Archive for July, 2009

to infinity and beyond?

Posted in meet the geevor staff on July 30, 2009 by geevor

claire rPending goodbyes…

Yesterday, I had my last local management committee meetings (LMC for short), whats one of them? Well for the non KTP crowd, its pretty much a progress report on how the all the elements of the project is doing.  What project?.. well…. I have a cool job, I get to come up with new and exciting ways for everyone to learn about Geevor using electronic resources, and the main part of my job is to create a new elearning resource for Geevor, something I have had no experience in before, so I was really thrown into the deep end!  Along the way I’ve been a researcher, mining historian, public archaeologist, facilitator, designer, photographer, project manager, trainer, mineral collector, archivist, developer, floor cleaner, communicator, web geek, ideas stealer, marketer, presenter, tea maker, cake baker and general nerdosaurus.

I knew my elearning project at Geevor was coming to end, but it didn’t really hit until yesterday that I’m going to be leaving, and the likely hood is that I wont see people who worked on the project with me again.  Sad times.  Despite my rants and raves about the project to many an individual, and every possible thing that could of gone wrong,  going wrong, I have loved every single minute of the project, and wouldn’t change any of it.  I thoroughly enjoyed the challenge.

Working with the team at the University of Exeter and with Geevor has been a very rewarding experience and I have learnt a lot. I must thank everyone for working through a difficult project and surpassing the original outcomes , how well that has been achieved is yet to be established, only the users will be able to tell….. By the by…. The final elearning website goes live AUGUST 17th!

I must point out the efforts of the ELearning and Communications team up at Exeter, their work has been outstanding with the resources and time available.  Their support, advice and putting up with my constant ‘can we do this?’ and ‘what about this?’  and ‘Ive been thinking about doing this awesome thing….can we do that?’  has been exceptional, and without this the project could not have been completed to such a high standard.  Its amazing what you can achieve with blood, sweat, tears and copious amounts of tea and cake.

As it was the last meeting we were looking at the objectives and whether these had been achieved in the timescales.  To be honest its been two very short years! Its flown by, and theres so much I would still like to do (mostly involving changing completely how I went about doing some elements of the elearning –hindsight is a blessing and a curse!) there as so many things I would like to improve and develop and really the launch is just the beginning, it’s the base line for Geevor to do some wonderful work and really get out there to as many people as possible!

So, its got me thinking about sustainability and sustainable development.  What happens when the funding stops? When the project ends? When the support dissipates? When the project advocate leaves?  How to you ensure that the website (or whatever it may be) becomes a core part of the organisation’s operations? How do you embed something which is such a drastic change to the way things have been done before or ‘done in the past’.  In essence how do you change the culture and make it stick? Can you take things to infinity and beyond when you leave a project?

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Jo B signing off till Easter 2010

Posted in meet the geevor staff on July 20, 2009 by geevor

jo bThis is Jo B signing off till Easter. The last school group of the school year has been, term is at an end and therefore it is time for me also to go for the summer. However, unlike the school groups I will not be back in September as my second baby is due on the 20th September and based on how things are going, I shall be rather too large to make it back up the hill at the end of a workshop.

I will however be back after Easter for the start of the summer term next year, and I am already exited about what the possibilities within my job may be by then. Whilst I am away, our learning website and new information leaflet will be launched. Our office hours, if we have any( if school visits continue to increase at their current rate we won’t) can be taken up with new exiting projects to make Geevor even more accessible in even more ways to even more learners. See you then. Can’t wait!

Jo B

upcoming events!

Posted in Events on July 18, 2009 by geevor

July

In July Geevor is opening on Saturdays! you can now visit Geevor 7 days a week!

Sunday 19th. Guided Ancient Archaeology Walk.

Join National Trust Archaeologist Paul Bonnington at Geevor for a two-and-a-half hour guided walk to explore the prehistoric fogous and landscape at Boscaswell and Pendeen.  1pm. £5 per person which includes a voucher for half-price site entrance. Weather permitting.

Sunday 26th. Guided Industrial Archaeology Walk.

Join local mining experts for a two-hour walk to explore the industrial archaeology of Geevor and the surrounding areas. 11am. £5 per person which includes a voucher for half-price site entrance. Numbers are limited so please book in advance. Weather permitting. Max Number 25.

Monday 27th July. Miners’ tale and Hand drilling.

Listen to a twenty-minute talk on an interesting aspect of mining history., 1130am. No booking required. Free with site admission.

