The Austell Project is an invitation to discover St Austell and its hinterland afresh – to open your eyes to our history, to what shaped our landscape, economy and communities and what makes us so special today. It is a cultural programme to deliver sustainable economic growth, promoting pride in the local community, by attracting new visitors, new residents and new investment, making it a great place to live, work and play.
Our aim is to turn the St Austell area into a vast garden featuring stunning ceramic artwork. Alongside our local gardens and artists, we will transform the St Austell area through a programme of cultural initiatives. We have a vision to draw together the Great Gardens in the area – The Eden Project, Lost Gardens of Heligan, Caerhays, Trewithen with ceramic arts to create an urban parkscape across the town and beyond. From giant ceramic exhibits to wildflower corridors, an annual programme of events and activities we have the opportunity to change the way St Austell is perceived locally, nationally and internationally.
Using ceramics and horticulture to create public art installations we will raise the quality of the built environment and public spaces across the area. China clay – the material that transformed St Austell’s fortunes will be used to create statues, carvings, engravings, paving designs, mosaics, street furniture that will sit next to planting schemes curated by some of the UK’s most popular gardens. An annual festival on these themes will provide an improved sense of place, and community pride, and will complement these permanent exhibitions. This vision for the area will enhance the landscape, transform spaces and stimulate economic growth by attracting new visitors, new investment and make the area a great place to live,work and play.
We have created 4 key pillars of activity based on our uniqueness which are drivers for delivering our future plans – Green, Ceramic, Active and Innovate
From the Unesco World Heritage site status of Charlestown to the internationally famous Eden Project and the secret Lost Gardens of Heligan, St Austell already has much to shout about.
Austell Green is delivering a series of high impact landscaping projects during 2020 / 21 as well as continue to develop on the masterplan working with third parties to make St Austell a beautiful and healthy place to be. By bringing plants and the landscape to the fore we aim to engage with the public’s imagination asking them to reconsider the identity of the town, its location within Cornwall and the huge influence our gardens and landscape have had on the world.
The Whitegold Project, part of Austell Ceramic, is named after the financial reward clay brought to the area and how it has shaped our physical and econominc landscape. Through a variety of activities, the Projects are engaging, educating and inspiring people to get involved in ceramics and learn about the town’s clay heritage, to help restore a sense of pride.
Our ambition is to see if we can turn the centre of St Austell into a giant cultural site where whole streets are festooned with art and design, made of clay or about clay culture, that add to St Austell’s sense of place. We want St Austell to become a hub where people can learn ceramic art skills and become inspired to learn about – and have pride in – the history of their local china clay industry. A place where all sorts of creatives set up galleries, play music, design games, write books and more…
The first step is by creating opportunitues for local people to work with clay, and to tell their stories about the clay. We want young people, all people, to feel pride in St Austell and to build their future here. The second step is inviting established and emerging artists from Cornwall, from Stoke on Trent, and from all over the world to St Austell to make work and share their skills and leave behind a legacy of publicly accessible work to inspire us all. We are doing this through a series of public art commissions, the Whitegold International Ceramics Prize, a partnership ‘clay exchange’ with the ‘Ceramic City’ Stoke-on-Trent which is diverse and exciting programme led by local, national and international artists, featuring ceramicists and other artists who create events, exhibitions and installations as well as permanent artwork in public spaces, linking closely with the garden projects. and an annual festival where artists, makers and designers to celebrate past and present, and create future stories of china clay and the communities who live with it, inspiring people in and around the district to develop their creative potential and the area’s future sustainability.
Artists who are currently contributing to the Whitegold Project and Austell Ceramic currently include: Parasite Projects | David Mach | Marion Brandis | Matt Davis | Sandy Brown | Cleo Mussi | Susan Elliott | Jenny Beavan | Simon Bayliss | Studio HOT.Mess | Paul Jackson | Georgia Gendall | Robin Sullivan | Neil Brownsword | Rosanna Martin | Tana West | Clayground Collective | Francesca Anfossi | Grizedale Arts | The Portland Inn Project
St Austell’s future is in high-tech, high- value businesses. For our community to prosper and thrive the area must attract and retain young people which means thinking very differently about what will drive the economy and the sort of people who will do this. Exciting young people about the future and their potential in St Austell is the key to unlocking our economic future. Eden is championing geothermal energy as it looks to produce power from hot rocks several kilometres under Cornwall. West Carclaze Village is being built on land formerly used for mineral extraction and processing by Imerys offering the opportunity for sustainable living in beautifully designed, energy efficient homes within a stunning and uniquely Cornish location with on-site renewables off-setting energy use. Eden Project Learning offer a specialist portfolio of higher education courses, ranging from Plant Science to Sustainable Festival Management. Carlyon Beach will be a new beachside village comprising homes, restaurants, bars, cafés and shops alongside a hotel and spa, celebrating the cream of Cornish culture, it will becomr a jewel in St Austell’s crown. St Austell Business Park was built and runs with sustainability at its core. From green technologies to education and business and talent development, we are already alive with opportunity.
St Austell is at the very heart of Cornwall, surrounded by beautiful, sweeping coasting and picturesque countryside and its natural attributes offer a wealth of outdoor activities to both residents and visitors alike. The curve of St Austell Bay with its sandy beaches is a haven for water lovers with opportunities for wild swimming, surfing, sailing, rowing, diving, paddle boarding. Coastal paths and inland trails connect the area from China Clay Country back to the coast both to the east and the west of the bay, creating opportunities for marathon running, walking, cycling, riding. Austell Active is a work in progress, collating the wealth of outdoor environments to engage and inspire us to work and play in keeping us ﬁt and active.
The St Austell area talks with one voice. We are imagining the future and working together to realise this dream, with many community based events, projects and plans to bring together St Austell and the wider area to make it a great place to live, work and play. There is still much to do. Our plans are ambitious and will require vision and determination to realise them. We ask you to support us, get involved, spread the word and be part of the exciting future of our area.
The Austell Project has been created and is supported by SABEF – St Austell Bay Economic Forum – a group of local businesses, public bodies and community organisations promoting economic growth in the St Austell Bay area. The geographic area is covered from Lostwithiel in the East of the region to Indian Queens in the North, and Caerhays to the West.
SABEF is proud to act as the Coastal Community Team for the St Austell Bay area. We have a board of directors, who all give their time on a voluntary basis. Incorporated as a Community Interest Company in 2015, details can be found through Companies House, under St Austell Bay CIC.
In September 2018, via the Coastal Communities Fund, the Ministry of Housing and Local Government (MHCLG) awarded over £1million to fund SABEF’s bold vision to re-energise St Austell and the surrounding clay communities. A series of major horticultural and ceramic art installations at key strategic points around St Austell bay, 2 annual festivals, various community engagement projects and an international arts prize are amongst the project deliverables. It is envisaged that the project will create jobs, attract visitors and increase spend within the local economy.