The Whitegold Project

The Whitegold Project aims to work with creative people, to make innovative and activated public spaces that use art and gardening to celebrate the culture of clay country, adding to a sense of place.

We believe that events, art in public spaces and greening projects which are socially aware can play a vital role in helping to generate pride in the area, increase a sense of ownership, develop cultural identity and contribute to a better quality of life.

The Whitegold Project will foster local, national and international cultural activity and exchange around clay, ceramics and the arts which explores future sustainability through a variety of means. Projects include the burgeoning Whitegold Festival and as well as plans for small and large-scale, permanent and temporary art installations made from the clay and about the culture of clay country. Two new initiatives are the Whitegold International Ceramic Prize and Clay Exchange, supporting new collaborations and cultural networks. The object of the Whitegold Project is to raise the profile of St Austell as a world recognised destination for art and clay, an attraction for visitors from across the globe.

Inspired by Cornish ceramicists, Jenny Beavan, Paul Jackson and many other creative people in St Austell, Whitegold has been curated Dr Alex Murdin from ruralrecreation since 2016. The team now includes co-curator Dr Katie Bunnell and festival producer Cat Radford.

The Whitegold Project is one of two strands of Fresh Green Futures, a St Austell Bay Economic Forum initiative, supported by the Coastal Communities Fund. The other is the Garden Project which will turn the St Austell area into a vast garden with a wild flower corridor stretching from the A30 to St Austell, through the China Clay area, past the approaches to the world-renowned Eden Project, which invites visitors towards the centre of St Austell. Award winning garden designer Darren Hawkes is leading on the development of these innovative new public spaces alongside masterplanners Mei Loci.

The artwork is at the forefront of a vision of the cultural regeneration of St Austell which aims to make the town and the surrounding areas into a town wide cultural centre for art and gardens, drawing on the established centres – Wheal Martyn Clayworks, Eden Project, The Lost Gardens of Heligan, Trewithen, Pine Lodge, Caerhays Castle, plus many other National Trust and other privately owned gardens. The project represents a unique opportunity to bring together artists, makers and designers with landscape designers, gardeners and ecologists to inspire and engage with sustainable futures.

Many thanks to our funders and supporters without whom the Whitegold Project would not be possible.

In particular we thank the Coastal Communities fund which awarded St Austell was awarded a £1 million contribution to transform the St Austell area as a visitor destination. The funding will support St Austell becoming a Green and Ceramic Cultural Centre including a programme of public realm cultural initiatives and events and skills training, to benefit residents and attract more visitors.

  • St Austell Bay Economic Forum
  • St Austel BID
  • St Austell Town Council
  • The Great British Coast
  • White River Place
  • Wheal Martyn
  • Feast
  • Eden Project
  • Imerys
  • Austell Project
  • St Austell Brewery
  • St Austell Printing Company
  • Cornwall Council
  • Arts Council England
  • Eco-Bos

The Coastal Communities Fund is run by the Ministry for Housing, Communities and Local Government (MHCLG). MHCLG say:
The Great British Coast has enormous Economic Potential and this government is determined to see it thrive all year round.
That’s why by 2020 the government will have invested £250 million in our much loved seaside areas through dedicated programmes like the Coastal Communities Fund to help in generating jobs and boosting businesses.
So far, MHCLG analysis shows that this has been money well spent; with every pound invested having the potential to create up to an £8 boost to our coastal economies.  To find out more visit the Coastal Communities fund website.

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2019 Festival programme

From clay talks to clay walks, hands on workshops, live performance, and an a-z of clay makers and potters