Cornwall and Isles of Scilly Local Enterprise Partnership and Cornwall Council submission to:

Reimagining where we live: Cultural placemaking and the levelling up agenda




‘By 2030, pride in place, such as people’s satisfaction with their town centre and engagement in local culture and community, will have risen in every area of the UK, with the gap between the top performing and other areas closing.[1]


Cornwall Council in collaboration with the Cornwall and Isles of Scilly Local Enterprise Partnership (CIoS LEP), are submitting evidence to this enquiry in order to share our experience in delivering regeneration in our local communities where culture and creative industries have been a critical driver and change maker. Through our close working relationships with the culture, heritage and creative sectors, we have collated input from a range of organisations and businesses including: Screen Cornwall; intoBodmin; Falmouth University (linking education to social/cultural improvements); Truro’s Cultural Compact; FEAST; Carn to Cove; CIoS LEP Creative Industries Taskforce; plus colleagues in Cornwall Council involved in delivering on Town Deals, Cornwall’s Town Vitality Fund, Cornish Language, People and Prosperity, and Redruth Highstreet Heritage Action Zone. This process has been coordinated by Cornwall Council’s Culture and Creative Economy Team.


Cornwall and Isles of Scilly (CIoS) is a place with huge ambition. Through our Creative Manifesto we have stated that we are the UK’s leading rural creative economy which acknowledges our ongoing strong commitment to culture and regeneration[2]. We have a strong track record of investing with partners in cultural regeneration projects which increases quality and accessibility to cultural assets, whilst making social and economic impacts for the surrounding communities. Good examples of this being Kresen Kernow – a Home for Cornwall’s Archives, developed on an old brewery site in Redruth and [3] Tate St Ives which underwent two phases of development in the old gasworks site facing the Atlantic Ocean. The £21m Kresen Kernow project, funded by Cornwall Council and the National Heritage Lottery Fund, has created a new home for Cornwall’s archives, safeguarded a historic building at the heart of the Cornish Mining World Heritage Site and has acted as a catalyst for heritage-led regeneration.  It unlocked three hectares of derelict land for development and has created the momentum for lasting change in the town. It attracted over 10,000 visitors in its first six months of opening and since the projects inception has led to a number of other capital regeneration projects for the town including £1.68m from the Historic England Highstreet Heritage Action Zone fund. Tate St Ives welcomes a quarter of a million visitors each year – over three times the number for which it was originally designed – who bring £11 million annually to the local economy.  Following its redevelopment in 2017 the reopened gallery attracted 11,000 visitors in its first weekend and was awarded the Museum of the Year. Falmouth University is also key to the development of Cornwall’s creative economy, having a history of 120 years educating the next generation of creative practitioners with now nearly 7,000 students studying creative and cultural subjects, and a presence in Cornwall which extends across Falmouth, Penryn and Truro.


That being said Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly is one of the areas in the UK most in need of levelling-up. At 72.2 %[4] of the UK average, our productivity lags behind the rest of the UK, as do wages and levels of economic investment. We have the lowest levels of productivity among all 38 LEP areas in England. GVA per hour worked is £23.8 compared with £33.7 for the UK. GVA per head is £17,344 with average annual growth of 0.9%, lower than the regional (£23,138) and national (£27,095) figures. Inequality is widening and 33.8% of employees are earning below the real living wage compared to the 22.8% UK average. 6.4% of those are employed in arts and entertainment. Cornwall is ranked 83rd out of 317 local authority areas for deprivation (1 being the worst) and 17 of our neighbourhoods are in the top 10% most deprived in the country.


Therefore, we feel investment in people and skills, places and communities,  businesses and productivity should be the focus of the UK government when supporting areas to level up. It is important that the government sets out a strong UK regional development policy that reflects local need and the right local delivery and commissioning model, with the aim of levelling-up all areas of the UK economy. Part of this programme should entail a fully funded UK SPF that leaves no area worse off than the current EU programmes.


In CIoS our culture, heritage and creative sectors have a track record of being a key driver of the emerging Missions of the levelling up agenda. As a rural region, we are made up of a dispersed network of creative hubs, micro-businesses, cultural organisations and freelancers. The recently published The Role of the Creative Hubs in Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly co-commissioned by Cornwall Council and Falmouth University provides a useful summary of the current position and the opportunities.


Our recent Creative Census Survey reflects our rural make-up with the majority of respondents (62.4%) being sole proprietors/freelancers, followed by Not for Profit (14.9%) and private companies (13.5%). This highlights the need and opportunity that a suitable levelling up deal would bring to CoIS. With the right devolved investment and delivery mechanism, this creative ecology would be mobilised to make positive economic and social impact - through our way of working of collaborative leadership and co-creative approach and the geographical spread of the cultural, heritage and creative organisations who are positioned in the heart of our communities. As a leading creative rural region CIOS are perfectly placed to tackle key Levelling Up Missions of pay, employment and opportunity; research and development; high quality skills training; wellbeing and pride in place. Having a creative focus to its only University is important in providing higher education opportunities, through widening access and participation programmes, to those who might not normally access higher education.





Executive Summary

How can culture reanimate our public spaces and shopping streets?

Here we consider the opportunity to expand the night-time economy in our towns and how this might need to alter in response to the pandemic. Through a set of case studies we look at the many ways of growing a cultural offer. We examine how there must be a free cultural offer, alongside a ticketed one, in order to level up. We consider what capacity needs to be in place to activate and sustain cultural activity in our towns and look at the benefits of having creative industries clusters in towns.

In Summary




How can creatives contribute to local decision-making and planning of place?

We consider a range of structures that have been used and how these could be further developed. We look at how to balance between bottom-up models that are genuinely responsive to community need with leadership and accountability. We note that strategic and funding programmes must be given sufficient time to properly develop, allowing them to undertake meaningful dialogue in order to really achieve results.

In Summary




How can the Government support places without established artistic infrastructure to take full advantage of the opportunities that the levelling up agenda provides?

Cornwall has dispersed and hyperlocal models of activity that are of particular relevance to this issue. We also look at strategic initiatives that can provide a counterpoint to NPO provision and imagine how NPOs and the nationals could be encouraged to work in those places lacking infrastructure. The role of town councils has expanded in this space and we ask what could be done to support them in having a better understanding of the valuing and impact of embedding cultural offer in their communities. We also consider how training and skills development can contribute to this aspect of levelling up.

In Summary




How might changes to the UK’s broadcasting landscape affect investment in cultural production outside the capital, and what could the consequences be for artists and communities?

We have made significant progress in this area since Screen Cornwall was established in 2019.  Here we put forward a set of ideas that could improve routes into the industry and commissioning for rural areas. We have already made a set of clear asks around broadcast provision for Kernewek, the Cornish language which are reiterated here. We also consider how a more nuanced and diverse view of Cornwall could be presented if commissioning was less focused on our visitor offer.

