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Drawn from the Ground: Discovering Graphite and its Secrets

Interested in art and alchemy? Fancy discovering the secrets of one of the world’s most curious minerals? Join us for a hands-on exploration of graphite at Keswick Museum in the English Lake District. We’ll learn about the special connection between graphite and the region’s geological and industrial past, and we’ll experiment with this precious substance. Following the ideas of Victorian art critic and geologist John Ruskin, we’ll use close-looking to reveal the mysterious qualities in graphite. You’ll compare natural graphite with its modern industrial counterparts, make your own pencils and use these to draw, following the easy steps of Ruskin’s guidance assisted by expert artists Sarah Casey and Gerry Davies. This accompanies interactive experiments, led by historian Chris Donaldson, revealing the properties of graphite that wowed early scientists, including electrifying our drawings to light a bulb! Suited to family audiences of all ages. This event is delivered in partnership with Keswick Museum and The Ruskin – Library, Museum and Research Centre and Lancaster University.

Introduction and demonstrations will begin on the hour (every hour between 11am and 3pm) in the Crosthwaite Room at Keswick Museum. For additional information, please write to c.e.donaldson@lancaster.ac.uk.

This event is part of the Being Human festival, the UK’s only national festival of the humanities, taking place 14–23 November. For further information please see https://beinghumanfestival.org/.

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