Why Cornwall’s European Capital of Culture bid is brilliant, not bonkers

Just over a month ago the government’s Culture Minister Karen Bradley announced the launch of the nationwide competition to find the European Capital of Culture 2023. Every year two EU countries share the Capital of Culture title – in 2023 those countries are due to be Hungary and the UK. They will each put forward a number of cities – one from each country will be selected to win the title. So yes, despite Brexit, the government has signalled its intention to continue; it knows several cities outside the EU have held the title in the past.

Last week Cornwall Council voted in favour of Truro submitting a bid. Cornwall’s bid, will be up against several UK cities which have already declared their intentions to bid – Leeds, Dundee and Milton Keynes.

Here are ten reasons why this is GREAT news and why we can win:

  1. Growing our economy: Becoming a European Capital of Culture creates economic growth. Every euro of public money invested in Lille 2004 generated an estimated 8 euros for the local economy. In 2008 Liverpool generated an economic impact of £753.8m. Capital of Culture provides a one off opportunity to give Cornwall’s economy the boost it so desperately needs. Our front line services will be increasingly reliant on the number of businesses that thrive in Cornwall because it is the income from business rates which will fund them. We need to invest now to unlock the potential of our economy and culture is part of the solution.
  2. Raising the aspirations of our young people. Too many young people in Cornwall feel that great things happen somewhere else. Every year we lose hundreds of talented young people who feel that its only outside Cornwall that they can achieve success. We need to change that story. Capital of Culture is a chance to put Cornwall on the global stage and deliver a programme of breath-taking events and experiences that involve every child and young person and open their minds to the possibilities and potential of our place.
  3. Media exposure that money can’t buy. The Creative Industries are one of the UKs economic success stories. Cornwall is home to 1200 creative businesses including world beating creative businesses from film makers to fashion designers; they have an appetite for growth and the skills to trade around the world. Talk to these businesses and they will tell you that what they want to expand their international links. Capital of Culture will give us unprecedented media coverage to help promote the Cornwall brand.
  4. Changing the perception of Cornwall. Smart cities know that investing in culture is what gives them the edge. Its why Manchester has put culture at the heart of its economic development strategy and why London is investing £100m in one museum alone. For our economy to succeed we need to create more good jobs in Cornwall. We need more investors to consider Cornwall as the place where they can do business. Capital of Culture will send a strong message that Cornwall is a vibrant and innovative place to live and work.
  5. Putting Cornwall at the front of the queue post Brexit. We need to show our European partners that Cornwall is ready for business. By becoming European Capital of Culture we’ll send a confident message which shows we are an outward facing region keen to work with and welcome people from around the world.
  6. Boosting our visitor economy Marseille-Provence 2013 attracted a record number of 11 million individual visits. In Liverpool, Capital of Culture produced total income of £130 million over six years. Tourism businesses in Merseyside were overwhelmingly positive about the benefits they experienced. Importantly, our year long programme will help us to market Cornwall as an all year destination helping to increase income for tourism in the shoulder season and winter months.
  7. Developing skills – research shows thattaking part in structured music activities improves attainment in language and maths. Schools that integrate arts across the curriculum have shown higher average reading and maths scores than those which don’t. Students from low income families that take part in arts activities are 3 times more likely to gain a degree. It is still the case that too many children and young people in Cornwall have limited access to the arts. Capital of Culture is an opportunity to address the inequalities in arts engagement – developing skills for young people across Cornwall.
  8. Creativity is what we do best – Cornwall has a proud history of artistic and engineering achievement. We have nurtured and attracted creative thinkers who have changed the course of history. Life on the edge helps us think differently. Creativity is one of our strengths and this is a competition we can win.
  9. Benefits across the whole of Cornwall – this isn’t just about Truro. Our bid will be for Cornwall as a whole. The European Capital of Culture guidance is clear – any bid needs to be of benefit for the lead city and the surrounding area. We have a natural talent for collaboration in Cornwall, we can use our vibrant community networks to extend the benefits of this programme to every community in Cornwall.
  10. Culture makes life better – evidence shows that being involved in the arts has a positive impact on specific health conditions including dementia, depression and Parkinson’s. People who have attended a cultural event in the last 12 months are 60% more likely to report good health; more frequent engagement with arts and culture is associated with improved wellbeing. 4 of the top 6 activities most conducive to human happiness and wellbeing are arts related. Putting it simply, for thousands of people across Cornwall culture is already making their lives better. You can listen to their stories here.

