Senior Lecturer in BA Drawing and BA Fine Art. 1st Year BA Drawing Module and Year Lead

David is an artist-researcher and a craftsperson with a specialism in Cornish granite. He has been a practicing artist and stone sculptor since 1993, and for many years worked extensively in the public sphere, initiating a number of artist-led and socially engaged projects across the UK. 

He is currently working on a large granite memorial commission for the Solomon Browne/ Union Star disaster. He recently completed a LEACH 100 commission exhibited at the British Ceramics Biennale (2021) and Leach Pottery (2021). David has been awarded numerous grants, fellowships, residencies and research posts for a wide range of projects throughout his career.

In 2005 David moved to Cornwall and began working with Trenoweth Granite Quarry, leading him to start a PhD in Cultural Geography titled ‘The Quarry as Sculpture: The Place of Making’ (2015). David’s research attended to the deep relations that grow over time between place, making, people and material. His PhD research has led to a series of explorations around the creative, socio-economic and cultural impacts of Cornwall’s granite districts, including AHRC funded post-doctoral work with the National Trust (2016), the ‘Tracing Granite’ Groundwork commission (2017) and South West Creative Technology Network Fellowship (Immersion Fellow 2018/19).

External Links

Dr David Paton headshot

Contact details

Telephone 01326 213841



Year Qualification Awarding body
2022 PGCHE Falmouth University
2019 First Aid Certification
2015 PhD: The Quarry as Sculpture: The Place of Making, Dept of Geography University of Exeter
2007 MA Contemporary Visual Art - Distinction University College Falmouth
1992 BA Fine Art/ Sculpture - First Class University of Sunderland

Research Interests

Research interests and expertise

Radical Acts of Carving

Radical Acts of Carving is positioned as an acknowledgement of the ways in which working stone has a unique place in the evolution of human society and culture. The aim of this research is to identify the ways in which acts of working stone have given rise to radical repositionings in our sense of place and community. Where, as archaeologists O’Connor and Cooney highlight, our deep-time co-narrative with stone objects -- as vessels of a collective geologic memory -- ‘are not only actively harnessed in these encounters but are also the very stuff from which social relations are derived, perceived and thought through’ (2009: xxii). 

O’Connor, B. and Cooney, G. (2009). Introduction: Materialitas and the significance of stone. in Eds. O’Connor, B. Cooney, G and Chapman, J. Materialitas : Working Stone, Carving Identity. Oxford ;: Oxbow Books.


Research Objectives:

The three strands of the research are:

1.    Radical Acts of Carving in Trenoweth Quarry – a practice based multi-disciplinary and pedagogical research project. Here a reimagining of a Cornish narrative will be investigated, and worked towards a live event and the carving of a large frieze on the quarry face at Trenoweth.
2.    Communities of Radical Carving – ethnographic/ auto-ethnographic research conducted within communities of stone workers around the world, where the objective is to construct a hybridized taxonomy of social and geological stone working practices that have radical socio-political, cultural and economic resonance. 
3.    Historical Acts of Radical Carving – an overview of ways in which stone-working has been enrolled in socio-political, cultural and economic change.


Research Methodologies:

Radical Acts of Carving will draw on practices of carving, sculpture, industrial crafts, expanded drawing, music, folk-art, performance, anthropology, archaeology and geography, and operate within the framework of practice-based and practice-led research methods. Radical Acts of Carving will also attend to Research Informed Teaching, and aims to include a range of undergraduate and post-graduate engagement.


Published work: 

Paton D A, 2020, Place-crafting at the edge of everywhere, in eds. Edensor, T et al, The Routledge book of Place, Routledge, London, UK.

Paton D A, 2015, Stitch-Split: the breath of the geologic, Architecture and Culture, 3(3): 267-270.

Paton D A and Desilvey C, 2014, Growing granite: the recombinant geologies of sludge in Hallam E and Ingold T, Making and growing: anthropological studies of organisms and artefacts, Ashgate, London, UK.

Paton D A, 2013, The quarry as sculpture: the place of making, Environment and Planning A 45(5): 1070 – 1086.

Ansell J M and Paton D A, 2009, TEND, RANE & Festerman Press.


Conferences, fellowships, presentations and research projects: 

2018/ 19 - South West Creative Technology Network (SWCTN): Immersion Fellow

2018 - Repair Acts - research participant/ conference presentations.

2017/18 - Tracing Granite - 5 day field-trip for Groundwork/ FEAST.

2016 - The Psychic Life of Granite - Seminar, Uni of Exeter (CEAH), National Trust & AHRC, Godolphin House, Cornwall.

2016 - Cornwall Workshop - Kestle Barton, Cornwall – presentation and participant.

2016 - Rock/ Body - Participant in AHRC research network, Uni of Exeter.

2016 - RGS/IBG Session organiser (with Dr Rose Ferraby) - Cultural Geologies: Working with stone in the geological turn. Social and Cultural Geography Research Group.

