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A Cornish World/Bys Kernow

A Cornish World

A Cornish World

An exploration of Cornwall's history and the part it plays within a global context - a small place making a big impact?

About this Event

Date: Friday 5 March 2021

Time: 19:00 - 20:55 GMT

Location: Online event via Zoom.

Format: A series of presentations by prestigious speakers who are experts, or have a particular interest in the field of Cornish Studies from the UK, USA and Australia. Following their presentations, the panel will be available to address attendee questions in a plenary facilitated by Dr Garry Tregidga and Dr Joanie Willett, Co-Directors of the Institute of Cornish Studies, University of Exeter.

Event recap: To view a recording of the event, please click here

Event details

What makes Cornish Studies relevant in a global context? Well, perhaps a key reason is that Cornwall can be seen as a good case study of key globalisation processes, particularly global migration. Cornwall's position and relationship to the other Celtic countries, England, Europe and indeed the world also invites academic study worldwide. Today we mark St Piran's Day by looking at that global, outward facing aspect of Cornish past and present in a Cornish World.

Bys Kernow

Prag yth yw Studhyansow Kernewek a vri yn kever kettesten dres oll an bys? Martesen acheson posek yw stat Kernow avel studh didheurek yn kever argerdhow ollvysel, divroans yn arbennek.

Y fydh keskussulyans an pympves mis Meurth, Gool Perran, restrys gans an Fondyans Studhyansow Kernewek, Pennskol Garesk. Henwyn an keskussulyans yw “Bys Kernow.” Y fydh paperyow skiansek skrifys ha presentys gans: Matt Blewett ha Kensa Broadhurst, studhyoryon dhoktourieth dhyworth an Fondyans, Mike Chappell dhyworth an bagas ‘Kernow Matters to You,’ Professor Matthew Spriggs, dhyworth Pennskol Genedhlek Ostrali, Doktour Amy Hale, ha Doktour Alan Sandry dhyworth Pennskol Swansea. Wosa an paperyow, y fydh dadhel ha spas rag govynnow gans Doktour Garry Tregidga ha Doktour Joanie Willett.

Drefen agan bos yn-dann naw alwedh, an keskussulyans a vydh warlinen. Res yw dhywgh kovskrifa rag token (heb kost). An gevren yw: An keskussulyans a dhalleth dhe seyth eur gorthugherweyth ha ev a wra hedhi kyns naw eur mar mynnowgh gul garm Trelawny!


19:00 Introduction, History of the Institute of Cornish Studies & Setting the Scene, Dr Garry Tregidga & Dr Joanie Willett, University of Exeter
19:05 Cornwall’s Global History: Cornwall as a case study in globalisation, Mr Matt Blewett, PhD student at the Institute of Cornish Studies, University of Exeter

J’ai vécu*: the impact of the French Revolution on the lives of two Cornishmen, John Pollard and James Quick - Miss Kensa Broadhurst, PhD student at the Institute of Cornish Studies, University of Exeter

* Attributed to the Abbé Sieyès, author of Qu’est-ce que le Tiers-État? (What is the Third Estate? 1789)

19:35 Our worldwide Cornish family - a lay Cornish perspective, Mr Mike Chappell, Cornishman, retired police officer and councillor, member of 'Kernow Matters' group
19:50  The Cornish Corpus Publication Project: A progress report, Professor Matthew Spriggs, Australian National University
20:05 Cornwall as a Site for Discourses of Authenticity in Contemporary Witchcraft and Occult Cultures, Dr Amy Hale, PhD, Anthropologist and Folklorist
20:20  Wales: A Small Nation Thinking Big, Dr Alan Sandry, University of Swansea
20:35 Plenary on the themes covered above: event attendees are invited to ask questions to the panel of speakers facilitated by Dr Garry Tregidga & Dr Joanie Willett

Closing remarks, Dr Garry Tregidga

Summary of presentations

Pesentation Theme: Cornwall as a case study in globalisation

Presentation Title: Cornwall’s Global History

Précis - Cornwall as a case study in globalisation Cornwall is a useful case study to look at current trends and theories in globalisation. As a post-industrial economy, Cornwall remains one of the poorest areas of northern Europe and while it has been described as “England’s First Colony” I aim to show that despite the “subaltern” voice being present, post-colonial theory may not be as useful as “multiple modernities” in describing how Cornish people choose our relationship to the modern world.

