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Artists-in-Mining Residency




Going Deep. Going Lithium: Inhabiting Green Technologies

How can arts-led approaches integrate intangible human aspects in immersive technologies, trigger effective cross-sectoral interaction and sustainable, inclusive innovation in the mining sector?


Lithium is a critical metal for the battery supply in our modern society. The question is, however, how to extract lithium with the smallest of impacts on the environment, with a low carbon, or even net zero, footprint? Research suggests that extracting lithium from geothermal waters with new DLE (Direct Lithium Extraction) technologies might be the most environmentally-responsible way to retrieve the critical metal. Cornwall, with its rich pool of underground hot springs, is thus best suited to produce a battery quality lithium hydroxide product from deep earth. Cornish Lithium (CL), a young company in Cornwall, fosters these new approaches and is evaluating the potential to utilize the heat energy as a power supply. To explore, discover and research CL uses digital technologies and collaborates with universities and diverse sectors. Deep Earth Synergies is thus partnering with Cornish Lithium to include the arts within that nexus. Emerging technologies, often considered as if existing in abstract, uninhabited spaces, could benefit from the inclusion of human beings and their embodied experience. We thus would like to tap the arts’ potential to open new ways of seeing, questioning, driving innovation and communication across sectors.

The artist will therefore be encouraged to imagine how to populate spaces of technology and how the technology and innovation would benefit from this habitation during a process of co-creation and collaboration with Cornish Lithium and Deep Earth Synergies. In this way, the artist is engaged at the forefront of the mine and the technological advances being investigated. Congruently, the artist becomes a conduit for society and social engagement, asking about the human essence in technology. Stories and society will drive connectivity to both earth and people, in order to foster sustainable innovation.

We are inviting proposals from experienced artists to undertake a residency this summer, with the outcome of a multi-media/digital artwork to be exhibited in Autumn 2021. In addition, one school workshop will be facilitated by the artist during the residency period, and two virtual exhibition talks during workshops with audiences in the autumn.

The residency if 22 days in totlal will take place at Cornish Lithium with a kick-off workshop, several monitoring and feedback sessions, excursions to the exploration sites and offices, access to the archives and interaction with scientists and staff. The residency period will be on and off site over the span of four weeks during the months of June and July 2021 and a dissemination process in autumn 2021. A minimum of seven days should be spent in Cornwall depending on Covid-19 restrictions. Artists must be available during this period.

The selected artist will receive a fee of £6270 to include 22 days residency, and two further presentation sessions in the Autumn of 2021.


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