Capital of Culture is good news for everyone in Cornwall. From Morwenstow to Mousehole from St Austell to St Levan Cornwall’s Capital of Culture programme will see amazing things happening in every community up and down the Duchy.  It’s the gamechanger we should all get behind. Let’s back the bid – it’s brilliant.

To find out more about more about how culture benefits Cornwall watch our short film

Emmie Kell is CEO of Cornwall Museums Partnership a charity which helps museums to thrive for the benefit of everyone in Cornwall.

Museums and Galleries Tax Relief

During the 2016 Budget, the government announced the introduction of an additional corporation tax relief for museums and galleries that would be available for temporary and touring exhibition costs. The Autumn Statement 2016 saw the announcement of this relief being extended to include permanent exhibitions.

The relief was designed to encourage museums and galleries to develop new exhibitions, and to display their collections to a wider audience. There are currently no tax reliefs for this sector so it is a welcome piece of legislation, with the most recent announcement also applying to smaller museums who do not regularly hold temporary exhibition spaces.

The relief will affect qualifying expenditure incurred on or after 1 April 2017, but before 31 March 2022 unless it is extended by the Government. The Government will review this in 2020, setting out their plans beyond 2022.

The relief will allow qualifying companies to claim an additional deduction in calculating their taxable profits, being the lower of 80% of the total amount of the qualifying expenditure incurred, or the amount of the qualifying expenditure incurred that is EEA expenditure (at least 25% of the core expenditure on the production of the exhibition should be expenditure on goods or services that are provided from within the EEA).

The deduction should be based on expenditure on the activities involved in producing, de-installing and closing the exhibition at every relevant venue. Certain storage expenditure will also be included, again subject to condition. It will not include ordinary running costs, costs of marketing or promotional events, legal services, or expenditure on the further development of a running exhibition.

The above conditions are by no means exhaustive and there are a number of other detailed conditions that need to be met which should be checked through in detail beforehand. However they should give you a guideline as to the types of company and expenditure this relief will attract.

Source: http://tinyurl.com/js3gd62

Working with partners

Being part of a partnership is great for a lot of reasons. Partnerships offer a great environment for networking and learning, they offer the potential for development when you have shared goals. However, probably the best part of working within a partnership project is that it provides you with the opportunity to share essential fundraising skills – that’s the best part!

Go ahead and ask questions
Organisations can benefit from sharing best practices and learn from each other, and what best way to do that than engaging in meaningful peer to peer sessions. Don’t be afraid to ask questions! If you feel that you can benefit from learning from the experience of other organisations, don’t be shy to ask them about it. These sessions can be as formal or informal as you want, just as long as there’s an atmosphere of honesty and mutual support.

Compare and contrast
Peer to peer learning is all about connecting and learning with others. Feel free to share anything you feel it is important about your organisation’s activity. This will give you an excellent opportunity to learn from the successes (and mistakes!) of others.

Why is it so important?
When it comes to fundraising, peer to peer learning is crucial, especially for museums and organisations that have no previous hands-on experience of fundraising activities. You will find that it is an excellent way to expand your knowledge and gain more experience. So don’t waste any time and get learning!

Serious about partnership working? Join us for a full day Catalyst training course on ‘Working with Partners’ in September, for a chance to learn more and help your museum grow. Details to be published soon, but if you have any specific questions please give us a call at 01209 500750 or drop us an email at yiota@cornwallmuseumspartnership.org.uk.

What makes a great training event?

January has been a busy month here at CMP. We kicked off the new year with a whole range of training workshops, seminars, skills-share sessions and a conference. As a team we’ve tried to capture some of the things we have learned about what works and what doesn’t. We found it was easy to forget some of the basics once events were in full swing so we’ve produced this checklist for ourselves. We hope you might find it useful too.

Event checklist

Before the event

  1. What does the marketing say? Does the name of the event accurately reflect the type of activity you are running? Is it a conference or will it be a more informal event? Make sure your marketing accurately captures the kind of event you are going to run. Ensure a joined up approach when branding the event, so that everyone (speakers, trainers, organisers and delegates) is familiar with the exact same event title/brand.
  2. Send a clear brief to the speakers explaining the objectives for the day, the programme and the intended audience. If they are delivering a presentation with slides, ask them to use slides which are clearly visible – black text on a yellow background is the most legible.
  3. Make sure you’ve dealt with general practicalities – do your speakers have any practical requirements, such as room layout, specific equipment, etc? If yes, make sure you have prepared everything beforehand.
  4. Check you have you asked people for their dietary and access requirements.
  5. Are you asking for payment for refreshments? If so, check that payment for lunch is accurately advertised – i.e. £5 for all refreshments (not just lunch) to ensure that you communicate value for money.
  6. Have the delegates received a reminder email, with directions and lunch/parking arrangements, during the run up to the event?