A chance to have a go at hand drilling, hand barrowing and crushing rock using a bucking iron. Supervised by Geevor staff. Free with site admission. Suitable for all ages (except those using a bucking iron must be over 8yrs). All children must be accompanied by a paying adult. No booking required. Between 2pm and 3pm.

Tuesday 28th Sword in the Stone demonstrations.

Neil Burridge, Bronze-Age Metalworker and Celtic Craftsman, shows how to cast a Bronze-Age sword and how this ancient metal was worked.Tuesday 28th July 12pm and 230pm. No booking required. Free with site admission.

Wednesday 29th.  Miners’ tale and Hand drilling.

Listen to a twenty-minute talk on an interesting aspect of mining history. 1130am. No booking required. Free with site admission.

A chance to have a go at hand drilling, hand barrowing and crushing rock using a bucking iron. Supervised by Geevor staff. Free with site admission. Suitable for all ages (except those using a bucking iron must be over 8yrs). All children must be accompanied by a paying adult. No booking required.. Between 2pm and 3pm.

Thursday 30th July. Miners’ tale and Hand drilling.

Listen to a twenty-minute talk on an interesting aspect of mining history. 1130am. No booking required. Free with site admission.

A chance to have a go at hand drilling, hand barrowing and crushing rock using a bucking iron. Supervised by Geevor staff. Free with site admission. Suitable for all ages (except those using a bucking iron must be over 8yrs). All children must be accompanied by a paying adult. No booking required. Between 2pm and 3pm.

Friday 31st July. Sword in the Stone demonstrations.

Neil Burridge, Bronze-Age Metalworker and Celtic Craftsman, shows how to cast a Bronze-Age sword and how this ancient metal was worked.Friday 31st July 12pm and 230pm . No booking required. Free with site admission.

Wildlife Photography Competition

Posted in Events, Hard Rock Gallery, Just for fun on July 14, 2009 by geevor

HeatherDo you enjoy taking photographs?

To celebrate the wealth of plant, animal and insect life at Geevor Tin Mine, we are running a photo competition. Simply submit a digital photo of an  aspect of wildlife on the site for your chance to win a prize and also to have your photo included in an exhibition alongside wildlife photograph experts.

Rules of entry:

It is not open to professional photographers. There are two categories, 16 and under, and over 16. Photos have to be of Geevor or immediate surroundings. The theme is biodiversity covering all aspects of plants, animals, fish or insect life. It is not a requirement to feature the mine buildings. The competition will be judged according to artistic merit. No cost for entry. Photos must be supplied digitally as a jpeg (maximum file size 8mb) at the following size and resolution: 420mm x 279mm at 300dpi (4961×3508 pixels). Note that the photo can be portrait or landscape.All entries must be submitted digitally and sent to the email address hardrockgallery@geevor.com All entires will receive an email of confirmation of receipt.

Closing date of Sunday 20th September.

so get snappy!

Judges decision final. Exhibition will run until Spring 2010. We will endeavour to include all entrants in our exhibition gallery big screen. We will display 10 runners up and the winners from each category for the duration of our Wildlife on the edge exhibition. By entering this competition, you are agreeing to allow Geevor Tin Mine to use your photograph for the purposes of publicity, education and exhibition.

VSG conference part 2!

Posted in meet the geevor staff on July 13, 2009 by geevor

claire rSorry for the delay in blogging about the remainer of VSG, but I’m lacking in steam, so heres some tit bits of what stood out for me.

Ok, so one of the really great things about the VSG conference was the workshops.   I like presentations, but I really like getting in to the nitty gritty of the projects that the presenters are discussing.   One of the workshops that I went to was by the Maggie and Andy from Chester Zoo and it was really interesting finding out more about their project.  Their workshop title ‘Getting the Most out of Words’ focused on focus group conversations and how you make sense of that in a robust and reliable way. We were given a transcript and were asked to code it.  Quite a difficult task, when the codes were very zoo specific.  On several occasions many of us slipped into using generic learning outcomes to highlight the dialogue. It was interesting to see how they went about coding the transcripts, the approaches they took and why.

Another workshop I attended, was forced to abandon the seminar room and we ended up sitting under the shade of a tree in the park.  It was a welcome relief from the unbearable heat.  This workshop was with Shelia Watson and was looking at how to get the best out of focus group work.  Their was quite a lot of evaluation consultants in the audience, so it was more an open discussion about focus group experiences and what works and what doesn’t.  Cake and wine seem to be a good call…

The Marketplace of Ideas.

