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Cornwall’s Creative Manifesto: cementing our position as the UK’s leading rural creative economy - Emmie Kell

This week has seen the publication of a Creative Manifesto for Cornwall which sets out a five-year vision to make Cornwall the UK’s leading rural creative economy.

Cornwall’s Creative Manifesto is an important document. As Creative England’s Chair, John Newbigin, points out in the manifesto, the UK’s creative industry policy has until recently been focused almost exclusively on urban areas.

Cornwall, he says, has an extraordinary wealth of creative talent, spanning traditional crafts to advanced digital tech. Realising the current and future potential of that talent is a huge opportunity that should not be missed. And he’s right.

The importance of the creative industries

The creative industries are a broad church spanning advertising, architecture, creative technology, crafts, design, arts and culture, music, games, publishing, TV and film. Taken together, they are a significant employer in our area, and a wellspring of future high growth companies and higher value jobs. For evidence of that look at the successful businesses being spun out of Falmouth University’s Launchpad project.

Cornwall’s long tradition of creativity

The Creative Manifesto, which has been published by Cornwall Council, pinpoints the almost visceral, deep-rooted cultural and creative energy in Cornwall. That energy has nourished and sustained artists and makers for generations and continues to this day.

It has to do with our landscape, the sea, our culture of storytelling and being proudly outside the mainstream. It celebrates the unconventional and the collaborative. We are dispersed but united (increasingly by technology), inspired by our environment, bound by a collective experience, and healthier and happier for it.

A leading role in our Covid-19 recovery

Cornwall’s Creative Manifesto celebrates that distinctiveness and the competitive edge it can give us in a global market. And it highlights how a mix of creative skills, ideas and resilience will have a crucial role in leading Cornwall’s renewal and recovery from Covid-19 over the next five years.

For the LEP, the creative economy is a cornerstone of Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly’s economic future. It’s one reason why we are investing in the creation of creative spaces and places, including the regeneration of Liskeard Cattle Market for creative businesses, and a creative and digital business hub in the transformed Hall for Cornwall, which reopens next year.

Createch: fusing creativity and technology

And for me it is the fusion of creativity and technology – createch –  that is so exciting. Through immersive experiences there is huge potential to engage with audiences and communities. This is exactly what we are doing with the LEP-backed wAVE project in museums across Cornwall.

The Creative Manifesto will be formally launched in the New Year. In the meantime I urge you to read it. After all, the contribution that arts, culture and the creative industries can make to the lives of people in Cornwall and Scilly cannot be underestimated.

Emmie Kell is a non-executive director of the Cornwall and Isles of Scilly Local Enterprise Partnership and Chief Executive of the Cornwall Museums Partnership.

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Cornwall and Isles of Scilly Local Enterprise Partnership, PO Box 723, Pydar House, Pydar Street, Truro, TR1 1XU
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