Creative Kernow


Double your Donation and make an impact!

Image of a crowd of people of varying ages walking across a beach on a sunny day in Cornwall. They are holding colourful flags.
Image Credit: Steve Tanner

This month we are taking part in the Big Give’s Arts for Impact Campaign in support of our work in and with Creative Communities.

In Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly, economic and social disadvantage continue to hold back communities from reaching their potential, often having a detrimental effect on community mental health. While the creative industries remain a source of economic growth across the region, accessibility remains a significant barrier for many residents who wish to participate. 

That’s where we come in …for 40 years, Creative Kernow has contributed towards positive social and economic change on both a regional and national scale. Our programmes and projects enable engagement in free or accessibly priced arts activities, reaching people from across Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly. Participation in the arts is scientifically proven to improve health, confidence and community cohesion. Our approach – co-creating culture with communities – builds strong foundations for positive change including vital employment skills and collaborative networks.

Over the next twelve months we will:

support rural village halls to programme professional performances and films for up to 9000 local people;

enable 850 children and young people to co-create their own creative projects with local artists;

support 60 local festivals with grants and training opportunities;

support 80 community arts projects with grants reaching thousands of people across Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly.

Now here’s the exciting part … you can help to continue these activities into this summer and beyond! From 12 noon 19th March to 12 noon 26th March, any donations made through the Big Give will be doubled (yes DOUBLED!). 

How you can help

Donate online here, via the Big Give to get your donation doubled from 19-26 March

Share our social media posts

Tell your family and friends

The more people who know about us, the more likely we will reach our target!

We hope you will join us in supporting creative communities across Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly!

Click on the button to donate from 12 noon 19th-26 March. Please note that donations received by any other means will not be doubled.

A blog by Creative Kernow CEO Dr Fiona Wotton


Considering ’emergence’ as a value

Values are the backbone of any organisation. Recent Creative Kernow developments have chimed strongly with our own set of values, from the Krowji studio replacement project (which is excitingly underway!) to the opportunities we’ve created for many of CK’s collaborators and partners in Redruth to come together to develop a brand-new visual arts festival.

I wanted to use this opportunity to do a deep dive into one value in particular – emergence.

Often, emergence is the most difficult of our CK values to explain. And yet it is probably the closest to summing up our ethos, approach, and how we model the essential elements of a burgeoning cultural and creative ecosystem through our many dynamic parts, which we then use to support the conditions in which the creative arts and industries can thrive.

Generally speaking, emergence is – as the name suggests – the process of something emerging (picture the green springtime shoots peeking through the winter soil). In our work we aim to develop emerging creative talent and enterprise, recent graduates or creatives who are pivoting in their careers.

More scientifically, emergence is a property of complex systems when parts of a system do something together that they would not do alone. This appears in the extraordinary pattern of the starling murmuration, to take another example from nature. Each bird follows basic group rules – follow the one in front, stay close to the one next to you. Each bird also responds to the environment, predators or weather patterns. Looking at each starling’s flight path, we could not predict the emergent pattern that results when the collective takes flight. But far from a chaotic result, beautiful patterns emerge out of the throng of birds swooping in the sky.

Emergence may also be collective behaviours which are less visible. Consciousness is said to be an emergent outcome of complex neural activity that happens as we respond to our individual experiences of the world. While community can be seen as a product of the dynamic interactions both between individuals who share interests or a common geography, and the group and its environment.

When our team started to plan Flamm, all the plate-spinning you’d expect to come with delivering a professional festival were handled: planning the number of events, commissioning artists, booking venues, audience communication. For our funding proposal to the CIOS Good Growth programme, the team also worked hard to predict the footfall into Redruth town centre, the number of new events taking place and how many people would learn new skills. What was harder to predict with precision was how different participants at different times could have overlapped and met during the weekend to generate new productive conversations. Or the sense of pride developing from town residents seeing Redruth differently, or the joy that emanated from people joining together to hear new music, dance or read together.

Many of these outcomes are just the tiny green shoots emerging. We may not know the extent to which they become new self-governing systems for months – or even years to come.

