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Polymorphic Carbon Library
Common Room of the Great North. Opening 2021

The Polymorphic Carbon Library is a place of meeting and exchange, to explore the many ways in which carbon is entangled with our lives, histories, cultures, technologies and futures.

Carbon occurs naturally as coal, diamonds and graphite. Breathing, exhaling carbon dioxide, draws us into shared carbon cycles, while new narratives of carbon emerge through its technological forms of nanotubes, spheres, wafers and weaves of fibres. Historically, carbon has shaped landscapes and people in the UK, and how we continue to negotiate our relationships with carbon will shape the planet into the future.

The Polymorphic Carbon Library is a sculptural installation that opens at the Common Room of the Great North in Newcastle in July 2021. It creates an expansive architecture through carbon that builds intersecting narratives of new carbon technologies, geologies and industrial innovations, alongside carbon activism, consciousness, and conservation. Drawing on the archives of the Common Room, formerly the Mining Institute, investigating regional and national carbon infrastructures, the Polymorphic Carbon Library acts as a hosting assembly for talks, activities, gatherings and practical demonstrations.



The Polymorphic Carbon Library will be installed within the grand Victorian architecture of the Wood Memorial Hall, built as a central space in the headquarters of The North of England Institute of Mining and Mechanical Engineers. Its Library and archives are now the largest publicly accessible collection of mining information in the world.

The building is being restored and reopening as the Common Room of the Great North in 2021.In this context, The Polymorphic Carbon Library will explore new narratives and alternative futures of human interrelations with carbon.