In Summary




How should Government build on existing schemes, such as the UK City of Culture, to level up funding for arts and culture?

In our response we look at how funding programmes can exclude rural areas.  We ask for the development of guidelines and outputs that do not automatically disadvantage us as a rural area and a new set of indicators of success. We consider the benefits of ‘runners up’ awards and question how funding could be better spread across the country, including via philanthropic routes.

In Summary










Detailed Responses

How can culture reanimate our public spaces and shopping streets?


There are many ways in which culture can be successfully used to reanimate public spaces and high streets, and we would like to begin our response to the Inquiry by reflecting on our learning from recent years and highlighting some exemplar projects undertaken in Cornwall.


The benefits of cultural programmes that drive footfall into towns and their associated benefits to retail, are becoming widely understood. However, the importance of culture as a driver of the night-time economy can sometimes be overlooked.  Investment streams that focus on the cultural programming offer should be considered. This could reanimate public spaces and community buildings that are underutilised.  This would reflect the change to audience needs and locations due to the shift to working from home. Particularly in a rural region like CIoS , if fewer commutes are being made to larger towns, which tend to have more cultural infrastructure, an improvement to the offer in smaller towns / villages needs to be made. This would have a beneficial effect to local hospitality businesses. The night-time economies in many Cornish towns, particularly those that are not tourist destinations, are quite limited and may only serve limited sectors of the local population; those who can afford a restaurant meal or those who’d enjoy a noisy pub perhaps.


An improved cultural offer can both support and diversify existing night-time offers.  For example, intoBodmin have not only developed cultural and community resources that provide a valuable and welcoming presence during the day, but they are also providing a consistent weekend evening programming offer. Funding support provided by ACE is allowing them to operate a ‘pay what you can’ ticketing model.  This is a highly useful model for the levelling up agenda and begins to address socio-economic barriers to engaging with culture. IntoBodmin also on occasion programme events at other venues in the town in this way audiences come to feel comfortable and familiar with a range of spaces around the town; this sense of engagement can create pride in place and community cohesion.  Other towns in Cornwall operate in a similar way, with one anchor organisation occasionally programming other spaces in their locality


We believe that funding programmes should be adjusted to better support this model. It is well suited to places that do not have established cultural infrastructure, it makes good use of existing resources in terms of community spaces and offers opportunities to attract new audiences.  Capacity is key here: funding schemes that support programming are needed and, crucially, staffing to undertake this work. Schemes where resources are shared across small groups of towns perhaps should be considered, however a detailed understanding of place is required so this model should not be too centralised. Local music venues play a role here and this could perhaps be expanded and better supported.  In Cornwall this sector is not perhaps as well networked into strategic opportunities as other sectors are; there is an opportunity here that might benefit from targeted initiatives.


Case study: The wAVE (Augmented and Virtual Experiences) Project has been developed by Cornwall Museums Partnership alongside Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly Local Enterprise Partnership and Falmouth University. It aims to use Cornwall’s distinctive heritage to support digital innovation and economic diversification in five coastal communities by maximising Cornwall’s digital infrastructure, skills, and heritage for the benefit of the local economy. Funded by the Government’s Coastal Communities Fund, the project will use cutting edge technology to create new and innovative visitor experiences in five local museums: Telegraph Museum Porthcurno; Castle Heritage Centre, Bude; St Agnes Museum; Isles of Scilly Museum and the Old Guildhall Museum & Gaol, Looe. The county’s distinct history coupled with its growing immersive-tech sector has created a unique opportunity to position Cornwall at the forefront of the transformative potential of such technology. exploring new, future-focussed digital technologies that can Using future-focused digital technology such as virtual reality headsets and computer-generated imagery, the wAVE project aims to transform the way in which people interact with and experience museums and heritage spaces and bring history alive for younger audiences. At St Agnes Museum visitors can participate in a virtual reality experience to see how the harbour once looked at a bustling centre of the mining industry. The harbour, complete with people and arriving ships, has been thoroughly researched and re-created to look as it would have in 1900.


In addition to the immersive experiences, wAVE has also provided training on this technology and its applications to encourage creative thinking around how it can be used in the heritage sector. St Agnes Museum serves as a great example of how the wAVE project has already had an impact on the participating museums, as well as how it can lead to long-term development beyond the initial launch of the five immersive technology experiences. The wAVE project ultimately aims to use the immersive experiences it has developed to benefit the museums and local economy. First, by offering a better potential for year-round tourism and second, by targeting younger millennial and generation Z tourists in England and abroad. Finally, all the immersive experiences have been developed based on the coastal communities in which they are based. This encourages users to treat the experiences as a part of exploring and enjoying the local area, thus benefitting all tourism-based businesses in the area.


Case study: Kerdroya is a Cornish Landscape Labyrinth that celebrates 60 years of Cornwall’s Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB) - designated exceptional landscapes whose distinctive character and natural beauty are precious enough to be safeguarded in the national interest. The labyrinth has been constructed from 12 different hedge designs to mark each of Cornwall’s 12 protected landscapes. The project has been funded by Cornwall Council, Cornwall AONB, the National Lottery Heritage Fund, FEAST, Cornwall Heritage Trust and Arts Council England. Falmouth University has collaborated with Golden Tree Productions, the team behind Kerdroya, to create a digital platform that enhances the cultural experience of Kerdroya. Through an augmented virtual experience, the aim is to encourage visitors, particularly younger audiences, to looks more intently at the landscape, learn more about their local environment and connect with their surroundings in new ways. Kerdroya is also offers an extensive training programme that is fully integrated into the project.


Case study: Launchpad+ is the Falmouth University innovation centre that will be at the heart of the Pydar Street development in Truro. It will become a hub for the creative industries, building high-value, high-growth businesses which create jobs and benefit other local businesses, whilst ensuring top talent stays in Cornwall. Falmouth University’s substantial expertise and assets in screen, immersive technologies, games, entrepreneurship and regeneration will be leveraged to enable creative entrepreneurs to design and grow successful creative ventures based on innovative technologies. Education, research, innovation, entertainment, incubation and acceleration will be brought together into a 'porous' environment where disciplines, practices and technologies will coexist and converge. The design and culture of Launchpad+ will be based on open access and open innovation, enabling the people who work and study there - as well as the public - to engage uniquely in the creative innovation and development process. It will celebrate and encourage new thinking, imagination and resourcefulness, new solutions to complex problems, and build new ways for people to interact, engage and connect. Launchpad+ will become a fully functioning innovation hub which provides a true learning experience, seamlessly integrated with a variety of high growth sectors, and attracting serious money and investment. It will be a place where different sectors and technology converge; where there are no boundaries between living, learning, playing and working; where emergent new business models are given life; and where the future of Cornwall’s creative economy is born.