Why should Creative Kernow value emergence? We wish to value an attitude that is trusting and open towards the novel and unpredictable.  Knowing that ‘blink and you miss it’ moments like a collaborative conversation are vital for the survival of creativity and culture as we know it now, and that we’re prepared to embrace what we might not yet be able to imagine.

As we look ahead to our organisation’s 40th anniversary celebration next year, I feel proud that Creative Kernow continues to build our strengths in nurturing the small scale. We create the conditions for the individual artist, venue, creative business, and community to grow whilst always looking for opportunities to connect, to nudge people together and challenge networks, collaborations and movements. By appreciating and paying attention to the emergent structures which arise from within our sectors, we’re confident of being open to the future and deepening the value we deliver for our region.


Reflections on Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion

When trying to embed a new habit, research suggests that preparation is key to success. Just as the professional chef wouldn’t dream of starting service without considering their mis en place – the physical set-up by which the relevant utensils and ingredients are gathered together or put in place, the reluctant new runner can get into a healthy habit by laying out their trainers and running kit the night before, thus avoiding a ‘hunt for a missing sock’ being an excuse not to get going.

One of the new habits I set out to bring to my leadership at Creative Kernow was to empower all staff to think about – and act to create – greater equity and inclusion within our organisation and in the work that we do with the creative sector. It is a huge area for learning and exploration, made more complex by being in perpetual motion. Even in the last three years, significant shifts have occurred in how diversity and inclusion issues are being raised by underrepresented groups, how the government and media are responding to these changes, and how funders are translating these needs into greater demands to demonstrate our relevance to and engagement with diverse audiences. This is why we need to have a habit of updating our connections, knowledge and skills. It’s not a static topic.

My Creative Kernow colleagues will know that I’m a big fan of metaphors and analogies and so I’ve been questioning whether there’s a way to use the analogy of mis en place to help embed this new habit. What are the tools and resources we need to gather together in advance? And how do we lay them out to make sure we remember to use them?

These are my top three utensils:

A safe place to ask questions and make suggestions

Creative Kernow has an internal staff Equity, Diversity and Inclusion taskforce which identifies needs in the organisation and the sector, finds inspiration from global best practice and comes up with solutions that fit our abilities and capacities. The group has been particularly active in identifying training needs and proposing sessions that have benefited their colleagues and other creative professionals working in Cornwall.

Expert training

Three recent sessions proposed by the EDI taskforce and funded through the Cultivator programme have included workshops on unconscious bias with Sonya Barlow, trans awareness basics with Gendered Intelligence, and working with neurodivergence presented by Neuk.

Feedback highlighted that one of the most empowering parts of these sessions, facilitated gently but firmly by expert trainers with lived experience of racism, transphobia, ableism and general ignorance, was being able to ask “silly” questions – ones that make us feel ashamed of our own ignorance but which will improve our shared understanding and lead to improvements for marginalised groups.

Time for reflection

We can always plan, deliver, and feel that we’re making progress towards agreed goals. But if we can’t remember what we’ve learned, and we haven’t applied it to our own context, then we’re going nowhere.  Therefore, it’s been a joy-filled experience over the last few weeks to hear how our different teams are applying the knowledge they have acquired through both training and on the job experience to their day-to-day work and their forward planning.

For many it is the confidence to challenge out of date views and language.  Others have been thinking about our user journeys and how individuals and groups with different needs access information or event spaces.

For me, squeezing out one of these semi-regular blogs allows me to reflect on our journey towards embedding a regular equity, diversity and inclusion conversation within the organisation, and being open and honest about this still being a new and challenging area for us, but an exciting and dynamic one nonetheless.


The GLAM effect

Last weekend, I bundled my husband and two sleepy pre-teens into the car and travelled up to St Austell to catch a performance of GLAM by Etta Ermini Dance Company and Van Huynh Company.  After a frantic drive up the A30 dodging the Royal Cornwall Show traffic and a hilarious running circuit of White River Place’s Wilko in search of the exit, we emerged into the sunshine ready to party.  The disco tunes were playing, a crowd was gathering, and anticipation was building.

