Exhibition helps visitors understand county's past

Visitors to Bodmin Jail this Easter holiday are being treated to a fascinating exhibition on Cornwall’s colourful past, thanks to University students and researchers.

Pirates, Police and Pasties runs until Sunday 8 April, and is being staged by the jail in association with University of Plymouth Time-Lock Productions.

Through posters developed by students from the University’s School of Law, Criminology and Government, and an accompanying audio transcript, the exhibition addresses questions such as: who were the pirates and smugglers? How were their illegal activities policed? And where does the pasty fit into the story?

Time-Lock is part of the University's Institute for Social, Policy and Enterprise Research (iSPER) #CHITCHAT Research Initiative - Crime, History and Institutions: Transdisciplinary Conversations in Heritage, Art and Transmedia.

The exhibition has been organised by #CHITCHAT’s Rob Giles, working with the group’s co-leads Professor Kim Stevenson and Craig Newbery-Jones, Visiting Research Fellow Dr Judith Rowbotham, Associate Professor in Law Jason Lowther, and Dr David Cox from the University of Wolverhampton’s Faculty of Social Sciences. Mr Giles said: 

“Time-Lock Productions are delighted to have established such a strong alliance with Bodmin Jail, a major attraction in Cornwall. Criminology students have been visiting the jail annually, but this is the first formal agreement established between the University and the jail.

“As curator for the exhibition I was impressed by the effort made by the Time-Lock team, our associates and the students, who contributed a full and varied array of visibly engaging posters that were both educational and fun, providing interest for families.

“The jail has suggested further collaboration with Time-Lock, and we look forward to creating a strong and positive relationship with this important partner.”
Dr Rowbotham said:

“The exhibition shows how all three areas interlock - and are sustained by an enjoyment of pasties, to such an extent that it even led to criminal activities associated with pasty theft, and deception involving a guinea pig.

“This is the first event in what we hope will be an exercise in community sharing of our research enterprises, via our collaboration with Bodmin Jail.”

The free exhibition is open from 9.30am to 6pm daily. Find out more.

#CHITCHAT? Co-Lead - Professor Kim Stevenson

Kim is Professor of Sociolegal History in the School of Law, Criminology and Government. Her research expertise focuses on the history of crime and criminal justice and the use of newspaper crime reportage. She is co-founder of SOLON Interdisciplinary Studies in Law, Crime and History, promoting research that draws primarily on legal and historical perspectives, and is co-editor of the Routledge SOLON book series: Explorations in the Histories of Crime and Criminal Justice. Kim is currently leading research on Everyday Offending in Plymouth 1850-1914

Take a look at Kim's video introducing #CHITCHAT?.

For more information about Kim's research and publications visit to her profile page.

#CHITCHAT? Co-Lead - Craig Newbery-Jones

Craig  is a lecturer in Plymouth's School of Law, Criminology and Government. His interests include legal history and the representation of the law and lawyers in historical and contemporary culture, often intersecting with considerations of the ethics and regulation of legal professionals. Craig also has a keen interest in pedagogical theory, research and innovation, having led numerous projects based around Experiential, Technology Enhanced, and Problem Based Learning. These interests have recently converged into an aspiration to use contemporary technology and medias to engage the public in socio-legal historical research. He believes that virtual, augmented, and mixed reality experiences can be spaces of interactive experimentation for reflective learning within the heritage sector, and beyond.

About #CHITCHAT?

While the dictionary definition for ‘chitchat’ may be ‘inconsequential conversation,’ conversely this iSPER Research Initiative considers approaches for engaging the public in casual but enlightening dialogues around our historical research into local crime, regional history, and community institutions. Through making use of the extensive changes and increased portability of technology, #CHITCHAT? acts as sandpit for research collaboration and a forum for the development of tools that encourage public engagement with our research findings and other heritage materials. This initiative engages academic researchers, industry professionals, heritage stakeholders, and the general public in transdisciplinary conversations around Crime, History and Public Institutions through transmedia methods, sources, and platforms. 

Watch the video of #CHITCHAT? members Craig Newbery-Jones and Rob Giles to find out more.

ChitChat: Crime, History and Institutions: Transdisciplinary Conversations in Heritage, Art and Transmedia

#CHITCHAT? is a sandpit for research collaboration and forum for the development of tools that encourage public engagement with our research findings and other heritage materials.

At its core, this initiative will engage academic researchers, industry professionals, heritage stakeholders, and the general public in transdisciplinary conversations around Crime, History and Public Institutions through transmedia methods, sources, and platforms.

Read more about #CHITCHAT?