Case study: The Ordinalia was a multi-stranded project centred around the Out of the Ordinary exhibition of the loaned medieval Ordinalia manuscripts at Kresen Kernow.  The Ordinalia is one of Cornwall’s cultural treasures, written in the Cornish language, Kernewek. Alongside the Kresen Kernow exhibition and events programme a major production of the Ordinalia plays was commissioned by Cornwall Council from St Just and District Trust (SJDT) with an additional complementary programme of activity, primarily for young people, coordinated by the Hall for Cornwall (HfC). This attracted visitors to both Kresen Kernow in Redruth and to St Just, which is a small town near Land’s End. In total 1250 people visited the Out of the Ordinary exhibition and 1129 people participated in 41 Out of the Ordinary events run by Kresen Kernow. The audience at St Just was 5,875 across 24 performances, with 236 volunteers contributing towards the SJDT productions.  359 young people took part in the HfC activities, in addition a new artists production provided 25 paid opportunities, 25 performances with a further 3,500 audience.  All the project partners kept in regular contact and worked in a spirit of cooperation for mutual benefit. The project demonstrated how effectively work can be multi-layered across several locations attracting audiences with diverse interests and a wide range of participants from choir members to academics to school pupils. It brought career boosting opportunities, increased wellbeing and community cohesion and raised interest in the Cornish language.


Case Study:  The Lafrowda Festival based in St Just is funded entirely through local activities and runs a two-week cultural programme of making activities/workshops for residents prior to the festival weekend. A Film Club, Memory Café and numerous small community based/run cultural events take place throughout the year involving all ages from pre-school to the elderly and disabled participants. Open mic nights and music nights are held at the Star and Commercial Inns featuring groups such as the Cape Singers. The strength of the community in St Just was evident in the lockdowns with ever street having a designated person to look after all the residents in that street – The Daisy Chain - was featured in the Guardian.


Case study intoBodmin: intoBodmin was built initially on a formula:  CULTURE = COMMUNITY = PRIDE = GROWTH.  The following principles set out how this formula show intoBodmin’s commitment and confidence that our activity will benefit Bodmin.


  1. Culture means creating activity where people can engage with others.  Activity that is about participating in projects, creating art, watching performance, playing together, learning from each other. intoBodmin will strive to create inclusive opportunities for people to do this on a regular basis.
  2. Through this programme of activity intoBodmin will facilitate and support the communities that emerge. From craft groups, to theatre companies, community support groups and associations, intoBodmin will provide resources to help these communities thrive.
  3. In supporting and encouraging increased cultural, community and civic participation, the communities growing in Bodmin will add to a sense of pride and ownership of the town.
  4. This pride will lead to growth of confidence in the self and in others. We will see social and wellbeing growth as people find more meaning and purpose in their daily lives. This personal confidence can lead to more people looking for work and training, which will lead to greater demand of the workforce and subsequently the creation of new jobs through business expansion, new business start-ups and businesses locating to the town, leading to greater economic growth.


Case study: Wholly funded by the European Regional Development Fund’s Welcome Back Fund, the programme will celebrate the unique selling points and cultural heritage of those towns taking part: Bodmin, Camelford, Hayle, Helston, Launceston, Liskeard, Mevagissey, Newquay, St Austell and Wadebridge. Designed in partnership with participating towns with residents’ interests top of mind, the cultural programme will also give a wide range of local up-and-coming artists the opportunity to perform regularly and gain public recognition. The diverse timetable of events being planned will include new arts, cultural, creative and free moving collaborative experiences such as music, dance, temporary art installations, audio-visual experiences and town trails. Following an open tender process, Truro-based Hall for Cornwall has been commissioned to manage, coordinate and deliver the £175,000 programme in the 10 towns across Cornwall.


Case Study: Truro Cultural Compact: Tyller a Nerth (ACE initiative) The Compact is a partnership that brings together cultural organisations with a range of other sectors and community representatives, it is supported by a part-time Compact Coordinator.  It’s two strategic boards are supported by a number of specialist steering groups. The Compact firmly believes in the role of culture to reanimate spaces as we have seen in the pilot projects from 2020-21 and the partnership projects of 2021-22.  Examples that have had an impact on animating public spaces can be large or small but when most effective they:

a) take the community with them

b) are designed with need in mind or co created 

c) stretch the ambitions with quality, collaboration and imagination

d) encourage cultural venues to reconnect with the programming of public spaces.

e) consider footfall and economic benefits to businesses.

New groups and connections have been established to provide a more cohesive events programme across the city and to connect more effectively with the community as a whole. Black Voices Cornwall piloted A Celebration of Culture in August ’21.  Events attracting a younger demographic has also been prioritised. Truro has gaps in its provision in smaller-scale community-based cultural projects which need more nurturing.


The Compact has led on the development of a Cultural Strategy for Truro. Its vision statement is “By 2030, Truro will be a City of heritage, innovation, creativity, and wellbeing. Through creativity and collaboration, the people and places will be a thriving ‘place of energy”. The accompanying 10-year delivery plan  focusses on prioritising participatory activity in cultural programming, alongside increasing talent pipelines and offering commissions to new creatives.  Proposals for continuing and strengthening the work of the Compact in 2022-23 onwards are currently being explored. The Compact believes that a paid role to support and coordinate this work is essential, as there is no spare capacity in other organisations and structures to take on this work, and a range of delivery mechanisms are being explored.


Creative interventions can improve the physical environment of our towns and villages, making spaces more welcoming and increasing civic pride, which in turn could lesson antisocial behaviours. There could be opportunities to do this in an effective low-cost way with a quick turn-around. Partnerships between artists and the voluntary sector could be explored.  As an example, Liskeard in Bloom repainted a disused former ATS garage building which is due for demolition as part of the significant Liskeard Cattle Market redevelopment and put planters outside as a meanwhile solution to an eyesore. Permanent solutions to empty buildings and run-down spaces can take a long-time to fix. Creative solutions can improve the environment, and sometimes attract footfall in their own right, with a quick turn-around.  Street art and mural festivals could also be routes to achieving this – particularly if they involve young people in their creation, who then feel a sense of ownership and protection over the artworks. Layering up activity such as farmer’s markets where local choirs perform does not necessarily have cost implications, as amateur groups are often seeking out opportunities to perform. Again, this requires some coordination and is a role that could be expanded and animated by a local programmer.


Building on the success of Krowji, Cornwall’s largest creative industries hub, Cornwall Council is currently leading on two projects to purpose build two creative industries workspace hubs.  One is in a former Cattle Market, in Liskeard and the other in the centre of Penzance; in total they will provide 47 studio spaces over 2,900m².  As well as bringing economic activity of their own, by attracting a workforce into town centres there will be knock-on benefits to local businesses from this additional footfall. These creative communities are likely to contribute to and augment existing cultural activity in these locations. Add examples of repurposing buildings / derelict sites. We are currently exploring a potential partnership with Hypha Studios bringing their expertise to facilitate the creative meanwhile use of empty shops and units. Investment into these approaches would result in positive outcomes for all involved: the landlords, the temporary users and the local community. Former libraries (which have relocated, not closed) in both Redruth and Bodmin are also examples where buildings and spaces are being repurposed into creative hubs that will continue to serve their local communities.


Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly have been one of the areas of the UK hardest-hit by the economic impact of the pandemic. Take up rates on the various Government support schemes have been amongst the highest of any area in the UK.[5]  We must recognise and respect that members of the community that are choosing whether to ‘heat or eat’ simply don’t have a budget for engaging with cultural activity as paying consumers and this issue must be carefully considered.  Activity such as community festivals can provide this access in an egalitarian way and without the disempowerment of not being able to pay for activities.  Cultural provision for those experiencing economic hardship must be supported through long term investment from central government, local government, national organisations such as ACE of NLHF or through shorter term project funding. Free to access activities such as libraries and free of charge museums and galleries have an important role to play here, as do activities such as the Redruth Sound Walk (see case studies). Schemes that distribute tickets and art supplies via foodbanks have also been explored.  It is not just the cost of the ticket that is the issue, travel costs and buying food or drink whilst out can also be prohibitive. Led by Carefree Cornwall and Cornwall Museums Partnership a Culture Card programme gives free access to cultural places to young people who are care experienced. Sensitively targeted campaigns such as this could directly address the levelling up agenda.


The LUWP states: ‘By 2030, the number of primary school children achieving the expected standard in reading, writing and maths will have significantly increased. In England, this will mean 90% of children will achieve the expected standard, and the percentage of children meeting the expected standard in the worst performing areas will have increased by over a third.’  Published in April 2020 the Evidence Summary for Policy on the Role of the Arts in Improving Health and Wellbeing[6] evidenced strong links between speech and language development, increased wellbeing, and social development in children who engaged with arts, music and reading.  This points to a further need for a dispersed model where children and their families can easily access such activities as part of their weekly routines.


‘Culture is fundamental to facilitating human connection. Our city policymakers and cultural professionals have always known this, but lockdowns and restrictions have made the reality all the more prominent in the popular consciousness. It is possible that governments which overlook culture in their rush to restore economic stability are only likely to create more problems for public health down the line. Long-term planning and thinking must focus on the role that culture can play in overcoming the threats of isolation, depression, and anxiety.’[7]


Case study: Redruth Sound Walk Annamaria Murphy, Sue Hill and Ciaran Clarke created ‘Stret an Levow’ (Street of Voices). An immersive, self-guided, audio walk around the town (of Redruth) exploring layers of time to unlock the fascinating strata of sound, voice and story within the high street. The artists collected stories from local people in a series of conversations and drop-in sessions, then animated them with a soundscape. The walk is free to download and can be accessed by scanning a QR code whilst in the town and following the suggested route, or on a computer or tablet and listened to remotely. The Redruth Sound Walk was one of six commissioned nationally by Historic England. For the whole project, 200 local people were approached, advised and interviewed. Audience: as of 12 October 2021 a total of 2800 have listened to one of the sound walks. 95% of audiences surveyed rated the quality of the experience as good or very good. Audience comments included: “Lovely. Immersive experience” “Very informative and brought the area to life.” “It gave me a new way of looking at the high street.”


Case study: Virtual Ghost x Newlyn (Carn to Cove) A digital dance project which partnered artists with rural touring schemes to present work that used innovative ways of connecting with audiences in the digital space and enabled us to reach out to potentially very new audiences. Using virtual projection mapping, we used Kesha Raithatha’s dance movements to animate buildings in Newlyn. The project brought buildings to life, it gave a playfulness to buildings that people probably don't even notice, strengthening their connection to their community context and communicating a message clearly. The films were shared with a virtual audience both remotely and together in a live zoom sharing. Time was very limited to create the pieces, and the delivery partnership was new and unknown but the films themselves are a great testament to commitment in finding new ways to work together and provide not only a physical legacy of the work, but of a new model of working. This project also took place at other UK locations.


Case study: Tresorys Kernow (Cornwall Museums Partnership and Creative Kernow (FEAST) is a pilot project to breathe new life into towns and villages, with culture and heritage bringing some joy in the context of Covid recovery and climate adaptation. It is supported by the Community Renewal Fund. FEAST’s contribution is to engage with communities to set the parameters for what is needed at a grass roots level. While activities will be commissioned by FEAST, the communities we work with will set the criteria, help make the call and sit on the decision-making panel. The entire process, all of it from start to finish, is working with grass roots organisations who really know the issues and really feel they have solutions overlooked by a more autocratic approach.


Case study: EXPERIENCE Penzance and Marazion is piloting a sustainable tourism model that uses the cultural and environmental assets of the region to drive visitors to explore the area out-of-season. With an emphasis on attracting the right visitor at the right time, it targets audiences interested in experiences, and seeks to break the cycle of seasonal tourism. It harnesses the region’s rich culture to create exciting itineraries, encouraging visitors to experience the many layers of Penzance and Marazion’s heritage and landscape. Attracting visitors in winter and autumn is key to developing a year-round visitor economy which relieves some of the pressures of seasonal tourism and creates long-term jobs.  Culture is at the heart of the project; alongside major investment into sustainable transport infrastructure (Mounts Bay coastal path), a newly commissioned artwork, Gwelen by artist Emma Smith, is bringing long term cultural legacy to the project. Made in collaboration with 600 people from the area, it has been conceived with a strong engagement plan with schools, community groups and local residents. The project is funded by the European Regional Development Fund (69%) and Cornwall Council (31%). It is part of Interreg, a EU cross-channel partnership with partner organisations in France and the UK.


Case study: Kowethas an Yeth Kernewek (the Cornish Language Fellowship) is looking to take one permanent shop and some pop-up shops to run Cornish language activities, with classes, conversation groups, activities for young children and activities using the language.  The Kowethas is a charitable voluntary organisation and aims to work in partnership with local town projects to make the language more accessible.  With limited resources, the Kowethas has struggled to find premises but there are new opportunities with the Redruth Heritage Action Zone and Tresorys Kernow.  The community group and other partners can use the Cornish language to bring a different set of activities to the high street, and at the same time, a more visible presence in town centres will introduce new people to the Cornish language who themselves can create new opportunities for using the language.  The voluntary sector finds it difficult to secure town centre premises, but the groups have a long term, stable presence, can be a catalyst for community networking and in this way can find that they have more to offer in terms of services than they realise.


Case study: town-based festivals: Redruth has for many years had four key festivals: St Piran’s Day in March, Murdoch Day in June, the International Mining & Pasty Festival in September and the Christmas Lights and festivities starting in November.  Each of these festivals has its own character and bring footfall into the town centre, and we are hopeful to resume these festivals this year, building towards St Piran’s Day with a two-week programme of events leading up to the day, benefitting also from school half term. Festivals play a huge role in Cornwall; outdoor celebrations are very much part of our cultural identity. Many other towns in Cornwall have a similar festival offer to Redruth’s, they include regatta days, food festivals, winter festivals and feast days and range from larger events such as Golowan in Penzance to very local, such as Lafrowda.  FEAST coordinates a Festivals Network which shares knowledge, promotion and mutual support.  Many of these events are much cherished by local contributors and audiences who associate them with a strong sense of their town or villages particular identity.