Presentation Theme & Title: J’ai vécu*: the impact of the French Revolution on the lives of two Cornishmen, John Pollard and James Quick.

Précis: Two documents found in the collection of the Morrab Library, Penzance, give an insight into the impact of Revolutionary France and the Napoleonic Wars on ordinary Cornishmen. John Pollard, a ship’s Captain from Newlyn, a prisoner of war in France from 1794-95, kept a journal for a large portion of his time in captivity. Similarly, Captain James Quick was held captive from 1810-1814. He wrote a series of letters to his wife in St Mawes detailing his life as a prisoner and his attempts to learn French. Both sources detail links and networks within Cornwall, and the extent to which the men were well-informed as to events within France.
*Attributed to the Abbé Sieyès, author of Qu’est-ce que le Tiers-État? (What is the Third Estate? 1789)

Presentation Theme & Title: ‘Our worldwide Cornish family - a lay Cornish perspective’

Précis: A short ‘lay’ and personal perspective of the great Cornish diaspora, our overseas families and their descendants. Far from being insular, a common jibe, the Cornish are a people who have walked the world and embraced globalism.

Presentation Theme: The need for and current plans pertaining to publication of writings in and on the Cornish Language pre-1800.

Presentation Title: 1000 years of Cornish: Writings in and on the Cornish Language, c.AD800-1800

Précis: Discussions are underway with University of Exeter Press for a publication of writings in and about the Cornish language pre-AD1800 in a definitive academic edition, to be published as an Occasional series. An editorial board is being established as well as a larger academic Advisory Committee. Plans for the first volume,  the late 16th century Sacrament an Alter/The Sacrament of the Alter: A critical edition and translation, to be prepared by DH Frost are well underway. The Project, spanning the Cornish World from the UK, to Hawaii and through to Vanuatu in the South Pacific is complementary to the Corpus Textuum Cornicorum of Nicholas Williams and colleagues, having a particular emphasis on critical commentaries on the texts and on the publication of works about the Cornish language as well as works in the language. 

Presentation Theme & Title: Cornwall as a Site for Discourses of Authenticity in Contemporary Witchcraft and Occult Cultures

Précis: As the international interest in Witchcraft and the occult has skyrocketed in the past several years, once again Cornwall finds itself centre stage. Although Cornwall has been a site for the magically inclined for centuries, this emergent spiritual phenomenon weaves Cornwall’s “otherworldly” legacy with discourses of Cornish ethnicity and difference, promoting a more “authentic” and purportedly genuine Cornish Pagan experience, rooted in Cornish folklore. This combination has proven to be wildly popular and internationally influential. Here I will explore how the interplay and cultural feedback between Cornish Celtic ethnicity and expressions of particularly magico-religious Witchcraft are being driven by both recent and longstanding debates about legitimacy and authenticity.

Presentation Theme & Title: Wales - A Small Nation Thinking Big

Précis: The political scene across the UK and Europe is rapidly shifting. Constitutional and Ideological shifts are observable at every level. Nations, like Wales, which are generally seen to be peripheral to the established nation-states are beginning to question their existence and purpose within those centralised entities. Cornwall would also come into this equation as its identity will be further questioned (and threatened) in the years ahead, as the impact of Brexit and English Exceptionalism take hold.

Wales has seen a rise in calls for its independence. Yes Cymru has seen an exponential increase in its membership. Opinion polls, especially among young people, are showing significant numbers in favour of independence. All in all, therefore, the situation in Wales is receiving global attention, and a reflection on the state-of-play is germane. We also need to assess what these issues mean for future political configurations, in which Cornwall will be affected.