The London based dance theatre collaboration were touring in Cornwall with Carn to Cove. Commissioned to perform in St Austell as part of the Tresorys Kernow project (which is funded by the Community Renewal Fund), their production GLAM incorporates bold choreography, a sparkling wardrobe, astonishing acrobatics (all impressively performed in platform heels of course), brilliant audience interaction, and a feel-good soundtrack.

The show ties together its inspirations of club culture and the journey of the LGBTQ+ community, and celebrates the power of bringing people together through dance and music. Colourful and full of energy, the performers had everyone in the audience dancing and moving.  They got particular bonus points for deftly sidestepping a tiny boy who launched himself forward onto the stage, intent on collecting fallen neon plume from a feather boa, and also for persuading some reluctant PCSOs to bust out some moves.

The company were joined by students from Cornwall College drama programme, who I later found out had only learnt their routine the day before. Their enjoyment and exuberance were infectious, and they raised a huge cheer from the crowd when they took a well-deserved “curtain call” with the main cast.  We left White River Place humming tunes and wondering out loud whether the company could teach us how to dance in heels.


Every once in a while at Creative Kernow, a piece of feedback reaches us which just makes everything worthwhile. We are lucky to have a great ongoing dialogue with the communities we work with, but it’s true that we usually hear about things that aren’t working so well much faster and more frequently than those that are.

The feedback that reached Creative Kernow this week came from our St Austell pollinator. Pollinators are volunteers who connect their communities with all the cultural and creative opportunities on offer in Cornwall and they’ve been working with the Tresorys Kernow partners to commission activity to meet a particular local demand.  This is what the pollinator shared concerning the performance of GLAM in St Austell on June 11th (edited with her permission):

All the students in the performance are part of the LGBTQ+ community at the college and were thrilled to spend time with professionals from the same community. One of the students said it had been the best day of their life so far and they would never forget it.

There was an unexpected outcome which came from a conversation I had with three young people who recently moved to St Austell. They told me they were lonely and excluded since their move and were desperate to find a new family to join; I took them over to meet the college students who welcomed them immediately into their fold.

Honestly, the look on the faces of the three newcomers was beautiful – they’d come to see GLAM in the hope of finding new friends and that is exactly what happened! Tresorys Kernow did that.

Once you set out to help rebuild the high street in a post-Covid era, as our Tresorys Kernow project has sought to do, it has to be for everyone.  Creating a safe space where people can meet and be themselves is absolutely vital. Feather boas and glitter are optional, kindness and tolerance work equally well.  But culture and creativity have this intrinsic power to bring people together for life changing moments. Whether it was the colourful performance, the smiling audience, the burgeoning confidence of young people taking part, or the crucial, positive human connections made afterwards, this show has changed lives and we are proud to have played a role in making it happen.

Huge thanks to all involved in championing this piece of dance theatre for St Austell and to the performers who gave us 100% fabulousness.

We respect the integrity of marginalised communities to make their own decisions about how to tell their stories. And we want to hear them be told.

We stand in allyship with our partners and collaborators against homophobia and transphobia. Creative Kernow and Cornwall Museums Partnership are committed to inclusive and open-minded cultural provision in Cornwall, reflecting the diversity of people who live, work, and visit here.




It has been an exceptionally busy May!

In the space of a few weeks, Creative Kernow has submitted applications for almost all our public funding, some for this financial year and some extending as far as 2026. The uncertainty around how to sustain our programmes was counteracted by the strong ideas, collaborative spirit, and sheer stamina demonstrated by colleagues who pulled together the necessary information to present a compelling case. We know that many other cultural and creative organisations in Cornwall have been through the same challenges and we salute you all for your hard work.

