand county's past

Visitors to Bodmin Jail this Easter holiday are being treated to a fascinating exhibition on Cornwall’s colourful past, thanks to University students and researchers.

Pirates, Police and Pasties runs until Sunday 8 April, and is being staged by the jail in association with University of Plymouth Time-Lock Productions.

Through posters developed by students from the University’s School of Law, Criminology and Government, and an accompanying audio transcript, the exhibition addresses questions such as: who were the pirates and smugglers? How were their illegal activities policed? And where does the pasty fit into the story?

Time-Lock is part of the University's Institute for Social, Policy and Enterprise Research (iSPER) #CHITCHAT Research Initiative - Crime, History and Institutions: Transdisciplinary Conversations in Heritage, Art and Transmedia.

The exhibition has been organised by #CHITCHAT’s Rob Giles, working with the group’s co-leads Professor Kim Stevenson and Craig Newbery-Jones, Visiting Research Fellow Dr Judith Rowbotham, Associate Professor in Law Jason Lowther, and Dr David Cox from the University of Wolverhampton’s Faculty of Social Sciences. Mr Giles said: 

“Time-Lock Productions are delighted to have established such a strong alliance with Bodmin Jail, a major attraction in Cornwall. Criminology students have been visiting the jail annually, but this is the first formal agreement established between the University and the jail.

“As curator for the exhibition I was impressed by the effort made by the Time-Lock team, our associates and the students, who contributed a full and varied array of visibly engaging posters that were both educational and fun, providing interest for families.

“The jail has suggested further collaboration with Time-Lock, and we look forward to creating a strong and positive relationship with this important partner.”
Dr Rowbotham said:

“The exhibition shows how all three areas interlock - and are sustained by an enjoyment of pasties, to such an extent that it even led to criminal activities associated with pasty theft, and deception involving a guinea pig.

“This is the first event in what we hope will be an exercise in community sharing of our research enterprises, via our collaboration with Bodmin Jail.”

The free exhibition is open from 9.30am to 6pm daily. Find out more.

#CHITCHAT? Co-Lead – Dr Daniel Grey

Daniel Grey is a social and cultural historian, working on the intersections between gender, law and medicine between the eighteenth and twentieth centuries in Britain and India. His research includes themes relating to race, class, violence, crime, feminism, sexuality, oral history, popular culture and transnational history. He is particularly interested in how these themes played out in other regional contexts, and what this can tell us about the specificity (or not) of cultural and social developments in Britain and India between the eighteenth and twentieth centuries.

More information about Daniel’s research and publications

#CHITCHAT? Co-Lead – Dr Simone Schroff

Simone is a lecturer in law specialising in the qualitative, quantitative and comparative analysis of copyright law and policy. Her work focuses on the empirical assessment of copyright law and policies in the cultural heritage and business context as well as the historical analysis of copyright and contract law to facilitate mass digitisation projects. In this context, Simone has worked on a number of projects in cooperation with cultural heritage institutions to find solutions to the copyright challenges they face when they digitise their collections to make them available online or re-use materials to enhance the visitors’ experience.

About #CHITCHAT?

While the dictionary definition for ‘chitchat’ may be ‘inconsequential conversation,’ conversely this iSPER Research Initiative considers approaches for engaging the public in casual but enlightening dialogues around our historical research into local crime, regional history, and community institutions. Through making use of the extensive changes and increased portability of technology, #CHITCHAT? acts as sandpit for research collaboration and a forum for the development of tools that encourage public engagement with our research findings and other heritage materials. This initiative engages academic researchers, industry professionals, heritage stakeholders, and the general public in transdisciplinary conversations around Crime, History and Public Institutions through transmedia methods, sources, and platforms. 

Chief Constable Joseph Sowerby, 1892–1917. Photographs with permission Graham Naylor, Plymouth City Library

ChitChat: Crime, History and Institutions: Transdisciplinary Conversations in Heritage, Art and Transmedia

#CHITCHAT? is a sandpit for research collaboration and forum for the development of tools that encourage public engagement with our research findings and other heritage materials.

At its core, this initiative will engage academic researchers, industry professionals, heritage stakeholders, and the general public in transdisciplinary conversations around Crime, History and Public Institutions through transmedia methods, sources, and platforms.

Read more about #CHITCHAT?