On the day

  1. Is the registration desk set up – badges, delegate lists, programme and workshop sign-up sheets if necessary.
  2. Give name badges and delegate lists out to people as they arrive. Ask them if there is anyone they want to meet and introduce them.
  3. Sound check – do the speakers work? Can people hear at the back?
  4. Screen test – is the light level right, can you see the slides from the back?
  5. Have you organised water for the presenters?
  6. Meet and greet the presenters – do they have what they need, have they been briefed on the day?
  7. Does the roving mike work? Check that everyone can hear the questions and ask people to say their names and where they are from when they ask a question
  8. Is there someone to blog about the day?
  9. Is the wifi password and hashtag clearly visible?
  10. Is there someone allocated to meet and greet and help people connect with one another?
  11. Before the start of the presentation/event, make sure you provide a brief introduction to the audience – who is the organiser, what is everyone here for, who is funding the event, and any specific references/thanks to individuals/organisations.
  12. Share housekeeping information at the beginning of the day– toilet location, fire alarms and exits, reminders of coffee and lunch breaks.
  13. Keep an eye on your watch! Being time-conscious throughout the whole duration of the event will facilitate its smooth and timely development.
  14. Are there evaluation forms for all delegates?
  15. If the event is part of a wider series of events, make sure to market any other relevant events at the end or throughout the day, so as to make people aware of them. Don’t forget to provide information on how to secure a place in future/relevant events!

After the event

  1. Follow up – send out notes and actions within 24 hours of the event if possible.
  2. Organise an event debrief within 24 hours if possible.
  3. Send a thank you email to your speakers/presenters or delegates, if required.

To book a place at one of our training events (and see if we practice what we preach!) please click here.

Pop your shop: the secret to amazing museums shops

Museum shops are one of the best ways to generate income while, at the same time, promoting your organisation. Whatever the size of your museum, a museum shops is a great way to help you grow and diversify your income.

Tip: set up your shop at the very entrance of your building. That way people can see it from the street, be tempted in, hopefully spend some money, and leave without any fuss! A positive impression of the museum from your shop will encourage a return visit to the museum itself.

Whether you already have a shop or are thinking of setting one up, there is plenty for you to think about to make the most of your resources – no matter how small. . Think creatively about what you want to stock, your price range, the size of your space, etc. Look at museums similar to yours that run a successful museum shop for ideas, as well as really successful and inspirational museum and high street shops – there are always little tricks that they use that you can borrow.

You might also want to take set up your own online museum shop. Online shops are fantastic opportunities to grow sales around the country – even worldwide. Larger museums have been really successful with online shops (see: the British Museum, Royal Academy), and if you spend a bit of time looking at how they’re done it, you can see how you can not only grow your sales but engage people with your museum and its uniqueness. Try it on a pilot mode and see how it goes, you can start really small and grow. Remember: opportunities are endless!

Catalyst Training: Amazing Museum Shops

When: 12 September 2017

Where: Bedruthan Steps Hotel

This one day course is suited for museums who are starting to think about a shop and for those who already have one and want to see it flourish. We’ll be using the Bedruthan Steps shop as a case study for what can be achieved in a small space. You’ll learn about what’s essential when planning and managing a retail space and the important do’s and don’ts. For more information please contact Clare, Programme Manager, or Yiota, Programme Coordinator, on: 01209 500750, or yiota@cornwallmuseumspartnership. To book a place directly on our website, please visit: https://www.cornwallmuseumspartnership.org.uk/events/amazing-museum-shops/

The dark art of marketing: branding & the digital world

If you’re reading this, and you’re from a smaller museum you’re probably asking ‘how is branding and marketing relevant to me?’ When it comes to fundraising, you need to explore every opportunity to help you tell your story as brilliantly as possible, to as many people as possible. This is where marketing can really help you. Be strategic and creative. Museums that wish to make the best out of the marketing and branding opportunities should initially write a simple, clear marketing strategy. It doesn’t need to be long or complicated, just ask yourselves the questions:

*What are we trying to achieve, and why?
*Who do you want to be talking to?
*What are you trying to say?
*How can you do this with the most impact?

This will help you form a plan outlining what you want to achieve and how you want to go about doing it. You will find that marketing is a process that requires organisation and setting clear targets.

