It’s useful to read this and get a different perspective on our project.
Great to see Jess’s work selected for Mostyn Open and presented in a new form – looks good like this. A very prestigious show to be in. Nice to meet up with both Jess and Alana there.
As luck would have it the CVAN event (Bivouac#2 hosted by Eden Arts) I had booked myself on some time ago happened to include a visit into Sellafield. This was an excellent research opportunity complimenting my previous visit to the area. The CVAN event was very well organised and comprised of a full afternoon of discussions on Thursday 15th, plus an evening of presentations, followed by a day trip on the Friday. I made some great connections with various other artists and a very enlightened scientist, all of whom I hope to keep in touch with.
At Sellafield we were hosted at a visitor reception centre outside of the high security area where we had tea and coffee and were given our security passes. We were then bused through the gates once our passes were physically inspected and the bus checked over.
We were taken to the viewing gallery of the waste reception and indoor pond storage site, the newer one not the legacy ponds which have had so much media attention over the years. We were given a lot of information about the history of the site and the waste processing systems.
We were then put back on the bus and given a tour of the entire site from the bus before being taken back to the reception centre for lunch. Our guides were very open to questions and generous with their information. Alas no photographs, as no phones or cameras are not allowed in with visitors.
I am still processing all the information from that visit, but immediate impressions were that the site is a very compact history of the nuclear story from the military beginnings at Windscale though to the UK’s first civil nuclear power station at Calder Hall all the way through to the waste storage facility and the long term issues yet to be resolved here.
Once again timescales and thoughts beyond the human are raised here. The flasks that were on display for the containment of reclaimed Plutonium were particularly striking to me. They made me think of canoptic jars, except instead of hieroglyphics there are bar codes…
“Radioactive Art”, which was first broadcast on radio 4 Thursday 2nd March, ends in an interview with Ele Carpenter standing in a stone circle at the outskirts of the Sellafield Nuclear reprocessing facility in Cumbria. This inspired me to make a journey over to Cumbria to seek out this site and make some work there.
The weather was glorious, the action pictured above resulted in serious sunburn! As expected, we attracted the attention of the Nuclear Defence Constabulary who were very polite and extremely thorough in their background checks. It is an interesting test of communication skills explaining why it is important for to you to carry a handmade loom across the fields to a stone circle in order to weave recycled copper wire in the sight of Sellafield……
Kate williams model of Dounreay, made of uranium glass, was know to me already from online images when we started our project. Nice to see two versions of it recently, one in Thurso museum and one in the Museum of Scotland in Edinburgh. Spooky?
The spanking new building at Wick, North Scotland, housing the archives of the Nuclear industry together with local archives. Some fantastic artefacts from the industry are housed there with full public access, together with some top secret documentation of all aspects of the industry’s history.