In Summary





How can creatives contribute to local decision-making and planning of place?

The importance of having strong, inclusive and democratic stakeholder groups, which include creative and cultural representation, has been highlighted by a number of our partners and colleagues. Critical to success is having a specific role with the capacity to convene, support and drive the changes through challenge and success. These structures need to be nurtured and sustained so that funded programmes and engagement opportunities can be taken full advantage of when they arise.  Hastily brought together groups may not have the collective understanding or shared language (there are huge differences between political, third sector, commercial businesses, culture and creatives) to represent their place adequately, which can bring about problems when projects are either in development or full flow. It is also crucial that any leadership groups have the capacity and sensitivity to have a dialogue with groups, communities and individuals who are marginalised, under-engaged and often unheard. Leadership structures need to regularly review, challenge and question themselves as to how they are achieving this.


Case study: In Redruth a Cultural Consortium has been established support the Heritage High Street Action Zone (HSHAZ) bringing the cultural and creative sector together with community stakeholders.  The Cultural Consortium has been a key consultation body for the Redruth Master Plan, commissioned from Lavigne Lonsdale Architects, with the HSHAZ funding and will continue to be for the Redruth Town Centre Values, Destination Redruth Strategy and the Redruth Spatial Vision & Investment Plan.  Creatives can also be commissioned to be the bridge between ‘the council’ and the community, able to reach groups within the community that perhaps would not ever attend a council-led meeting.  As can be seen in the Redruth Unlimited commissions, the sub-text to the commissions is using creativity/creative practitioners to raise the voices of those that are often not listened to and using a variety of media to capture these voices, often with far greater impact.  


Case study: Akademi Kernewek is a voluntary Cornish language group which provides information on Cornish language place names, including historical meanings, field names and lost settlement names, all of which tells a story about the social history of the place.   Developers and Councils are encouraged to use this information in naming new streets and developments as another layer of place making, so that the community has a sense of new development being a layer that recognises the past, there is continuity and local people can see that their history is acknowledged at least in a small way.  Losing local place names can make local residents feel even less a part of change.  Including Cornish language translations and new names has been an important way to recognise Cornwall’s distinctiveness.


In 2021 Government announced up to £88.7m to support Town Investment Plans in Cornwall located in Penzance, St Ives, Truro and Camborne.  Within these Town Deals there are currently 14 active culture/creative/heritage-based projects. These have been developed through a process of community engagement and consultation which gives further evidence that culture in our towns is what communities are actively asking for.


Cornwall complemented its four Towns Funds bids with a Town Vitality Fund giving a further opportunity for towns to attract investment into town centre renewal projects, some of which had a cultural focus.  The requirement for a ‘Town Team’ helped embed stakeholder engagement into this process.  Bottom-up regeneration schemes require a governance structure that puts local stakeholders at the heart, this is important in terms of community engagement and local buy in.  A strong Chair with a good track record of leading strategic opportunities is essential. Membership of the Town Team (or equivalent) ideally should be publicly available and communication routes made clear to the local community.  At times, boards brought together to drive strategic initiatives with budgets in the millions, are entirely voluntary. There can be a very tricky balance to manoeuvre between authority and capacity.  We would recommend a skills audit of any body, or Board, that is tasked with driving local strategic opportunities. These skills should be in line with the criteria of the opportunity that is being pursued. We would also advise the need and support for external expertise and mentorship to support local leadership and delivery.It is vital that there are people on these committees who are creative and who will bring a sense of the wider culture [highlighted in the previous question]. Creatives have a clearer ability to sit across sectors and see the wider picture.’ Fin Irwin, CEO, intoBodmin


Decisions on the appropriate accountable body for funding programmes can have a significant bearing on their success when delivering against multiple outputs. Where budgets are significant it is appropriate for the local authority to act as the accountable body. For example, Cornwall Council have acted as Accountable Body for the Town Deals. There can be a delicate balance to negotiate between the notion of bottom-up regeneration on schemes which must also meet LA and Government processes, strategic objectives and opportunities. 


As noted elsewhere in our response, we must be honest in our reflection that some Town Councils and place-based Boards are stronger than others. A mature relationship is required between the Town Council and wider stakeholders for this to work successfully. Setting clear responsibilities for each group is important. Heads of Terms agreements between the Boards and local authorities recognise the commitment both have to ensure successful delivery.


For smaller place-based grants programmes it is more appropriate that funding sits with delivery organisations or with town or parish councils. For CIOS we have found a collaborative leadership approach, co-created programme followed by the commissioning of cultural/ creative organisations to deliver have proved to be very successful. FEAST is an example of a programme where hyper-local interventions are top of the agenda. FEAST is an example of fully devolved decision making where a panel of local experts consider grant applications from community-based creative projects across Cornwall.  FEAST’s main funders are Arts Council England and Cornwall Council.


A thriving cultural place-making ecology in CIOS has encouraged and supported initiatives at all these levels.  Placeshaping funding programmes have not always been explicit in the need to include culture, this requirement could be strengthened in future programmes.


Case Study: Tresorys Kernow roadshows -trialling a model of engagement through Tresorys Kernow and the net result of this will be a hyper local structure in each location for local decision making and dissemination of funding for projects on, for and by the local community.

Case Study: Carn to Cove’s promoting network is made up of volunteer community champions, several of which are town or parish councillors who choose, promote, and manage events for their local audiences from a menu covering a diverse range of high quality, professional performances. This means that they are empowered to take decisions that suit their communities’ specific needs.


In Summary





How can the Government support places without established artistic infrastructure to take full advantage of the opportunities that the levelling up agenda provides?


It should be acknowledged that the culture and creative sectors are still in the process of recovery following the global pandemic. It is more important than ever that public investment continues into our sector and if being cited as a critical element in delivering the levelling up agenda, that the right level of investment is provided to fulfil this role.. Established organisations, such as ACE NPOs, or those with LA investment that cover several years, are well-positioned to provide a sustained and on-going presence in communities.  A major challenge where NPOs do not exist is sustaining activity and having an on-going cultural offer.  Funding programmes, such as ACE Project Grants, can be highly useful in this space, but are by their nature time limited.  Activity, momentum and enthusiasm for change and social impact to occur can be hard to sustain. Falmouth University, which specialises in creative higher education, also has an important role to play in upskilling and retraining.


