Falmouth University will be involved if Cornwall wins City of Culture bid

  Posted: 24.11.21 at 17:21 by Richard Whitehouse - Local Democracy Reporter

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Three “stand still” moments will be created to attract worldwide attention to Cornwall if it is named UK City of Culture in 2025.

Details of some of the programme which is planned should Cornwall be named as the next City of Culture were revealed at a meeting of the Cornwall and Isles of Scilly Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP) today.

LEP chief executive Glenn Caplin-Grey gave a presentation on the progress of Cornwall’s bid which has been longlisted by the Government.

A shortlist for the title will be announced in March and the winning area will be revealed in May when full planning can start if Cornwall is City of Culture 2025.

Mr Caplin-Grey said that as well as the three key moments there would also be a number of other key events held all over Cornwall during the year of programming if we are successful.

He said:

Penryn campus (Image: Exeter University)

“We will have three moments, what we are calling national standstill moments, when the UK and the world will look at Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly. Imagine the Man Engine which had 150,000 reached and 100million people across 100 countries, think of that but bigger.”

The LEP CEO said that the City of Culture programme was aiming to develop a “cultural response to environmental issues” and said that this was one key aspect of the bid which he said had stood it apart from competitors.

He said that the City of Culture would be working with Cornwall’s “big brands and big assets” such as the Eden Project, Tate St Ives and Falmouth University in creating the programme.

In addition, there will be a “town led response” which he explained:

“In Cornwall and Scilly we will have 25 moments that will be programmed throughout the year showcasing the place and what they do in the environment.

“It could be, and I am making it up now, a gig rowing festival on the Tamar.”

The LEP board also heard that none of the events for the City of Culture would be planned for the summer because there were already a number of events in Cornwall during that time of year.

Mr Caplin-Grey said that the programme would focus on the rest of the year saying:

“This will be aiming to showcase very different sides of Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly, talking about the sides you might not expect.

“It is picking up the theme that we are not just Poldark and pasties.”

Mr Caplin-Grey said that there was an ambition to create mass participation and engagement among people in Cornwall and a goal of getting 200,000 engagements throughout the year if the City of Culture bid is successful.

He highlighted a recent report which showed the benefits to Hull when it was named City of Culture in 2017.

This showed that there were 2,800 events, cultural activities, installations and exhibitions and that £676m of new public and private investment in Hull from 2013 to 2019 can be partly attributed to the City of Culture.

The accolade also created 800 jobs and the programme was experienced 5.3m times by audiences with more than nine in 10 residents taking part in at least one cultural activity.

Tourism data for Hull for 2018 has shown a 50,000 increase in overnight trips and an increase in visitor spend.

Mr Caplin-Grey said that a YouGov poll about the City of Culture asked the public which of the longlisted areas should get the title which put Cornwall on 14% of choices, more than double than for Stirling in second place. However the survey also found that 14% said none of the longlisted areas and 42% said they didn’t know.

He said:

“It was twice as many as the bids we felt were frontrunners. There is a huge amount of public support and not just here in Cornwall. We have a place in the nation’s heart.”

The LEP board heard that the City of Culture bid had received the support of Cornwall’s six MPs and Mr Caplin-Grey said that there were plans for a Westminster reception in January which would be sponsored by an organisation which was not named.

Cornwall is on the eight-strong longlist to be UK City of Culture 2025 alongside Armagh City, Banbridge and Craigavon, Bradford, County Durham, Derby, Southampton, Stirling and Wrexham County Borough. The winning area will be announced in May 2022.

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