London's commuters find themselves
in Cornwall during Occupation Paddington
It takes a lot to distract London commuters intent on their
journey to work but that's what happened at Paddington
station this week.
What made them stop in their tracks was Occupation Paddington
a clever and innovative three-day exhibition, run from
2nd 4th April, held in the station's main concourse.
It forms part of a major rebranding project enticingly called
'Find Yourself in Cornwall', which has been developed
by Cornwall Arts Marketing (CAM) to promote Cornwall's
cultural distinctiveness to visitors.
CAM, which is supported by European funds from the Objective
One Programme for Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly works with
around 50 arts organisations, including theatres, galleries
and promoters, to help develop the visitor market for their
Commuters arriving at Paddington, either by train or on foot,
were surprised to find a beautifully restored 1950s VW camper
van parked in the middle of the concourse, surrounded by plasma
screens showing a stunning video montage of a dynamic and
creative Cornwall. Images of festivals, theatre performances
and art were intermingled with snapshots of Cornwall's
stunning coastline, fresh food, most famous landmarks and,
of course, surfers riding the waves.
Four huge, brightly coloured, sails - reflecting Cornwall's
nautical heritage - were hung from the concourse ceiling arches
above the van and further video images were projected onto
the walls and ceilings by platforms at the far end of the
CAM director, Richard Glover, explained: "We're
trying to show that Cornwall has a distinct lifestyle, as
well as a new energy and a hidden side that's worth exploring.
It's the Cornwall that those of us who are lucky enough
to live there all know and love, and we want to encourage
visitors to explore and enjoy it too.
"Paddington Station has a footfall of 500,000 passengers
every week many of them heading west already, so it
seemed like the ideal place to try and reach potential visitors."
The exhibition seems to have achieved its aims - wistful
travellers could be found gathered around the camper van throughout
each day, with many commenting on the contrast between their
current environment and those portrayed on the plasma screens.
Pankaj Raichura, a 28 year old sales manager from Reading,
said: "That camper van is amazing. If I had the choice
between commuting on the train from Reading to London everyday
or riding to work in the camper and stopping off at the end
of a busy day for a walk on a hidden beach or to hear some
great music on the way home, I know what I would rather do!
I've never been but I am definitely going now."
Molly Morris, a 61 year old volunteer for Age Concern from
Putney said: "I'm ashamed to say I have never been
to Cornwall in my life, but after seeing the brochure and
pictures here at Paddington today I'd really like to
go - and take my grandchildren too!"
Even those travellers from further afield were impressed
by what they saw. John Burke, 32, a Cinema Manager from Bridgend,
Wales commented: "I have been to Cornwall before and
love its traditional values and relaxed atmosphere. However,
the beauty of this campaign is that it shows the strong cultural
aspect of Cornwall - I'm more than happy to eat a pasty
and enjoy a cream tea with the best of them but there's
lots more to Cornwall and Occupation Paddington reinforces
CAM's full funding package of £6 million has been
met with an Objective One European Regional Development Fund
grant of just over £2.9 million, nearly half the costs,
with additional partner support from Cornwall County Council,
South West Arts and Cornwall Enterprise. The project will
run until December 2004.
Cornwall Arts Marketing Ltd is part of the Arts Centre Trust
(Charity No. 293238).
Further information about live events in Cornwall can be
obtained from www.artsroundcornwall.com
For further information please contact:
Cornwall Arts Marketing
Tel: 01872 274427
Objective One Partnership Office
Truro TR1 2UD
Tel: 01872 241379
Fax: 01872 241388
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