Greater value should be given to dispersed models of activityThese are crucially important in rural areas and can contribute much to delivering  the ‘Cultural Communities’ envisioned by ACE.  In Cornwall initiatives such as Carn to Cove, FEAST and FylmK bring cultural and creative activity to locations right across Cornwall, many of which are small communities that have little or no cultural infrastructure beyond a village hall.  Current funding levels limit the number of interactions per year that can be supported, but there is much opportunity to expand such schemes. During the pandemic additional digital infrastructure and expertise was developed, such as at AMATA (The Academy of Music and Theatre Arts) at Falmouth University. There is much potential to expand and continue using this, for example to share live-streamed performances across Cornwall and beyond. Companies such as Miracle Theatre tour to villages, small towns and public spaces across Cornwall, transforming all kinds of places - from playing fields to cliff tops to banger-racing tracks – into theatres for the night. FEAST brings communities and creatives together and a commissioning programme such as the Redruth High Street Heritage Action Zone, could be replicated for other towns/areas.  This could result in local creative programming, building the confidence of a community, especially young people, and working with creatives to find solutions to local challenges.


Dispersed programmes could be complemented by providing incentives for established organisations to undertake outreach or partnership work in rural communities and towns lacking in cultural infrastructure; this work would need to be undertaken in a spirit of collaboration and conversation and not parachuted in. Partnership delivery models are also a useful mechanism. In order to undertake its Welcome Back Fund programme Cornwall Council undertook an open tender process, and Truro-based Hall for Cornwall has been commissioned to manage, coordinate and deliver the £175,000 programme which necessitates close partnership working with Town Councils in 10 locations. 


Capacity is key and some level of paid staffing essential to undertaking such work. A role, or organisation, providing independent support, facilitation and expertise can make a great deal of difference to the level of activity and engagement in communities. There are many challenges in undertaking this work, of ensuring all voices/ users/ members of the community are heard and distilling this into practical changes and delivery on the ground.

Community groups, individual artists and small creative companies will all be focussed on survival and do not often have the resources to take a wider view.  We continue to explore virtual, formal and informal ways in connecting people across a dispersed rural eco system. Networks have been identified and explored by the Network of Networks project and Cornwall’s Creative Industry Task Force is looking to build on that to embed these networks further into the sector and our communities.


Cornwall has had success in recent years in establishing hyper-local organisations and networks that provide cultural leadership and the experience to spot and explore partnership and investment opportunities, delivering through wider programmes responding to local demand and need. Examples include the Cultural Compact, Tyller a Nerth in Truro and intoBodmin. It should be noted that Truro and Bodmin are very different locations. Truro hosts some of Cornwall’s larger cultural organisations and the role of the Compact was to bring these and smaller bodies together for mutual benefit, and crucially to reengage with the community of Truro. In contrast Bodmin had a less-developed cultural scene. intoBodmin has a large remit that spans arts, community, education, business and a presence on the high street. They frequently receive feedback that ‘it’s great to finally have someone to talk to in Bodmin!’


Provide capital investment programmes aimed specifically at underserved places could be developed.  Innovative funding models should be developed to support these new facilities lessening their reliance on future grant income and the churn of grant applications.  The concentration of artistic infrastructure in certain places is an issue needs to be taken account of through ACE funding programmes.  Often NPOs are used as vehicles for investment, or, seen as a ‘safe pair of hands’ for strategic initiatives / as project partners.  This can perpetuate activity being concentrated where there is existing infrastructure.


Community-led programmes of activity aimed at tackling pockets of deprivation within communities. Models like LEADER and CLLD delivery could be a good way to build capacity amongst community organisations and creative microbusinesses, the place leaders of tomorrow. The double devolution of decision-making power to local groups of such a scheme would allow communities to creatively set their own destiny whilst levelling up communities. This is a model CIOS is keen to progress moving forward via the UK SPF.


Ensure outcomes are focused on accessibility It is important that in supporting culture the government and policy makers recognise the unique barriers to participation that exist within marginalised communities and address inclusion head on. This does not just apply to the culture and creative sectors however the sector has an opportunity to spearhead these changes.


“In the arts and cultural sector, those from ethnically diverse, Black and Asian communities are more likely to have been freelance and self-employed than those identifying as White. Those from lower socio-economic backgrounds (SEB) are more likely to be in freelance positions than those from higher SEB. The precarity associated with freelance and short-term contracts represents an additional barrier to entry and progression for people from less privileged backgrounds.” (Levelling Up: What’s art got to do with it? – Politics Home)


The opportunity to deliver skills and talent development. Looking at skills levels for the Arts, entertainment and recreation industry:

In CIOS we have a higher-than-average number of people with NVQ1 and above, but our numbers are lower than the average for Great Britain from NVQ2 and above. 20.9% of Cornwall’s working population are self-employed, compared to 13.8% of the UK’s working population. The median income for self-employed people in Cornwall for tax year 2018-2019 was £14,000. Broad research shows that there is no evidence that self-employed are less likely to have high level skills than employees in the same occupation. However, self-employed are more likely than employees to have no formal qualifications. Cornwall is working in this area through national initiatives such as Kickstart and our on home grown approach Brave Recruitment (Cultivator). Our desire is to encourage more apprenticeships and through the Creative Talent ambition of our Creative Manifesto we will be working with Screen Cornwall as a key growth sector to create career ladders that make the route into this industry easier to navigate. 


Falmouth University also plays an important role in skills and talent development through its higher education provision, including exceptional staff expertise and industry-standard resources. For example, the Sound/Image Cinema Lab - which is based at Falmouth University's School of Film & Television - has been responsible for the production and co-production of a series of narrative and documentary, short and feature films since 2010. It supports national and regional feature film productions following a strategy of accessing greater professional opportunities for students and graduates and supporting the development and potential of British independent filmmaking. Alongside co-producing feature films, the Lab is a funder and executive producer of micro-budget feature films. The Lab provides the majority of production funding, production resources and festival/release support for filmmakers willing to engage with its Filmmaker In Residence scheme, whereby the opportunity to make a feature film is offered in return for working with a majority student crew. These feature film productions also form the core element of the development of teaching and learning strategies within the University’s School of Film & Television as well as academic research into the teaching of cinema. The Lab also co-produces and partners on short film productions that access greater professional opportunities for graduates in particular, increase visibility of regional film industry and culture in Cornwall and support the development and potential of British independent filmmaking talent. Falmouth University’s Sound/Image Cinema Lab works with a wide range of industry partners including Screen Cornwall, BBC Films, BFI, Film4, Creative England and Screenskills, amongst others. While Cornwall, through Falmouth University has an established HE offer it’s important to acknowledge that this requires constant evolution and change to ensure that the skills, need and ideas of the creatives sectors are met to enable future growth and development.


This work will support the LUWP mission that ‘By 2030, the number of people successfully completing high-quality skills training will have significantly increased in every area of the UK. In England, this will lead to 200,000 more people successfully completing high-quality skills training annually, driven by 80,000 more people completing courses in the lowest skilled areas.’


One of Cornwall’s key challenges is poverty of ambition. Through the Falmouth University hub and spoke model they reach out and work in communities going to the people rather than expecting people to come to them. The University is keen to explore learning, sharing and testing of this model in partnership with other places with similar rural and coastal communities, for example Norwich.