Online resources and social media are used by a significant, and growing, number of people, it is important for your organisation to keep up. Google has the answer to everything. So what is it telling people about your museum? When someone googles your museums what is the first thing that they see? It might be helpful to ask yourselves questions like:

-Does our website look professional, appealing and engaging?
-How easy is it to navigate through our website and look for information?
-How often do we update our website?

Does our website connect with any social media platforms e.g. Twitter, Facebook and Instagram? Which of these do our audience use?

If you feel unsure about any of the answers, it might be a good idea to re-visit your website and think of ways to improve it.

It’s important to have an effective website in place that reflects who you are and what you do: potential donors and funders will look at your website, visitors will look at it to get an idea of whether they’d like to visit, and for practical things like opening times, parking etc.., donations can be encouraged through your website, and it gives you an instant way to keep in touch with your audience – near and far.

Tip: a very simple way of making it easier for private donors or individuals to give money to your cause is to have a ‘donate’ option on your homepage. You’d be surprised by the number of people that would use it.

Catalyst Trainings: Branding and Marketing & PR and Media

When: 9-10 May , 9.30am – 13.00pm

Where: SAPC

If you’re serious about Branding, Marketing, PR and Media, join us on the 9th and 10th of May 2017 for a chance to learn how to use these tools for the fundraising benefit of your museum. For more information please contact Clare, Programme Manager, or Yiota, Programme Coordinator, on: 01209 500750, or yiota@cornwallmuseumspartnership. To book a place directly on our website, please visit: https://www.cornwallmuseumspartnership.org.uk/events/marketing-branding-dark-arts/ and https://www.cornwallmuseumspartnership.org.uk/events/digital-magic-websites-pr-social-media/


The creative case for diverse rural museums

Dr. Tehmina Goskar, Change Maker (Arts Council England supported),
Cornwall Museums Partnership & The Royal Institution of Cornwall

Rethinking diversity in a rural region conference, Wheal Martyn Museum, 13
January 2017.


On 13 January a conference of nearly 70 people took place in rural mid-Cornwall, in Clay Country. It explored and challenged ideas about diversity and museums, arts and culture in a rural region.

I constantly advocate that ‘the diversity debate’ is itself somewhat exclusive because it is dominated by narratives that originate in London and the big cities.

These discourses do not sit comfortably in rural regions like Cornwall.

The result is that cultural policy is skewed towards serving the needs of the majority of the population who live in major urban regions, usually also supported by major urban local authorities.

One of the opportunities presented to me as an ACE-supported Change Maker is to advocate more vocally about the opportunities for cultural organisations situated in rural areas to embrace diversity and take responsibility for understanding their communities and being more inclusive of diverse people.

Why are we here?
Who are we for?
Who’ll miss us if we’re gone?

My first public presentation as a Change Maker took place last Friday at the conference, called Rethinking Diversity in a Rural Region. I helped co-organise it with Cornwall Museums Partnership and hosts, Wheal Martyn Museum. The first part of the day was a series of presentations and case-studies, including Andrea Gilbert from Inclusion Cornwall and Becki Morris from the Disability Cooperative Network.

The inspiring and honest case-studies were on inclusive practice (phew—action rather than more reports!) at Penlee House in Penzance, Wheal Martyn near St Austell and Royal Cornwall Museum in Truro –interestingly these are all towns that the Government class as rural ‘hub towns’ that have a special function in providing amenity and services to a wider rural hinterland.

In the afternoon we facilitated discussion workshops on diversifying collections, inclusive practice and reaching new audiences. These workshops supported our klaxon for the day: to pledge one that you would change to be more inclusive of diverse people (action, action!).

My paper, ‘The creative case for diverse rural museums’, began by posing the three questions above.

Thinking firmly of my experience of working and using Cornish museums and comparing it with my big city experiences, and that of my colleagues, my primary aim was to convince the audience of three things:

• Diversity is a huge creative opportunity for rural museums
• Use the Government’s Rural Proofing strategy to strengthen cases for investment
• Step away from the reports, statistics and conference rooms and go out and be part of your community if you truly want to be inclusive and also be included

Read: The creative case for diverse rural museums.
View the presentation at the end of the page.


It’s easy to get carried away. The conference exceeded our expectations in terms of the range of delegates, where they came from, and that they also included museum users or potential museum users and partners, from the creative industries and community groups.

Apart from some dodgy acoustics and some criticism about the specific issue of how Cornish national minority status fits into the diversity debate here (discussed in June at a CMP event), the evaluation was overwhelmingly positive and also provided some really excellent suggestions for the future.

But what next?

