As Truro’s bid for EU Capital of Culture fuels debate around the value of culture to Cornwall and its economy, two organisations have come together to explain why investing further in culture is intrinsically important for Cornwall’s prosperity and wellbeing:
“Culture and the creative industries are highly significant to Cornwall. Our unrivalled cultural assets include over 200 festivals, over 70 museums, world class theatre, and leading contemporary art galleries.
Not only are culture and the creative industries central to Cornwall’s identity, they are also of great economic importance as a growing employment sector, generating some £2.73bn for the Cornish economy. The value of cultural tourism to Cornwall has been estimated at more than £180m.
Cornwall is recognised across the UK and internationally as a rural region with creativity at its heart. The power of culture helps us stand out internationally, it strengthens the Cornish brand and represents Cornwall and the UK throughout the world.
Our museums’ collections are integral to understanding Cornwall’s distinctive cultural heritage. The opportunities they provide for creative activities not only invoke a strong sense of place, but also promote shared experiences, strengthen the cultural bonds between people and improve our quality of life every day. Research has shown that 4 of the top 6 activities most conducive to human happiness and wellbeing are arts related (LSE, 2015) and 77% of adults take part in the arts at least once a year. (DCMS, December 2014)
It is the combination of the vibrant cultural offer and outstanding natural environment that gives Cornwall a unique creative edge and an international profile. Data from the Office for National Statistics recently revealed Cornwall as the place in England where people feel most content and satisfied with their lives; our cultural richness and strong sense of place contribute to this important wellbeing indicator.”
Recognising the significance and wealth of culture within Cornwall, the Wolfson Foundation has invested almost £1m in Cornish cultural and heritage projects since 2011. Chief Executive Paul Ramsbottom commented: “The Wolfson Foundation is a national charity perhaps best known for funding in the fields of science and health, and indeed our recent funding in Cornwall includes major support for the county’s palliative care. But we also recognise the vital importance of culture and so are delighted to have recently awarded funding of nearly £1 million across a range of museums and cultural centres in Cornwall: from Cotehele to Porthcurno, from Eden to Newyln Art Gallery and from Tate St Ives to the Royal Museum Cornwall. Heritage and culture have intrinsic importance, but are also crucially important to the economy of Cornwall – and to Cornish society’s identity and cohesion.”
CEO of Cornwall Museums Partnership, Emmie Kell, added: “Investment in culture brings significant social and economic benefits to Cornwall. Our distinctive heritage is one of our most under used assets which we believe has huge potential to support the increased prosperity and wellbeing of everyone in Cornwall. We are hugely grateful to the Wolfson Foundation for their continued investment in Cornwall’s museums and we urge local policy and decision makers to recognise the role of culture in creating a bright future for Cornwall.”