In the background (but not overlooked) has been the first anniversary of the fire which destroyed Krowji’s North Light Block. Whilst bringing back painful memories, the anniversary has also been an opportunity to reflect on how far we have come in terms of recovery and how much our community has achieved despite the disruption and trauma. Demolition of the damaged building was recently completed, leaving us with a large open space where the old grammar school playground used to be. This has now been given the name splatt, a Cornish word meaning plot of land. We are beginning tentative plans for ways of using the space. This summer we will be in discussion with Krowji’s tenants and other creative networks about ideas for replacement studios. Before that, we are encouraging playful use of the space, from somewhere to enjoy the sunshine during Open Studios Cornwall to lunchtime games of badminton.

The Creative Kernow team enjoying a game of badminton on the splatt

During the recent intensity of bid writing I was reminded by a friend that joy can be a protective factor against stress and burnout. I hope that we can use our splatt to promote joy through play and creativity, channelling all the good practice, experience and passion of the Creative Kernow programmes you are about to read about.



A look back at the highlights…

Tradition dictates that this is the season to feel fat and thankful while looking back over a year of achievements and golden memories.  Over the course of the last 12 months my expectations of success have had to shift to accommodate some very challenging circumstances – namely learning how to run our treasured but complex organization during a pandemic and following the devastating Krowji fire in May. Subsequently success has come to look more like survival, and this is what I feel most proud of. We have managed to keep relatively sane, healthy, and turn up to our desks in the office or at home as we keep going with all the diverse activity that forms our day-to-day work.

To reflect now on what has not just been an exercise of survival but one of our busiest years containing huge achievements is truly remarkable.  The whole Creative Kernow team has embraced new opportunities and partnerships and, with the support of our Trustees, non-executive directors and funders, has produced some glowing highlights:

Krowji Christmas Open Studios which welcomed over a thousand visitors last month returned much needed joy and light to our creative community and allowed us to finally show off the extension to the Percy Williams building which opened last year in the middle of national lockdown.

Our collaborative approach to managing the G7 cultural programme landed some vital messages about Cornwall’s creative strengths and ongoing challenges with government through the Behind the Postcard film and Shout Louder campaign.

We began developing a new partnership with Cornwall Museums’ Partnership and securing funding which will help us to test out new culture-led and sustainable approaches to town centre renewal (we look forward to telling you more about this early in the new year).

Working with producer and curator Cathy Mager as our Clore Fellow has opened up so many avenues for artistic exploration and community engagement as well as bringing new understanding of how we can use the experiences of disabled people in designing and delivery our work.

Huge thanks to everyone who has helped us through this challenging year and I look forward to connecting with you in 2022.  With all best wishes for a very Happy Christmas!



The complexity of sustainability

Sustainable September was Creative Kernow’s month-long exploration of sustainability in all its forms, and a chance to take stock on how we as an organization are progressing against our goals.  I’m really proud of the depth and breadth of activity our programmes embark upon in the name of sustainability as it demonstrates how we are using our position, at the intersection of so many creative networks, to influence debates, showcase best practice and change behaviour. For example, FEAST’s Shout LOUDER campaign is sending Cornwall’s creative response to the climate emergency all the way to the Glasgow COP26 this November. Screen Cornwall has committed to ensuring all screen productions they commission are equipped with a high Albert sustainability accreditation. Cultivator was a partner of GoodFest 2021 festival this month. And C Fylm’s The Big Green Week film festival allowed audiences throughout Cornwall to watch powerful and provocative documentaries about the climate crisis. Alongside this, our organisation is doing lots of internal work on our environmental footprint as we work towards our vision to be net carbon-zero by 2030.

Screening of Ian McCarthy’s Wild Cornwall – Out on the Edge at the Old Bakery Studios in Truro, along with Q&A with the director as part of C Fylm’s The Great Big Green Week film festival

For many years, my life choices have been dominated by one resounding question: “How sustainable is it?” It is a complex question because sustainability is anything but simple.  Is it better, for example, to support our local village shop because it sustains much-needed jobs for people in my remote community, or to travel further for products with better eco credentials?  More recently, sustainability has been closely aligned with survival as I contemplate the wellbeing of my family. In the context of a virulent virus, layers of plastic packaging provide protection but represent a massive step backwards in the battle against waste and pollution.  Professionally, I have tried to influence debates and strategy discussions about sustainable tourism in Cornwall and have felt both frustration and empathy that the economic impact of changing the system continually outplays the need for environmental action.

