A new publication focussing on the people and communities which are part of Cornwall's mining heritage is being launched at a fortnight long exhibition at the Cornwall Centre, May 12 - 23.

Voices of the Cornish Mining Landscape' by Dr Sharron Schwartz is a unique undertaking, based around interviews with former mine workers and other local residents who live in the Central Mining District (the towns of Camborne and Redruth and the constellation of mining villages around them). The book addresses how Cornish mining heritage is regarded by individuals and "is a work exploring the Cornish mining landscape from the perspective of those who lived and are living within it."

Accompanying the book launch is an exhibition of archive images from the Cornwall Centre alongside specially commissioned portraits of some of the interviewees, taken by Cornwall based photographer, Vince Bevan, as well as excerpts of the book to accompany the pictures.

The book was conceived by members of the project team at Cornwall county council responsible for implementing the Mineral Tramways Heritage Project, and following on from the successful bid for some of Cornwall's mining landscape to become a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

Dr Sharron Schwartz said: "We have been bequeathed a fabulous landscape and heritage by our predecessors that we should be intensely proud of, a reminder that Cornwall lay at the very centre of the global hard rock mining industry. I was honoured to be asked to write this book as it was a unique opportunity to "people" this internationally recognised landscape using the thoughts and words of those who have called and continue to call it, their home."

The springboard for the Voices' initiative was an oral testimony project managed by the Mineral Tramways Project in partnership with the University of Exeter's Institute of Cornish Studies Cornwall Audio Visual Archive (CAVA). Voices' relied on the enthusiasm and efforts of many people, in particular a group of intrepid volunteers who recorded interviews with local people who gave up their time to talk.

"For the first time, this book presents the views and opinions of local people concerning the mining landscape that surrounds them", said Lucia Crothall, former Mineral Tramways Project Education Officer. "Some of the many remarkable words that were spoken can be read in the book and more will soon be made publicly accessible on CDs housed at the Cornwall Centre in Redruth. A fifteen minute edited version of key recordings can also be downloaded from www.sense-of-place.co.uk/voices"