Cornwall Council has set up a new Culture Board to deliver high profile projects in the Duchy. I have been nominated to be an observer on this Board to scrutinise their work.
Cornwall is showing huge ambition in trying to promote our culture and arts to both local residents and to the wider world. This is not simply with the aim of attracting more tourists, but also to build up some of our biggest exporting industries.
Although Cornwall was not successful in winning the UK City of Culture status, we are also in line to bid to host the Manifesta event in 2014 and to be European Region of Culture in 2013. If we are to win these projects then we need a passionate and committed group to create the best possible bid and to prepare the ground for successful events. Such events cost some money to set up, but they bring huge amounts of funding to the successful bidder. When Liverpool became City of Culture in 2008, it kickstarted massive regeneration as well as drawing in huge numbers of cultural events and hundreds of thousands of extra visitors. There is a long term legacy involved as well and Liverpool will feel the benefit for years to come.
Other events will not bring the regeneration, but will still showcase our brilliant cultural sector and attract high profile arts providers to Cornwall.
The new board includes councillors and officers from Cornwall Council as well as representatives from funding bodies such as the Arts Council. If we are to be successful with our bids and our projects, we need these organisations on board as they have the experience - and they also have a say in deciding who wins!
As stated above, my position is not as a full member on the Board. As an observer on behalf of the scrutiny committee, my duties will be to keep a watching brief, to make suggestions and to report back to the wider council on progress. I also want to make sure that events encompass the whole of Cornwall wherever possible and are not simply concentrated in the West or on existing providers.