Dec 16th 2019

Cultural Heritage Drives Environmental Sustainability


There are more than 70 museums in Cornwall of great variety and individuality, including; art galleries, castles, mines, historic properties, industrial heritage sites and tiny community museums. Many more collections are held in community archives. Cornwall’s diverse heritage organisations offer something unique and special, they provide fantastic services for their communities and achieve high standards.

Cornwall Museums Partnership and SW Museum Development recognise the excellence within these organisations and want to reward the wonderful work you do and share your achievements through our Cornwall Heritage Awards 2020.

In this guest blog, we hear a little from one of our award sponsors, Tevi…

Building on last year’s successful partnership, Tevi is delighted to be sponsoring the Environment and Circular Economy category at the forthcoming Cornwall Heritage Awards. This time around, enterprises that apply for the award will also benefit from additional support by way of an invitation to join an exclusive workshop in the spring, jointly led by Tevi and Cornwall Museums Partnership, aiming to foster business success by diversifying audiences through sustainability initiatives.

Connecting Cornwall to Sustainable Development Goals

Tevi continues to support cultural heritage and creative industry initiatives because they lie at the heart of both circular economy and environmental growth, the programme’s key drivers. A circular economy designs waste out of the economy, including thinking more carefully about how we use our resources for creative and cultural ventures. Environmental growth, on the other hand, is a concept enshrined in a long-term Cornwall Council strategy, committing the county to increased available natural habitat, including green spaces and forests as well as the species that live there, as it continues to develop its economy and infrastructure.

Heritage sites and creative ventures, which are so vital for Cornwall’s cultural, social and mental well-being, are a key indicator for the county’s status within global sustainable development initiatives. Enshrined within Sustainable Development Goal 11 – Sustainable Cities and Communities, heritage is seen as a driver and enabler of sustainability. In addition to the widely documented social and other non-monetized benefits, this relationship is particularly salient within the cultural sector’s contribution to the global economy and poverty alleviation, with cultural heritage, cultural and creative industries, sustainable cultural tourism and cultural infrastructure all providing means of generating income. The growth rate of the cultural and creative industries worldwide reflects potentially highly sustainable economic opportunities, in particular in emerging economic regions such as the Middle East (17.6%), Africa (13.9%) or South America (11.9%).

People, place and planet

Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly’s rich cultural heritage has been built from the ground up, a product of the 19th-century mining boom that featured over 400 active mines across the county. Today, the Cornwall and West Devon Mining Landscape World Heritage Site recognises this unique history on a local level. Cornwall’s mining heritage has also had a massive global impact, both socially, with over 6 million people around the world estimated to be descendants of Cornish miners, and in terms of infrastructure, with Cornish engine houses found as far away as Mexico and Australia.

Cornwall also has a particularly strong track record in the creative industries, where recent data show that the number of creative enterprises has grown by 41% to 1,400 since 2011. In this context, it is clear why Creative, Tourism, Mining, and Location are featured as four of the ten key sectors put forward by the Cornwall and Isles of Scilly Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP) with the potential to play a critical role in growing the county’s economy now and in the future.

Tevi’s contributions within the cultural heritage and creative sectors, therefore, have the potential to unlock progress towards the holy grail of sustainability; namely, to connect people, place and planet. Whether we are helping creative practitioners find by-products from other industries for use as novel and innovative materials, or supporting museums to reduce their waste or to increase their customer base by going plastic-free or simply by facilitating conversations between Cornwall’s rich patchwork of stakeholders, the Tevi team looks forward to continuing its successful relationship with Cornwall Museums Partnership.

Tevi is led by the University of Exeter in partnership with Cornwall Wildlife Trust, Cornwall Council and the Cornwall Development Company. One of the main aims of the programme is to deliver Cornwall Council’s Environmental Growth Strategy 2015-2065, which argues that the health of the county’s long-term economy relies on a thriving environment.

For more information, please email Manager Edvard Glücksman at e.glucksman@exeter.ac.uk

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