The Brickfield team and their project collaborators are excited to announce they have received a National Lottery Heritage Fund grant of £9,900 for a new project for 2021. Brickfield BUILD engages people in St Austell with the brickmaking heritage of the region, exploring its relevance to a more sustainable future through hand making bricks with china clay extraction waste and using them to make creative new structures. This intergenerational project specifically connects people with dementia, youth groups and architecture students with heritage and uses co-design techniques to enable participants to lead on the creative process.

The project involves The Happy Wanderers, an intergenerational dementia friendly walking group local to St Austell, supported by the Sensory Trust, Falmouth University Masters in Architecture (MArch) students, Cornwall College Bricklaying students and a St Austell young women’s group, supported by Young People Cornwall (YPC). From 19th April 2021 participants will be involved in a week-long set of activities on the Brickfield site in St Austell including walking the land, learning how to mix clay and make bricks and constructing experimental brick structures.

Brickfield is a community brickworks based in a disused clay pit in the heart of Cornwall’s china clay country created by ceramic artist Rosanna Martin in 2019 with the support of Whitegold, the creative arm of the Austell Project and IMERYS, St Austell’s China Clay producers.

Brickfield has a long-term goal to empower and enable communities to draw on the history and heritage of brickmaking in the region and build things that will improve their local environment and their feeling of belonging within it. Brickfield BUILD is an important step towards that goal.

The Brickfield team consists of lead artist, Rosanna Martin who innovatively combines knowledge of ceramic materials and an exploration of traditional techniques with socially engaged projects; two local ceramic artists, Bobi MacFadzean and Zenna Tagney; and John Osborne, the last surviving brickmaker in St Austell. The Brickfield team will teach clay mixing, brick moulding and firing and their skills will be complemented by MA Architecture students and staff as well as other visiting professional experts in sustainable building techniques for mortar, stone and brick-laying.

Rosanna Martin says:

“I’m so excited to have the opportunity to bring the heritage of brickmaking in Cornwall to life with this new project and following the work we have done with John Osborne. It’s our first chance to explore what we can build with the bricks everyone has made, and the melting pot of ideas created by bringing the different groups together is going to be fascinating!”

Project partners are Falmouth University’s Architecture courses, Sensory Trust who support the Happy Wanderers, Young People Cornwall at The House, St Austell and Cornwall College.

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