Even the very simplest models of sustainability reveal potential for conflict and competition.  The ‘three pillars model’ – environment, society and economy – assists in the conception of the whole problem but it can also magnetise groups towards one pillar at the expense of their understanding of the other two, as well as everything which might fall between the pillars.  It is the complexity of the problem that has often paralysed our collective actions and led us from a state of danger into one of emergency. And whilst the power of technology may well be the solution that leads us to safety, what we truly need is a powerful human response.

I believe that the often overlooked social aspect of sustainability holds the key to progress and is the area to which culture and creativity have much to contribute. Change will only come when we all engage in the process, and sustainable community actions are vital building blocks. Culture and creativity provide us with a reason to get together, different ways of looking at the problem, and powerful liminal moments that spur us towards understanding and action.  Our sector is also well placed – though still with much to do – to ensure that we remove barriers to enable everyone to take part.  We need to keep reflecting on who is at the table and who is missing in these conversations and use our armoury of tools, creative talent, technology, physical spaces, networks, music, language and colour, to draw everyone in.

As we look to our global leaders attending COP26 in Glasgow in November and urge them towards more stretching targets for reducing carbon emissions and global warming, it is natural to feel helpless and disempowered.  We know from our work in communities of place and practice across Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly that small actions do make a difference.  As anthropologist Margaret Mead, someone who knew a lot about small group dynamics, advised, “Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed, citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has.”




In the wake of the fire


Photo credit: Kirsten Prisk 2015

May 16th should have been a day of optimism – the eve of re-opening and summer was coming. Early that Sunday morning I was jolted awake by a mobile call, tears and rain blurring a panicked drive to Krowji and finding the car park full of fire appliances, dozens of firefighters and smoke in the air. Colleagues joined me, briefings were given, and we toured the site with the fire service. The first thing they showed us was the Creative Kernow offices – untouched by the fire but water had poured through the ceiling, piling debris onto our desks, computers, files and equipment.

And then we looked at the North Light Building. Still smouldering under a constant arc of water, it was hard to recognise any of the colourful, creative spaces that had previously been there and which were now consumed by the flames. It is a painful memory to revisit and I can only imagine the sadness which the artists who have lost their studios feel looking at the shell which now remains.

So instead of being a day of hope, May 16th was a day of loss. More painful loss piled on a viral mountain of frustration and missed opportunities for everyone in the creative and cultural sector. I’ve written in previous blogs about being optimistic in the face of the challenges which Covid brought along, but the additional anxiety, extra work and logistical challenges in the wake of the fire have been sorely testing.

Through this awful experience, we have felt very loved. I want to say a humble and very personal thank you to everyone who has reached out to us. We were overwhelmed by the offers of support, donations of cash and equipment and messages of hope and of sympathy. It has taken some time to respond to everyone personally and to keep up with communicating with our wider stakeholders and audiences. We thank you for your patience and hold this love and compassion close to us as we navigate the challenges ahead. I also want to thank all the staff who have adapted to yet another obstacle with grace, patience and good humour and particularly the Krowji team who are managing this crisis alongside day-to-day site business and who have put their own distress to one side to offer support to members of the Krowji community on countless occasions.

Thanks to public support from the two Just Giving campaigns and some big donations from Cornwall Community Foundation and Real Ideas, we have been able to distribute £50,000 in donations directly to the artists. This has helped with emergency costs and provided a contribution towards replacing lost equipment and materials. We are also connecting the artists to advice and financial support from our Cultivator Creative Business Development programme.

If you haven’t already, please consider supporting and sharing our Krowji Recovery Campaign. We are continuing to raise funds for the artists who lost their studios to support them in recovering their practice and business at this difficult time. The campaign will also support the wider Krowji community and site as we look to recreate the spaces we have lost. Neither Krowji nor Creative Kernow (which owns the site) have any excess funds. Krowji had a difficult year delivering a capital project (Krowji Phase 2) with major staffing changes during a global pandemic which has left us in deficit and Creative Kernow’s income streams were also affected by the Covid restrictions. We do have comprehensive insurance but that doesn’t cover the artists’ contents and we have a lot of extra work to do to ensure the highest safety standards going forward.

