Photo: Ocean Images (Mike Newman)
Cornwall has confirmed it will bid to become European Capital of Culture for 2023.
In a very exciting piece of news for the extensive cultural industries of Cornwall, Julian German spoke with excitement to CS today as the council cabinet have now approved the plans after the government confirmed the bid process would continue despite Brexit.
The council has to submit a formal bid by October 2017. The bid will cost approx half a million pounds and will come out of existing Culture department budgets. The plan will be included in the next 4 year spending round so will not be affected by the change of administration after the council elections in May.
The wider benefits to Cornwall’s economy is the main reason for the bid. Studies show that for every pound invested in culture the returns can be as much as twenty-fold. Hull will take over as European Capital of Culture next year.
The rules around applying have been changed since a previous Cornish bid to become a ‘region’ of culture was turned down. Truro will be the named city in this attempt but the bid is allowed to include a wider catchment area around the city now and for us this can include the whole of Cornwall.
“It’s important that the entire Duchy will benefit” Culture Portfolio Holder on the Council Julian German told CS today “They’ll be events and benefits from Mousehole to Menheniot”. Hull has the honour in 2017 and will benefit from a £32 million boost to it’s culuture budget next year alone and will host The Turner Prize amongst other events.
“The Man Engine was the highlight of the year for many in Cornwall. Most towns it visited had their busiest day of the year. 134,000 people saw it in the flesh and the project received 200 million hits on social media” Mr German told us. “It was Art & Cornish culture at the heart of regeneration”
Leeds, Dundee and Milton Keynes have all announced already that they will also be bidding for 2023 and other cities are likely to follow although Cornwall should be allowed a free run from the ‘south west’ Arts Council region.
Britain was selected to host the cultural initiative in 2023 prior to the vote to leave the European Union in June.
However, culture secretary Karen Bradley has indicated the Department for Culture, Media and Sport will continue under the assumption that the UK will be hosting the event.
“The United Kingdom is leaving the European Union, but we are not leaving Europe. We want that relationship to reflect the kind of mature, co-operative relationship that close friends and allies enjoy.”
“In the next few years our Cornish Culuture will be at the heart of our plans for economic growth for Cornwall” Mr German said “We’ll have in effect a National Library of Cornwall at the Kresenn Kernow and with the redevelopment at the Hall for Cornwall we’ll have our own National Theatre”. Other plans leading up to 2023 include a plan to double the amount of Cornish Language speakers and in 2020 a very large scale production of The Cornish Ordinalia will be performed to celebrate the return to Cornwall (albeit temporarily) of the original fifteenth century plays written entirely in Cornish. The World Heritage Mining landscape and the re-vamped Tate Gallery at St Ives will also play a major part in the bid – the gallery will re-open the old bit in the spring and the new part of the gallery will open in the Autumn next year.