2016 - AHRC Cultural Engagement Fellow - National Trust/ University of Exeter collaborative research project. ‘Creative interpretation of granite building conservation and restoration methods at Godolphin House, Cornwall’.

2015 - RGS/IBG, Attentive Geographies, Performance-paper and film showing.

2015 - Cornwall Workshop, Kestle Barton, Cornwall – presentation and participant.

2015 - Visuality, Materiality and Mining – invited speaker, University of Brighton.

2014 - Industries of Architecture – presentation of film and paper. Architectural Humanities 
Research Association, Newcastle University.

2014 - Cornubian Arts and Science Trust, Helston, Cornwall – presentation of research.

2014 - Cornwall Workshop – presentation/ participant. Kestle Barton, Cornwall.

2014 - TATE Seminar – (21 June), Materials, Movements, Encounters: Modernist art networks 
and St Ives – live film intervention and field trip presentation.

2013 - TATE Research – Developmental Seminar, (20-21 May), Barbara Hepworth Studios and 
Sculpture Garden, St Ives – seminar participant and presentation on stone working.

2011 - Small is Beautiful – Invited speaker, University of Exeter.

2012 - Tilted Matter – performance-lecture/ film projections, Trenoweth Quarry, Cornwall.

2012/2013 - CAZ/ Rock Jam – seminars, conference papers and projects delivered as part of 
Falmouth University/ CAZ (Cornwall Autonomous Zone) landscape research program.

2010 - RGS/IBG, What are Surfaces? - film presentation and paper. 

2010 - Experimenting with Geography – week-long funded research seminar held at Edinburgh 
University, led by Michael Gallagher, Hayden Lorimer and Eric Laurier.

Selected Commissions, Grants and Residencies: 

2022 - Solomon Browne/ Union Star Memorial - Granite Sculpture

2020-2021 - Leach 100: Mythical Taxonomies - commissioned artist.

2020 - SWCTN Lessons from Now Commission

2017/18 - La Vallée des Saints - St Piran. Public granite carving, UK & France.

2018 - Cultivator - grant for granite masonry training equipment.
2017 - Vibrant Lives - National Trust audio-visual interpretation, Godolphin House.

2008 – Arbor, private sculpture commissions for Trewidden House, Penzance, Cornwall.

2007/8 – TEND, artist-led ACE funded residency at Trewidden Garden, Cornwall.

2008 – Part of our daily lives, Sculpture Commission for St Austell Clay Trails.
2007 TEND - A year long artist-led and ACE funded residency at Trewidden Garden, Newlyn.

2006 – Provisional Newlyn, Newlyn Art Gallery, Penzance.

2005/6 – R&D for Penzance redevelopment programme.

2005 – ROOMERS Lead Artist, – ACE & Regional Development funding, Sunderland. 2002 – 2005 – West Park residency, parkland regeneration scheme, Darlington.

2002-2005 - WEST PARK, three year arts project

1997 - 2000 - Herrington Sculpture Residency, Sunderland Council

1993-2020 – Private commissions and memorials.


Selected Exhibitions: 

2018 - Form and Formality, Breeze Art and Makers Fair - group show, Trereife House, Cornwall

2017 - The Psychic Life of Granite - sculptures at Ellspeth Bray Gallery, Sussex.

2016 - Rock/ Body Streatham Campus, U of E - performance and film showing.

2016 - Godolphin House - AHRC research outputs.

2015 - Reverse!Pugin curated by Sean Lynch, Lismore Castle Arts.

2013 - Transition 10, Land Matters, Newlyn Art Gallery.

2005 - ROOMERS, Group Show. Sunderland.

2004 - It’s About Time - Solo Show, Northern Gallery for Contemporary Art

Research Outputs

Publications and research outputs

  • Paton, David

    (2020), Place-crafting at the edge of everywhere, In: The Routledge Handbook of Place, Routledge, United Kingdom, ISBN: 9781138320499, Item availability may be restricted.
  • Paton, David and DeSilvey, Caitlin

    (2014), Growing Granite: The Recombinant Geologies of Sludge, In: Making and Growing: Anthropological Studies of Organims and Artefacts, Taylor & Francis, Farnham, pp. 221-237, ISBN: 140943642X
  • Lees, Jonty and Pool School Gallery CIC

    (2019), Pool School Gallery CIC Contemporary Artist Programme 2019/2020, In: Pool School Gallery CIC Contemporary Artist Programme 2019/2020, 31 0ctober 2019, Pool School Gallery, Item availability may be restricted.
  • Paton, David

    (2016), Stitch-Split: The Breath of the Geologic, In: Architecture and Culture, Taylor and Francis, London, 3 (3), pp. 267-270, ISSN: 2050-7828, Item availability may be restricted.

Externally funded research grants information

Collaborators Currency Funder HESA Category Project title Value Year ending Year starting

National Trust Godolphin House

AHRC Cultural Engagement Fellow 2016

South West Creative Technology

South West Creative Technology South West Creative Technology Immersion Fellow 2018