Starting autumn 2022, the Centre de la photographie Genève offers a new art education service for school audiences aged 8 and over. On the occasion of Lisa Barnard’s exhibition, visits conceived by a facilitator specialising in photography are proposed from 19 September to 6 November 2022. This offer is free of charge for school classes.
This documentary photography exhibition explores the omnipresence of gold in contemporary society, its many uses (from mobile phones to astronauts’ helmets and medical tests), and the environmental and human issues that arise from it. From fair-trade gold mines in Peru to NASA research laboratories, from Chinese computer recycling factories to Californian gold-mining communities, Lisa Barnard traces the multiple paths and uses of gold around the world. She connects seemingly disparate but interconnected stories within our globalised societies: the mythical American gold rush, the brutal world of mining that now extends to extraterrestrial territories, the promise of gold’s physical and chemical characteristics for medicine, the sometimes opaque role of this mineral within the high-tech industry, or the considerable ecological challenges linked to its extraction and treatment of its waste. Through photographs, objects and archival documents, the exhibition makes visible and accessible these multiple issues, their connections, and their impact on our daily lives.  


Themes and disciplines
The tour addresses some of the central issues of the exhibition in an accessible and age-appropriate way. It is based on documentary images made by the artist, as well as objects, such as gold ore from a Peruvian mine or electronic waste from China. Depending on the age of the students, the issues tackled during the visit include:
  • Gold in our daily lives: Where is gold found in our daily lives, what is it used for?
  • Where does gold come from: Where is gold found? How is it extracted from the rock, by whom and by what means? What are the working conditions of the miners? What are the consequences for the environment?
  • Recycling: What happens to the gold once it is used? Can it be recycled, and how?
  • History: What was the gold rush? Are there still gold miners in the United States, and why?
  • Science and technology: What are the current uses of gold in fields as different as finance, jewellery, medicine, and biomedical research? Why is this metal so popular today?
  • Space: Why and how is gold used by NASA, telescopes, and astronauts? Why do we look for gold even on asteroids?
  • Popular culture: What is the link between Pocahontas, Disney, and gold?
  • Fascination: Why are human beings still so fascinated by this shiny metal? What is its symbolic role in society? What are the myths and stories surrounding it
Depending on the age of the pupils, the subjects covered during the visit include:
  • Ecology, environment, pollution, recycling, globalisation
  • Biology, research, medicine, physics
  • Photography, art
  • History

Practical information
  • Venue: Centre de la photographie Genève, 28 rue des Bains, 1205 Geneva
  • Dates: 19 September to 6 November 2022 (exhibition open from 8 September)
  • Hours: Visits with the facilitator by reservation only from Monday to Friday between 9:00 and 18:00 (school groups can be welcomed outside the museum’s opening hours). Tours without a facilitator are also possible. Reservations are necessary outside the museum’s public opening hours (Tuesday to Sunday 11:00 -18:00).
  • Age: all school degrees from 8 years old
  • Duration of the visit: 45 to 60 minutes
  • Languages: French or English
  • Price: free for classes
  • Information and reservation: by email at or by phone at 022 329 28 35
  • Preparatory visit: Admission is free for teachers wishing to prepare a visit with their class. The preparatory visit is possible during the public opening hours of the museum, from Tuesday to Sunday from 11:00 to 18:00

The detailed description of the exhibition and the mediation offer is available (in French) in this PDF.