I will hope to have more news about how we are progressing as well as reflections on our wider Creative Kernow programmes in the next blog post.



Making space for International Women’s Day


International Women’s Day always feels like a mixed blessing. It is truly a great opportunity to celebrate the strengths and talents of women all over the world and demonstrate how far we have come in the battle for equality. But the need for a day which brings this to global attention is a stark reminder that gender inequality is still an everyday reality for millions of women.

As a new Chief Executive leading a predominantly female organisation, this year I’m using March 8th as a moment to reflect on all the opportunity I’ve experienced in my life which have helped equip me to take on this role. As the old adage goes, ‘you can’t be what you can’t see’. and throughout my childhood, education and career I’ve been surrounded, lifted up, and given space by some phenomenal women leaders.  And I’m lucky to be working alongside inspirational female leaders in Cornwall from wide ranging organisations, including those who are freelancers and community activists.

Sadly, for all the progress we can see in terms of women cracking glass ceilings, making the senior appointments lists and creating positive change, inequalities in opportunity and employment persist and are widely reported in the cultural and creative sectors. Recent research has highlighted the under-representation of women in UK theatre and the award ceremony season is once again overshadowed by lack of progress towards inclusion in the film industry. Just 16% of working film-makers are female, and only 14% of prime-time TV is written by women. These inequalities are further complicated by divisions of age, class, disability, ethnicity, and now by Covid-19.  And if you are a woman working in the creative sector in Cornwall you will have added challenges to navigate with low wages, fewer and more precarious opportunities plus a lack of affordable housing and transport.

As a sector we need to be more attuned to the broader debates about inclusion and the barriers which prevent groups and individuals from feeling welcome, supported, and listened to. Last week we were pleased to welcome Marcus Alleyne and Beresford Lee from Black Voices Cornwall to our Creative Kernow team meeting.  Formed in August last year, BVC exists to be a voice for all ethnicities in Cornwall, to campaign for change and drive to bring about an actively anti-racist region. Our session covered practical tools and advice to help us work towards new and stretching goals, as well as reflections on what it is like to be a black person living in a majority white area of the UK. Hearing Beresford repeat the kind of abuse that he has heard directed towards him in Cornwall was a very powerful experience.  Statistics about inequality and racism can only tell us part of the story and it reinforced in my mind the kind of organisation that Creative Kernow needs to be and the role that we can play in opening the space for new voices to be heard and questions to be asked and answered.  We agreed with BVC that, as well as more immediate activity, we would like to invite them back in 12 months’ time to see how our organisation is engaging in being actively anti-racist, with action research and the strengthening of feedback loops being key elements.

Our spring newsletter is full of brilliant examples of women doing courageous work in our uncertain times as part of the Creative Kernow team or through support from one of our core programmes.  My pledge is that by this time next year we will have made space for the achievements of creatives from an even more diverse talent pool – demonstrating that a small amount of reflection can lead to positive action.



New beginnings, and looking to the future

Creative Kernow’s new Chief Executive Fiona Wotton reflects on her first few weeks in the role

It is a bit of an understatement to say that it has been a busy first month. Any hopes of a gentle induction period or following the established rule that the first 100 days as a new leader are all about listening were thrown out of the window with the announcement of a second lockdown. Rather than inviting colleagues to tea, cake and a good chat about their work, one of my first tasks was updating our risk assessment and checking everyone had what they needed to carry on working from home and meeting remotely.