Right so to the marketplace! This was why I was invited.  Its quite a good idea, it gives the delegates a chance to wander around and chat to different projects and museums and find out in more detail about what’s we’ve all been up to.

i talked about:

“Geevor Rocks – Inspiring and engaging hard to each audiences”

Due to Geevor’s unique location, collections and heritage it has attracted many of the traditional museums ‘underrepresented, excluded and hard to reach audiences’.   During the marketplace delegates can explore the way in which the local community has driven and shaped the development of the UK’s largest mining museum. This encompasses the involvement of local people in creating exhibitions, employment of ex-miners, project work to conserve the significant site archive, working with SEN and NEET groups, collaborative work with rural schools, a volunteer led Oral History Project, and community involvement in the governance of the charity.

I didn’t really get a chance to look at anybody elses projects apart from:

“Journeys of Change – Supplementary Schools learning with Museums”

Louise Lamming, from Brent Museum and Archive got their nearly as early as me to set up!  (Lousie however looked rather more stylish with her wheelie outreach suitcase, then I did struggling with a standy upy poster thingie).  Her project is really interesting and something Geevor should definitely get involved with.  At the moment the learning team focus on key stage 1 and 2, because the learning team is so small, that’s all we can manage! Never the less we’re really good at it and won the Sandford award in 2007.  But we are hoping to expand our horizons, and we will, eventually! We have the ideas (and things are in the pipeline already), just not the man power to do it all… yet! Anyway Louise told me all about working with supplementary schools.  The project involved 3museums – the Imperial War Museum, Brent Museum and Brent Archive, and Hackney Museum , who worked with supplementary schools in their local areas. Each designed projects which met the unique learning needs of each school.  This closeness of working is brilliant especially for Geevor who is part of a small community, if we could get some projects on the go like this one with the after school clubs and the children centre it would be fab! But that means funding funding funding!

The final day started with Richard Sandell discussing ‘New ways of Seeing: Capturing visitor engagement with social issues’. Richard talked about Rethinking Disability.  My tweets about this presentation caused a bit of stir with the question “are museums the place to change social attitudes towards disability?”

Museums are trying to engage visitors in debates about contemporary social issues; the problem seems to be now; should they? How do museums go about doing that? And how do they capture and analyse the social effects and consequences of doing so?  Big questions. Big answers are still required.

Next was Verity Walker.  I really enjoyed this presentation, Verity is a very engaging speaker.  She started with an ice breaker for us all, making us stand up and turn around and wave I think.  Her presentation entitled ‘confronting apathy through interpretive planning’.  This was a absolutely brilliant look at how to work with a ‘hard to reach’ community in Merkinch, near Inverness.

Verity’s tips:

How to make your project fail in an apathy rich community

  1. Stick up posters
  2. Hold meetings in the local church
  3. Present a powerpoint
  4. Complain at the people who do turn up, about the people who haven’t turned up.

Wise lessons there for us all!

The final session of the day was Gail Durbin discussing ‘using the web to engage new audiences’  all I need say are tattoos, beachs and knitting. Genius. Pure and simple.

“Can’t Come. Don’t come. Won’t come.”

Posted in meet the geevor staff on July 6, 2009 by geevor

claire rVisitor Studies Group Conference 2009

Last week I was up in Leicester for the Visitor Studies Conference (not to be confused with the distance learning MA summer school – the amount of people who still think I’m a student astounds me… I’m like Peter Pan, I will look and feel young forever!)

Anyway I was invited to take place in the marketplace of ideas by @jenniferfuchs the chair of the Visitor Studies Group, as there is a distinct lack of Cornish representation at these events.  I must add it was via twitter that the invitation was handed out, twitter is marvellous isn’t it?  anyway.  It was a really interesting event! It was nice to be immersed in evaluation again for a while.

The first speaker was Jocelyn Dodd, who discussed the fact that there are no simple solutions when it comes to researching the complexities of hard to reach groups and museums.  One of the delegates said during the course of the two day event; It’s not the groups that are hard to reach, it’s the museums that are hard to get in to. a valid point. Jocelyn asked how can the researcher play a part in the process of making the visitor feel welcome in museums?  Of course exclusion is a complex issue.  Maslow and his hierarchy of needs came up, as excluded audiences have strong tendencies to be at the bottom of the triangle.  I was looking at a blog post about Maslow’s hierarchy a couple of days ago (http://www.ruthstalkerfirth.com/user-motivation-maslows-hierarchy-of-needs) it was brilliant because it used an example of the Scottish Crannog Centre (where I used to work before Geevor- i do seem to work in unusual places) this blog claimed that ‘our needs and motivations have changed little since the Iron Age.’ I have a tendency to agree, we all want to belong, to feel safe and respected and it is exactly the same for ‘excluded audiences’.   Jocelyn commended the work of Tyne and Wear Museums for their mission being exclusively social rather then about their collections ‘to help determine their place in the world and define their identities’.   When it comes to researching hard to reach groups it is imperative to collect multiple perspectives to properly understand the context of these visitors and the impact visits to museums will have on their lives. You shouldn’t dive straight in to projects, it takes time to understand the context and to build relationships.