There has been a step-change in how Town Councils are now involved in this space – through town-based funding programmes and also, in Cornwall, due to becoming a unitary authority, with the layer of district councils as the conduit removed.  Within Cornwall Council, Community Link Officers provide a vital pathway between local communities and Council services and strategic initiatives. The level of knowledge, understanding and ‘belief’ in culture varies significantly between Town Councils.  Mechanisms of connecting creatives to Town Councils need further exploration.  Sometimes there is a risk of a limited pool of practitioners/activities being called upon repeatedly due to lack of knowledge of the full spectrum of work that is available. Mechanisms may be needed to give creatives more opportunity to pitch at the earlier stages of project development or programming. Sometimes it is appropriate to use artists from the immediate locality, at other times a wider pool of artists should be given consideration perhaps including nationally and internationally. This can cause tension and selection procedures / rationales should also be decided early on. Giving audiences the opportunity to experience a wide range of work is part of levelling-up for audiences across the country.  The Nationals can also play their part in achieving this by increasing their commitments to outreach, touring and partnership working.


If levelling up initiatives are to be aimed at towns then it must be recognised that these range in scale from settlements such as Marazion pop.1,440 to places like Basingstoke pop.113,600 (80 times bigger). Funding programmes and guidelines need to have this spectrum designed-in from the start.


Finally, programmes with short deadlines and short delivery windows disadvantage impact and a sustainable legacy and are particularly challenging in places lacking in cultural infrastructure. These places may need to gather together partners and community activists together before they can even begin to devise an application. Furthermore, the conveners needed for these conversations might not exist in places where the activity is much needed, meaning carefully managed interventions might need to begin at a local strategic level. 


‘Longer term funding cycles. Any post-pandemic economic rebuilding strategy requires a balanced economic development plan for every part of the UK, facilitating long-term investment decisions and programme delivery. Short term funding cycles (e.g. the UK Community Renewal Fund, which has an 8-month delivery window) and one-off capital investments (e.g. Getting Building Fund) can be useful to a limited extent. However, longer-term funding programmes will better facilitate the planning and deep structural change needed to help those areas that are further behind.’[9]


Case Study: The rural touring model: Rural Touring Schemes put together a menu of professional art events, for their volunteer promoters and venues to choose from. This means that the people that live in those rural communities, that know their venue and their audiences the best, can choose the show that best fits for them, while also having the confidence that the Rural Touring Scheme has put together a quality offer. Volunteering sits at the heart of the rural touring programme. Most of the promoters are volunteers, every performance is supported by volunteers and many of the venues are run exclusively by volunteers; even those venues who employ professional staff utilise the help of a network of volunteers in promoting and supporting performances. On average it takes 58 volunteer hours to host every single rural touring event, and this is multiplied across 1650 promoting groups nationally. Funding for the Arts is still a city-centric issue; traveling to large towns and cities to see productions can be time and financially prohibitive. There are also physiological barriers to some who don’t feel as comfortable in larger cultural institutions. Access to the arts is important for everyone in society. It is reasonable to assume most people appreciate seeing high-quality and innovative performance & art. In the rural touring sector we believe that every rural area should have the chance to become cultural hubs, and government support could take advantage of this thriving sector to inject high quality culture even further to dispersed communities.


Case study: Miracle Theatre Since 1979, Miracle has remained committed to its aim of making theatre which builds a genuine connection with audiences of all ages. For many, it has become a long-standing social and community tradition, which crosses the generations. Miracle’s productions help underpin civic wellbeing by bringing people together for a positive shared experience within their neighbourhood or alongside the locals at the place they are visiting. Miracle works closely with the rural communities and is proactive in engaging with marginalised groups, offering free tickets and bespoke workshops to groups such as Cornwall One Parent, Carefree (young people in care in Redruth), Penwith Alternative Provision Academy (excluded children) and Cornwall Young People. It regularly offers open-access opportunities for local people to participate in productions. “British theatre is all the better for small companies such as the Cornwall–based Miracle, which tours to communities that are nowhere near a major theatre venue” The Guardian


Case study: FEAST has a 14-year track record of community engagement, based around micro-funding. This micro-funding is used explicitly and implicitly to build networks, re-enforce communities and draw down match funding. The FEAST model has been running regular finding rounds but also used on many other occasions to deliver benefits in a wide range of settings. The FEAST system is a simple way of making things greater than the sum of their parts. The Government could ‘clone’ the FEAST system and approach to support places without established artistic infrastructure to take full advantage of the opportunities that the levelling up agenda provides. This may have to happen at different ‘levels’ within existing social structures or communities or at different levels of funding/budgets but it could be done.

In Summary





How might changes to the UK’s broadcasting landscape affect investment in cultural production outside the capital, and what could the consequences be for artists and communities?

Broadcasting in the UK, and with it all the commissioning and production supply pipeline, has been concentrated in London, and even recent efforts to decentralise the industry are focussed still on a metropolitan model, e.g. Salford and Leeds.  In fact, these are even further away than London for Cornish creatives. This is improving post-COVID with more broadcasters willing to communicate via Zoom, but we are still missing the informal opportunities to build networks that will bear fruit in terms of creating a dialogue with commissioners outside a pure project pitch. It’s extremely hard to be a new supplier to a broadcaster as they do not like risk, so unless you have either worked in a big production company and left to start your own indie, or, worked inside a broadcaster and left to start a new company  it is challenging. This is not the reality in Cornwall with very few big brands based in the region tricky. The mantra that good ideas always find a way to get through doesn’t play out in practice. Via its Games Academy, Falmouth University is researching and delivering new approaches to live streaming and digital convergence. This needs embedding as a future prospect; Falmouth University can assist with this with appropriate funding.


The challenge with breaking into the relatively closed world of commissioning is around appetite for risk being low as the stakes for funding are so high. A dispersed model which allowed more experimentation and risk alongside the “big ticket” programming on core channels would allow for a more diverse and representative range of artists to get involved and represent their communities. 


It is difficult for film makers in rural regions to get a sustainable stream of commissions to develop their work individually, and for the region itself to develop the supporting infrastructure to create a self-sustaining sector. To get authentic representation onto screens it’s vital to work with locally based storytellers and filmmakers, rather than shipping in teams from bigger production companies to make programmes. This will have a knock-on effect on both artists and communities, who are essentially the core audiences for content.


If we can build up the skills and connections of those based in the regions with good ideas, via mentoring and networking, then it will be possible for regions other than urban centres to develop an ecosystem of different sized companies and provide career pathways for a wider range of young people who want to remain in the region to work. Communities will be improved by creating meaningful high value jobs in exciting dynamic sectors such as screen.


It would help if broadcasters could be proactive in setting up meet and greets with smaller companies / talent in specific regions that are underrepresented in terms of commissioning and production and / or run a cohort approach to helping small indies engage with them – what is currently provided by the broadcasters is not reaching us currently. It would also help to create ways for rural content creators to engage with streamers and new platforms, other kinds of content funders and cross-arts organisations who are looking for collaborators to create screen-based outputs or elements of their work to build up local companies and talent.


