“Men and Women of Mining” : An Itinerant Exhibition Celebrating the History of European Mining Communities

The itinerant photographic exhibition “Men and Women of Mining,” organized by the partners of the European Mining Routes of Santa Barbara Federation, is a tribute to the lives of the men, women, and children who worked in the mines. This project, a result of international collaboration, gathers and presents images that tell the harsh reality and daily lives of miners, highlighting their crucial contribution to the development of European mining communities.

A Work of International Cooperation

The project was realised in cooperation between partners, each of whom selected the photographs that best represented the experiences of life in the mines in their respective countries. From the numerous images submitted, three photographs were chosen by each partner, creating a different but unified historical narrative. These photographs not only document the working conditions, but also shed light on the personal stories of those who lived through that era.  

A Bridge Between Nations: Shared Cultural Identity

One of the most fascinating aspects of the exhibition is the revelation of a shared cultural identity among the participating nations. Despite their different geographical origins, the selected photographs highlight universal themes of resilience, community, and survival. These historical snapshots show how the experiences of miners, regardless of their origin, are part of a shared heritage that has helped shape European cultural identity.

The Journey of the Exhibition

The exhibition had its debut in Banska Bystrica, Slovakia, during the “Mining Treasures of Central Slovakia” conference on April 25th. From there, it began its journey through the countries along the Barborska Cesta (Barbara’s Route), continuing to the Idrija Mercury Heritage Management Centre in Slovenia, where it will remain until August. Subsequently, the exhibition will move to Spain, hosted by the partners in the Comarca Andorra Sierra de Arcos, and will then continue its journey through the other partner countries.

The exhibition ‘Men and Women of Mining’ offers a unique opportunity to reflect on the common roots that bind the various European mining communities. Through these powerful images, visitors can pay tribute to those who worked underground and acknowledge their contribution to building the modern world.

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