I must now make sure I practice what I preach, and also continue the hard task of encouraging and supporting culture change in the organisations I work in and for.

So here is my practical ‘do one thing’ pledge. Test me in 6 months and then 1 year’s time:

I, Tehmina Goskar, Change Maker and Lead for the Royal Institution of Cornwall Bicentenary Programme 2018, will step away from my desk and map the mini-community on my own street to better understand where I live and how I fit in. I’m going to pretend I’m a museum.

Good governance – why does it matter?

Charity governance and fundraising have been in the spotlight recently, and not for good reasons.

The Charity Commission for England and Wales has published a report of its inquiry into a charity that supported hospices. Amongst its findings it found that there was poor governance, financial mismanagement, that the trustees hadn’t acted in the charity’s best interests, and that they failed to manage the risks or comply with their legal duties and responsibilities. The result was that a once healthy charity was no longer able to support its work in the community.

A further report from the Charity Commission goes on to cite that poor governance is often at the heart of the problems they tackle in their regulatory role, specifically a lack of strategic planning and oversight – which are often viewed by charities as ‘optional extras’.

To help combat this, a coalition of organisations, including the Charity Commission, ACEVO and the Small Charities Coalition have come together to consult on a new Charity Governance Code. As Rosie Chapman, Chair of the Charity Governance Steering Group says “The case for good governance of charities, led by committed and engaged trustees, with an understanding of their role, appropriate skills and an ability to lead has never been clearer”.

The draft code is based on 6 key principles and applies to any size of charity. These principles are built on a foundation that assumes trustees are committed to their charity’s goals, understand their roles and responsibilities, and aim to meet standards of best practice in governance. The code looks like this:

Code Diagram

Good Governance Code Diagram as cited by http://www.governancecode.org

Taken from http://www.governancecode.org

So why does any of this actually matter – how does this help me and my charity?

A well-governed organisation will find it easier to comply with the law and meet its aims. Using the code will help you develop good governance, whether you are starting from scratch or reviewing where you already are.

The Code’s principles and good practice tips are aimed to help board members:

  • Recognise and meet legal requirements
  • Know how well the organisation is meeting its aims
  • Make good, timely decisions
  • Explain where, why and how money has been spent
  • Provide strong leadership
  • Treat people fairly and equally

Using the Code will also help you demonstrate to funders and supporters that you take good governance seriously.

Serious about Good Governance? Cornwall Museums Partnership is delivering the first of a number of workshops aimed at improving governance on the 8th February at Cornwall’s Regimental Museum.

These full day workshop can be booked online here.

Museums to tell stories of local science heroes

From Orkney to Cornwall, communities across the UK are celebrating the scientific heroes on their doorsteps with the help of the Royal Society’s Local Heroes scheme.

Lawrence House Museum has secured funding for a project From Bodmin Moor to Neptune that explore the legacy of John Couch Adams, a local hero who co-discovered the existence of Neptune through calculations made whilst studying the moons around Uranus. The scientist was also known for his interest in the mountains on the moon, comparing them to the hills of Bodmin Moor.

Lawrence House Museum will introduce the life and achievements, of this significant local scientist to a new generation in Launceston. Creative activities will give the young people an opportunity to enjoy the story aspect of our science hero, as well as to consider the importance and impact of his discoveries, interests and methods. Further research into his life will be undertaken by local scientist, educator and Adams expert Malcolm Wright for a monograph. Led by Dr Joanna Mayes the project aims to engage local communities with science through creative activities, and to understand and enjoy their local heritage.

15 museums and galleries from all over the country have been selected to take part in the Royal Society grant scheme which provides funding of up to £3,000 for exhibitions and events which reveal local stories of scientific brilliance.

The projects receiving funding from the Royal Society Local Heroes scheme unearth the stories of scientists from across the ages – from pioneers of the industrial age, to intrepid Victorian dinosaur hunters and the discoverers of Polythene- an invention that changed the world.

Professor Jonathan Ashmore FMedSci FRS, a neuroscientist at UCL and chair of the Local Heroes judging panel which selected the projects said:

“The Royal Society Local Heroes scheme is a fantastic nation-wide celebration of past and present scientists and their influential achievements right across the UK. The UK has a rich and diverse history of science which provides important routes for modern day society to deepen its understanding of the modern world. Science drives local and international economies and is an important ingredient in our history, identity and cultural heritage, which is why it’s so important for it to be recognised through schemes such as Local Heroes. The scheme will unite and encourage local communities to run creative workshops demonstrating local scientific triumphs, and will attract audiences to engage with the life and work of scientists in their area.”