In 2022, Falmouth University in Cornwall inaugurated an archive of 26 projects. This got 26 member and Falmouth PhD student Julia Webb-Harvey thinking. The last Cornwall-focused project had been back in 2011. Surely it was high time for another?
Julia had long been fascinated by the Cornwall’s richly resonant place names – and that was the starting point for 26 Places in Cornwall. What secrets of language, history and legend could these names unlock?
With Falmouth lecturer and writer Tom Scott, Julia began planning and poring over maps. Was there anywhere beginning with an X? It turned out there is one, though it’s extremely hard to get to!
In August 2022 an invitation went out to members. The ask was simple: to visit one of an A-Z alphabet of Cornish places and produce two responses – a sestude (a poem of exactly 62 words) and a longer prose piece exploring the place’s name and history. As well as members of 26, a number of well-known Cornwall-based writers were asked to take part, and the Cornish language expert Kensa Broadhurst contributed an introduction looking at the linguistic and historical influences that have shaped the names of the region’s villages and towns.
Julia and Tom then invited Cornwall-based photographers to visit the same places with the writers’ words with them to inspire their own creative responses. And the result was a beautiful book, designed by Graphic Design students at the university, and an exhibition of poetry and photography that opened at The Poly in Falmouth just ahead of St Piran’s Day in February 2023.
To purchase a copy of the book, priced at £15 plus postage and packaging, please email email@example.com so we can put you in touch with the project leads.