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Exhibition gives insight into the changing landscape of Snowdon 

An exhibition by academics and students exploring Wales’s most famous mountain opens this week. 

The exhibition Retracing Footsteps – The Changing Landscape of Snowdon opens to the public on Saturday, June 15 in the Grosvenor Museum. 

Attracting around 650,000 visitors a year, Snowdon is often hailed as one of the world’s busiest mountains. However, the desire to reach the summit is not a new phenomenon. Visitor books housed at the summit during the 19th Century offer a fascinating insight into the historic experience of the mountain through prose, poetry, humour and sketches. 

The exhibition is the second phase of a research project co-led by Dr Cian Quayle, Associate Professor in the Faculty of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences and Dr Daniel Bos, Senior Lecturer in Human Geography from the University of Chester and is based on Daniel’s extensive research related to 19th Century Snowdon summit hotel visitor books in which the tourists of the day recorded their experiences of ascending Snowdon.  

The first iteration of the project was curated by Cian and exhibited at CASC in Castlefield Gallery New Arts Spaces: Chester at the end of last year. This exhibition at the Grosvenor Museum will run until Sunday, September 15. 

The exhibition expands the scope of the work seen at CASC through the inclusion of a collection of paintings, prints and drawings related to the North Wales landscape and Snowdon selected from the Grosvenor Museum art collection, which Cian has curated alongside photographs he has taken and by recent BA Photography graduates Emma Petruzzelli and Jane Evans.  

International Relations student Ewan Lahey has been working with Daniel to further research the Visitor Books, held in Archives and Special Collections at Bangor University. The project has also facilitated the digitisation of these materials. BA Graphic Design student Eleanor O’Grady, has worked alongside Dr Alan Summers to make a prototype Contemporary Visitor Book experience, which will be featured at the centre of the exhibition. The Contemporary Visitor Book, which is a handmade artist/designed book is a means of also collecting stories, anecdotes and even drawings and poems where visitors to the Grosvenor Museum will be actively encouraged to respond to the 19th century experience and reflect upon and record their experience of the mountain and the North Wales landscape through their visit to the exhibition. This material will also form part of the ongoing research. 

A preview event was opened by Chair of Eryri (Snowdonia) National Park Authority Tim Jones, which looks forward to the team’s collaboration with the Park Authority and investigation of the social and cultural experience of the mountain as it is experienced today at Hafod Eryri and Betws-y-Coed Visitor Centres. 

Daniel said:

“Cian and I would like to thank all the colleagues, graduates and students who have worked with us on this exhibition. It has been a rewarding collaborative experience.”   

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