There was no time to dwell in that moment of disappointment however. It is hard not to stay optimistic when surrounded by people within the organization and working closely with us who thrive on challenge and keep adapting their ways of working to respond to the ever shifting sands of the pandemic situation. This agility and positive attitude will stand us in good stead when we tackle the other great challenges of our time – Brexit, the worst recession for 300 years forecasted and our climate emergency.  My Christmas message is therefore one of hope, exemplified by these ‘Top 3 reasons to be cheerful’:

We make a difference

Our charity supports the creation, distribution and promotion of the arts and creativity in Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly.  We measure our impact in lots of varied ways but the difference we make is sometimes best expressed through a good story. The FEAST programme has given out over 25% more grants than usual to ensure that creative nourishment was available to all communities at this time of potential isolation and compromised mental health. My two personal favourites are Physical Postcards in which letters from the community are choreographed and performed as dance messages.  The project has been so successful it has now received funding from the National Lottery Community Fund to roll the project out across Cornwall. And the Make a Cup project devised by ceramicist Jacqueline Clark saw the distribution of bags of clay and instructions to over 100 people in Devoran, with participants ranging in age from 18 months to 89 years! These projects brought people together, gave them confidence and focus, helped them develop new skills and perhaps most importantly made them feel happy.

We have also been able to help over 450 creative businesses navigate the unsettling economic situation with tailored business coaching, networking and skills development events and investment grants through the Cultivator programme which is funded by the European Development Fund, European Social Fund, Cornwall Council and Arts Council. Our Baseline survey, created in partnership with Cornwall Council and the CIOS LEP, has documented the impact of the Covid pandemic on creative businesses in Cornwall and has been used to lobby support from government and to develop links with other creative hubs in the South West.

We make space for creativity


My tour of the Krowji on and off-site spaces was one of great contrasts.  The new extension to the Percy Williams Building opened this month and has created an additional 21 studios for creative businesses.  These bright, airy, blank canvasses are already filling up with new tenants who swell our Krowji community with their talent and connections.


Alongside this, Bill’s Attic brims with colour, curiosity and intrigue. Filled with the entire contents of  WildWorks’ artistic director Bill Mitchell’s attic workspace, the space invites artists to work with this treasure trove of objects.  Several residencies have taken place and the team are exploring how the space could also be used for meetings and away days by local businesses.


And finally, down the road in Redruth we also have the Yard to provide spaces for artists who can’t be accommodated at Krowji because they are “too noisy and messy” – including those who work with stone and metal.  This small off-shoot community is looked after by the Krowji team and more spaces are being developed to meet demand.






We feel supported

We are fortunate to be in a relatively secure position for a charity, receiving core funding from Arts Council and Cornwall Council. We have ambitious plans for the future and will need to find new ways to fund our activity in an increasingly competitive and uncertain funding landscape.  The lifting of Lockdown 2.0 at the beginning of December allowed for some meetings with key funders and to begin planning for the future.

Another important landmark is the publication of Cornwall Council’s Creative Manifesto which makes public the importance our local authority places on culture and the creative industries. This kind of public statement of intent and support is envied by regions around the UK and will be an important lever for investment from central government. We are pleased that Creative Kernow’s work is referenced throughout and we are looking forward to working on the detail of delivery in partnership with the Economic Development team and other key cultural organisations.


Visit from Cornwall Council Economic Development team

Our trustees and directors of our trading companies have also offered unwavering support and wisdom.  The Screen Cornwall board has been overseeing the development of bids for a targeted growth fund for the screen industries which will help develop talent within Cornwall and hope to attract large-scale productions which will provide work opportunities for the growing crew database.  It was great to join the team for their away day in November to hear about these plans.


Screen Cornwall away day

We have also felt the love from our communities through our recent fundraising initiatives.  Our Crowdfunder campaigns through the Creative Cornwall Calling platform brought in much needed donations to match a grant from the Arts Council Culture Recovery Fund. This has helped to keep Cornwall 365 What’s On’s Winter Guide and C Fylm’s community cinema sustained.  And through the ‘Big Give Christmas Campaign’, further funds have been secured to advance the work of Carn to Cove’s rural touring programme.  Thank you to everyone who supported us.  You have given us hope and brought light at a time of great uncertainty.

On behalf of everyone at Creative Kernow, I wish you all a very Happy Christmas and a much healthier and happier 2021.