Finally, a long-term strategy for authentic representation and the sharing of production wealth needs to be developed for each region rather than expecting it to happen on a project-by-project basis as commissioners will default to the norm or the low-risk option. The far south west (Devon & Cornwall) needs a separate plan to that for Bristol and surrounding areas which currently many feel ticks the south west box. With the help of the recently established Screen Cornwall Cornwall’s screen sector is making significant progress, but we would like to see a steadier stream of commissioning opportunities as well as opportunities for networking, skills development & mentoring.


To address lack of media access for the Cornish language, we have set out the case Cornwall’s own public service broadcaster.  This piece of work was funded by Cornwall Council and delivered by DMCS working with the Creative Industries Futures Research Group, the School of Film & Television at Falmouth University and the Department of Film & Television Studies at University of Warwick. This would address the lack of media access for Cornish language but also create a small, agile, online service that could produce exciting original content.  It could both contribute to the overall diversity of digital content available in the UK, but also serve as a new, non-metropolitan media model, showing how technology can enable completely new business models.  Technology also enables us to connect up with an international audience as we know there is an addressable audience of 25.5million Kernowphiles around the world, from those with direct family links in the Cornish diaspora to those who just know Cornwall from films and literature. A Cornish public service media could model and help establish a set of standards to better reflect the society we live in and that raises the bar of expectation for a fairer, greener Cornwall to which all stakeholders aspire.


The case for a new public service broadcaster is set out here: As a first step, a space could be created on the BBC iPlayer or All4. Screen Cornwall and Cornwall Council have prepared a business case for a pilot Cornish Content Fund, to create an investment of £500k in Cornish content creation over 2 years which would create opportunities for Cornish creative industries to develop talent and facilities, and to showcase what an innovative rural region in the UK can do.  Our annual FylmK competition to support a new Cornish language short has created 5 original films and supported new filmmakers, actors, writers and technicians in developing their talent.  Each of these films has gone on to win awards in film festivals and has showcased Cornish film making generally. We have offered these to BBC iPlayer as Kernewek is not currently represented on the platform in the way that the minority languages of Scotland and Wales are. The LUWP states that ‘By 2030, every part of England that wants one will have a devolution deal with powers at or approaching the highest level of devolution and a simplified, long-term funding settlement.’ A public service broadcaster for Cornwall could be considered as part of a devolution deal.


Case Study: Our annual FylmK competition to support a new Cornish language short has created five original films and supported new filmmakers, actors, writers and technicians in developing their talent.  Each of these films has gone on to win awards in film festivals and has showcased Cornish film making generally. We have offered these to BBC iPlayer as Kernewek is not currently represented on the platform in the way that the minority languages of Scotland and Wales are.


In Summary





How should Government build on existing schemes, such as the UK City of Culture, to level up funding for arts and culture?

We welcome the updated guidelines for the UK City of Culture designation that have enabled the participation of Cornwall and other rural areas.  NICRE’s recent report on Levelling up states: The report encourages those designing or delivering this ambition to: Modify targeting and design of new policies and investment programmes, by strengthening and using Government’s rural proofing processes. Eliminate signals of urban preference towards cities and agglomerated industries’ [10] We would welcome a similar approach to future culture and creative industries funding programmes to make them fully inclusive of rural regions.


Cornwall’s Creative Manifesto sets out the case for why we are leading from the edge and not on the periphery. Programmes need to be more flexible and reflective of different places and different make ups. For Cornwall our creative ecology is predominately freelance and micro businesses (not SMEs), with a network of rurally dispersed creative hubs. Programmes should seek a broader set of indicators of what can be achieved – not just turnover and GVA - but real living wage; happiness; productivity; skills development; changing perceptions and sense of pride; driving international soft power for the area and the UK; tacking worklessness and isolation; revitalising highstreets and public spaces and acknowledging and evidencing the civic role of culture and creativity. Many of these indicators read through into the Levelling Up Missions.


Selection processes and value-for-money calculations should be checked for anti-rural bias. Former programmes might favour projects based in areas of high population density. For example, a 200-capacity theatre in a dense urban area might be seen as having a catchment population of 1million with 5 miles and a rural one 15,000 people, so a price-per head value is given on this basis.  However, both spaces still only need to fill the 200 seats to be successful making this a false comparison where the rural project is bound to lose out.  Poorer citizens are more likely to participate in National Lottery, so it would be fairer in principle if less-wealthy places were to receive a higher spend per head of Lottery funding.


Deeper investigation is needed into whether targets for match funding in applications creates bias against places that lack cultural infrastructure or a market for philanthropy and commercial sponsorship. Established organisations are better resourced and able to attract and manage multiple funding sources and where match funding levels are used as part of the assessment criteria, does this perpetuate investment going to the better-resourced or more affluent places.


Perhaps distribution channels should be established allocating some funding to the ‘runners up’ who have bid for designations. These places will have evidence an ambition, strategic direction, drive and ambition in bidding and will have given significant resource and thought to their plans – anecdotally many seem to take the attitude that they will seek to achieve elements of their programme even though they’ve not won the designation; their ambitions could be supported in part through another means.


Build on existing schemes: Roll out another round/s of High Street Heritage Action Zone funding and Culture Compacts.  There are many more towns in Cornwall, and elsewhere, that could benefit from culture and heritage-led regeneration funding.


Encourage philanthropy outside of major urban areas.  Significant donations tend to be received by the nationals, who have the profile, plus staff with the contacts and expertise to attract donors.  Alternative models where philanthropy is dispersed to a wider-range of projects and places should be established, perhaps encouraged by tax-breaks for projects outside of London / major urban centres.


It is worth noting that due ongoing decline of investment from central government and the shift of emphasis on understandably key areas of concern such as social care, local authorities are having to make tough decisions about their future support and investments into culture and creativity. However, with the positive interventions that culture, heritage and creative sectors can make in the delivering the levelling up agenda, a devolved programme where local decisions and delivery models can be created would provide the best way to respond to local demand and need and would result in making significant social and economic impact and step change.


In Summary




[1] Government unveils levelling up plan that will transform UK - GOV.UK (

[2] Creative Manifesto 2021-2025 - Cornwall Council


[4] GVA per filled job (ONS 2018), Cornwall Council EMMU June 2021.

[5] Treasury Committee - An Equal Recovery inquiry. Cornwall Council response

[6] DCMS_report_April_2020_finalx__1_.pdf (

[7] Creating Healthy Night-time Economies in World Cities (

[8] Data Source: APS Survey, Oct 2018 – Sept 2019

[9] Source: Treasury Committee - An Equal Recovery inquiry. Cornwall Council response.

[10] The strategic case for equitable recognition of rural economies in Levelling Up policies NICRE November 2021