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Sounds from ‘Copperopolis’ brought to life in dynamic exhibition

Dr Doon Macdonald with children from Hafod Primary

Dr Doon Macdonald with children from Hafod Primary

Sounds from ‘Copperopolis’ brought to life in dynamic exhibition

Swansea’s heritage as the beating heart of the copper industry was brought to life in a dynamic exhibition at Volcano Theatre held this month.

The ‘Finding Copperopolis’ exhibition featured work by Dr Doon Macdonald, whose soundtrack to the film ‘Echoes of Copperopolis’ was composed in collaboration with children from Hafod Primary School. The film was created using a 3D model put together by Nick Russill from Terradat Geophysics, a specialist independent geophysical survey company.

The Year 4 children worked with Doon to create sounds of what they thought the machinery of the Hafod Morfa copperworks would have made during its heyday in the 19th Century. They found inspiration from the Winding House in New Tredegar, which features a Victorian winding engine.

Richard Phillips, the Year 4 Class Teacher of Hafod Primary, comments: “Listening to the finished product is fantastic; the children have loved being involved in the creative process, which is topped off today by seeing the film featuring their own work.”

Doon, a Research Assistant for the CHERISH –DE project at Swansea University, has also created an interactive piece of living history in the form of a copper pipe, which when you move it, transmits stories from the people who worked at the copper works.

She comments: “Swansea was known as ‘Copperopolis’ in the 18th and 19th centuries, as 90% of the world’s copper was made in our city. It’s vital we keep the social history from the copper works alive through digital engagement projects such as this. Involving the children from the Hafod Primary was a fantastic way to engage them in the history of their own community.”

Dr Tracy Evans, who organised the exhibition, says: "The exhibition and screening of the 3D model is a fantastic end to a year-long project in which we have worked with a number of schools and community groups to share the story of the Copperworks and in particular to raise awareness of the newly restored Musgrave Crane Engine.

"The restoration was undertaken by local engineer Tom Henderson and a group of passionate volunteers thanks to a grant from the National Lottery Heritage Fund. Building the 3D model of the Musgrave Engine House has allowed us to find new ways for people to access the site without being physically present, which we hope will increase the number of virtual visitors in the years to come."

The exhibition also featured work from Karen Ingham, Crisis Art Group and Emma Jason. The Hafod Morfa Copperworks is the centre of an innovative heritage led regeneration project joint funded by Swansea University, City and Council of Swansea, Cadw, and the Welsh Government.