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A new three-year Memorandum of Understanding pledges to promote inclusive growth and defend Cornish cultural distinctiveness.

Photo of musicians playing on the street
Looe Music Festival

Arts and heritage funders have joined together with major local businesses in Cornwall to promote growth, improve decision-making and protect the Cornish identity.

Stakeholders including Arts Council England (ACE), Historic England, the National Lottery and the Cornwall and Isles of Scilly Local Enterprise Partnership have signed a new Memorandum of Understanding committing them to three years of joint working.

Collectively known as the Culture Investment Board (CIB), the organisations will focus on place-making, economic growth and social cohesion.

Key aims

While the signatories stress that no joint funding arrangements have been agreed, they commit to three broad themes:

  • Resilience – developing new, sustainable long-term financial models for Cornwall’s arts and cultural economy to achieve “inclusive and productivity-led growth”
  • Place – using arts and cultural development to achieve “positive economic and social change across Cornwall” and support vibrant communities
  • Identity – using parliament’s recognition of minority status for the Cornish language and Cornish cultural distinctiveness to foster a “share sense of place, pride and confidence in communities across Cornwall”.

The parties will work together to improve investment decision-making, helping to avoid duplicated effort when monitoring and supporting organisations.

The CIB also aims to promote and maximise opportunities for the development of art and culture in the region and consider the benefits of a self-evaluation framework for cultural providers supported by parties to access their own performance and outcomes.

In 2016 Cornwall Council published a Culture White Paper, which set out the aims of increasing annual participation in local cultural activity by ten percentage points and doubling the number of Cornish speakers by 2020.

Darren Henley, Chief Executive of ACE, said: “Cornwall has a very special cultural identity, as well as an abundance of cultural riches.  It’s an important place for us at ACE and we’re proud of our track record of investment and partnership working in the county.  

“This shared commitment to the importance and value of culture and creativity will help us continue to make a major contribution to the placemaking agenda in Cornwall’s towns and rural communities.”

Glenn Caplin, Chief Executive of the Cornwall and Isles of Scilly LEP, said: “Our creative sector is a huge cultural and economic asset that is growing at twice the rate of the UK economy.  

“From international exports like Kneehigh theatre and venues like The Exchange in Newlyn, to cutting edge creative tech businesses like Triangular Pixels, named as BAFTA Breakthrough Brits, and Creative England Top 50 company Engine House Media, we have a rich and diverse creative economy rooted in a distinctive sense of place.  

“We warmly welcome this partnership and the signal it sends about the value we place on culture and creativity.”