Maggie Esson from Chester Zoo discussed ‘Achieving Audience Inclusivity.  It was really interesting hearing a presentation from a zoo’s perspective. Plus she looked amazing! Exactly how you would expect a proper zoo lady to look!

By their very nature zoo discriminate their audiences, with high admission fees and not being well served by public transport make zoo’s inherently elitist.   There is also people who won’t come to zoo’s on principle.  Zoo’s are very aware of these reasons, but they are striving to be as inclusive as possible.  For Chester zoo, education is very important they don’t want to be seen ‘as a fun day out’.  That is not acceptable in the 21st century, animals held in captivity is not ‘just for fun’.  Therefore zoo education is a central role aiming to influence peoples attitudes and behaviours, making zoo’s a catalyst for environmental change.   Maggie discussed a project with One Parent/ Gingerbread charity called ‘learning together’.  It looks like a fantastic project with zoo based workshops as well as work in the community.  Maggie discussed the sense of achievement when you see parents working together with their children.  This is a brilliant sensation, at Geevor I don’t get involved in the workshops, and I miss that interaction.  Chester zoo is quite lucky as it has an educational Research officer (Andrew Moss) so they are continually doing visitor research. I would love for Geevor to have a position like that, as it would be brilliant to clearly see the pros and cons of the work that Geevor does.  For this project the parents participated in focus groups and these conversations were analysed. It really did seem to make a strong impact on the individuals involved.   Maggie also raised the point that its quite ironic that zoo’s are trying to change public perceptions to be seen as more educational and museums are striving to become more fun.  I also participated in a workshop with Maggie and Andrew later in the day, which I will blog about in the next instalment…

Jo W’s chaotic month

Posted in meet the geevor staff on July 1, 2009 by geevor

jo wJune has been more than a little chaotic to say the least. We are now several guides down so I have been learning how to do the main underground tour for July and August. I love doing this and it’s a change of scenery.

We had Bish Bash Bosh do a theatre performance called Surfing Tommies here at the beginning of June. A good 40 people (see last month’s blog for note on numbers!) turned up – it was brilliant. It was on the tin floors in the mill. I was terrified we would overload the power supply the whole way through but all was well. Will certainly do more of this. Got into a bit of a panic though trying to lock up a million doors and gates with new Claire  Sat 11 at night in the pitch black….needed a strong gin when I finally got home.

Bill has been tied up writing a paper for a mining history conference which Claire R has been helping to organise for the last two years. Well done Bill and Claire, it went well I heard.

Nick and I took delivery of the 200 maps and plans that we have sent as batch one of the scanning and then had to prepare the next 300 to go……what a relief that’s over. Still, it’s always nice to see the lovely Richard who has probably been down every mine in the world.

I have been planning the next exhibition with the learning team…a photographic exhibition Wildlife on the Edge to tie in with the wealth of biodiversity on the site. We are having photos by professional photographers alongside runners up and winners of a photographic competition we are going to run. Super. Cant wait. Been speaking with BTCV and the Cornwall Wildlife Trust as well on various events.

In the middle of this chaos, I had a wonderful birthday celebration with lunch at the Porthmister Beach Café – the sun shone and St Ives was at its best. That’s it now, we won’t be back there till the summer tourists have gone!

On 22nd we launched our campaign for public votes in the National Lottery Awards. Voting closes any day now, fingers crossed. PLEASE VOTE FOR US IF YOU ARE READING THIS. The link is…http://www.lotterygoodcauses.org.uk/awards/shortlistitem.cfm?id_category=5&id_entry=72

June was clouded with some very sad news. Mike Lindley who has been a volunteer on site for years died suddenly. It was a great shock to us and to the team of volunteers whom he worked with every Wednesday morning on the archive project. Our deepest sympathy is extended to his family and he will be greatly missed.