Cornish culture is a rich mix of everything that’s gone before. And for centuries, Cornish people have invented, innovated and pushed the world forward.




Marked for its magic, mystique and a minority language, our region is renowned for being slightly out of kilter with the mainstream. From arts and sports, language and customs, feasts and festivals, to bands, book clubs, and sea swimming groups, culture in Cornwall links people and place, and is built on our ability to connect, celebrate and find meaning in the everyday.


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With a network of over 1000 artists and makers that were either born here or drawn here, Cornwall is the UK’s leading rural creative region.

Cornwall’s creative and cultural strategy, our Creative Manifesto, aims to consolidate and drive forward our standing and define both what a rural creative economy is, but also what it can be.

With a global reputation in visual arts and theatre, a dedicated creative industries university, a growing appeal for TV and film productions, plus world-class digital connectivity, we have all the potential to take centre stage. We did it in June 2021 when we successfully hosted the G7 summit in the middle of a global pandemic.

And as one of the first regions in the UK to declare a Climate Emergency, our commitment to delivering big things through a sustainable lens underpins Cornwall’s cultural conversation today.

But despite everything we have going for us, the social and economic context of Cornwall remains a challenge, and we are behind the majority of the UK on key economic measurements.

 

  • With a low-wage economy and a shortage of affordable housing, 17 of our neighbourhoods are on the list of top 10% most deprived in the country – a hidden story of deprivation behind the picture-postcard narrative.
  • Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly has a higher than average proportion of people whose day-to-day lives are limited by a long term health condition or disability, equating to 114,023 or 21.33% of the population, much higher than the UK average.
  • We know there are substantial racial disparities in the experiences of Black, Asian and minority ethnic people living in Cornwall. Data highlights the inequality relating to employment, with 1 in 11 black people in Cornwall unemployed (10.9%) compared to 2.8% of the white population. These disparities compound the potential for people from diverse communities to be seen, heard, and represented in leading roles within our culture.
  • Young people impacted by poverty and rural isolation can have limited access to culture, digital technology and the natural environment. A failure to make these opportunities open to all is limiting our next generation.

To tackle the most critical issues of our time and make leaps towards a cultural legacy that’s inclusive, accessible, and sustainable, Cornwall needs year-round economic growth to help combat the inequalities and high levels of poverty and deprivation.

Being awarded the UK City of Culture 2025 will allow us to close the gap between the have and have-nots and foreground our potential by creating a constellation of cultural moments around the themes of People, Place and Planet.


Moments of shared humanity.
Moments of collective change.
Moments of hope and possibility.

 

Harnessing the Cornish way – of banding together, interconnecting disciplines, and making the impossible possible – our UK City of Culture 2025 programme will invite a layering of artistic, educational and community involvement in areas like climate change, sustainability, minority languages and culture, plus play, storytelling and learning.

As a Celtic nation with a global diaspora of millions, winning this accolade will instil a huge sense of pride in our people and shine a light on community issues across the four nations and beyond. It will also provide a platform to showcase our rich palette of places and stories, which in turn will attract audiences from near and far, giving Cornwall the credit it deserves.

Now that’s a prize worth winning for our community.

 



People: Creating Opportunities for all

With a low-wage economy, high levels of disability, hidden diversity and rural isolation limiting opportunities, we have the chance to inspire people, enhance social inclusion, and improve the health and wellbeing of everyone who calls Cornwall ‘home’.

We have the lowest proportion of working age people (16-64) at only 58.4% and our average age is almost 8 years older then the rest of the UK.

33.8% of employees here are earning below the real living wage (compared to 22.8% UK average).

21.33% of our population experience their day-to-day lives limited by a long term health condition or disability.

So to create new and diverse opportunities that truly reflect our community today, our 2025 cultural programme will offer up apprenticeships, training and volunteer positions that will empower individuals, enhance social inclusion and strengthen our collective spirit.

To make things accessible so everyone can get involved, we’ll repurpose town centres and transform high streets into live-work-make spaces. And through our ‘Everyone Invited’ programme, we’ll nurture a network of initiatives designed to cultivate skills, education and participation.

 


Creating collective change

570,000 Population

4 million Visitors / year

1,000 Cornish speakers

140,000 people volunteer

33.8% earning below the real living wage

Place: Big ambitions for a brighter future

With a connection to the Celtic nations and a global diaspora, plus world-class capabilities in technology and connectivity, Cornwall City of Culture 2025 has an exciting opportunity to deepen Cornwall’s relationship to the world and create an economy that will prosper.

We are leveraging digital capabilities to enable interconnected virtual networks and collaborations, and increasing the use of digital technology and platforms to access funding, markets and talent, and optimise business processes.

We have a deep-rooted, creative and cultural ecology with significant numbers of creative practitioners, artists, innovators and cultural and digital leaders inhabiting, and working from, Cornwall.

So, drawing on our Celtic connection and the global diaspora that comes with it, our 2025 cultural programme will create moments that bring together audiences, participants and artists from the UK, Ireland, Scotland and Wales. To encourage a more sustainable regional economy, we’ll leverage our historical global connections to inform modern partnerships, exchanges and global trade routes. And to take advantage of the global demand for innovative digital content, we’ll continue to tap into and develop our CreaTech capabilities so we can deepen engagement, reach new audiences, and meet global demands.

 


Reimagining our rural economy

Cornwall covers 3,563Km2

675 miles of unique coastline

27% recognised as Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty

17 neighbourhoods in the top 10% most deprived in the country

80% of our 213 towns / parishes have a service delivery agreement with Cornwall Council

PLANET: Pioneering
positive change

As one of the first regions in the UK to declare a Climate Emergency with a legacy vision to become a ‘creative and carbon-neutral economy by 2030’, we have the chance to continue our fight against climate change and model a better way for culture and economy to thrive in a way that doesn’t cost the earth.

Our region is rich with natural capital, and we are innovating ways to reduce our impact on the planet through geothermal energy, biomethane collection from dairy farms, Floating Offshore Wind and lithium mining.

Our 2025 cultural programme will allow us to explore the shared human challenges of sustainability, climate change and social justice. Encompassing everything from small-scale moments of wonder to large-scale public art projects, our community of talent will make an impact by harnessing our iconic landscapes, found spaces, cultural buildings, historic sites and community hubs. And through our ‘Spaces’ initiative, we’ll extend, improve and green our cultural buildings.


A cleaner, greener future

first in the UK to declare a climate emergency

37% of our electricity comes from renewable sources

Farmers manage over 75% of our land mass

Cornwall aims to have a net carbon neutral economy by 2030

17,000 members / 1,000 volunteers of Cornwall Wildlife Trust

Celtic connections. Creative ingenuity. Cultural brilliance. It’s time to take centre stage and leave a legacy that’s inclusive, accessible and sustainable. For you, for me, for all. 

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