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13.03.06
Cornwall should be shouting!

An ambitious bid to have Cornwall named Europe's first Region of Culture is to be launched.

Research has begun to find out exactly what people think of Cornwall and the results will form the basis of the bid. If successful, Cornwall could stand alongside Cities of Culture which have included Glasgow, Luxembourg and Cork, where the designation has proved to be a huge economic boost.

So far just under 300 people have expressed their views. Now it is hoped that the rest of Cornwall will have their say. Next month a series of workshops will be held with all sorts of groups, to explore the themes further. And in May the results will be placed at 15 favourite venues with everyone invited to comment, argue and put the record straight as they see it.

Miranda Bird, who commissioned the research for Cornwall Arts Marketing, said: "This is only the beginning! We really want to get people going with this – there won't be one answer but there most certainly will be a lot of controversy and argument - then everyone can join together to back our bid and stand by their reasons for supporting their region – Europe's First Region of Culture."

The research so far, which was carried out from December 2005 to February this year, involved mostly people living in Cornwall who were questioned at four different locations. Those who live here but were not 'born and bred' spoke often about having developed a strong sense of belonging because of the way they have been treated.

Others results so far include:

The person most respected or admired locally is Tim Smit, with media figures and those in the rescue and emergency services tying in a close second. At the other end of the scale politicians and councillors are in most disfavour.
Recent investment and development are cited as being the main reason for hope followed by the people - but the people were also the top choice for making respondents feel hopeless with their 'negativity and pessimism'. A sense of unity is mentioned as being most strongly engendered by community activities, with the Cornish identity and symbols in a close second.
The best thing about living in Cornwall is the scenery, landscape and environment and the worst things, in close succession, are the traffic and transport followed by the remoteness.
Asked which building should be saved from demolition, Truro Cathedral topped the poll very clearly but those questioned said bulldozers should be called in to a number of 'concrete' piles - housing shops, offices, Cornwall County Council and much of St Austell.
The opposite ends of the day are favourite times with the morning just ahead of sunset.
Young people and first time buyers inspired the greatest concern and those that respondents would most like to meet are each other – more local people!
Favourite activities are the beach and the outdoors.

For further information please contact Rachael Clayton of Ashley Public Relations on 01579 370991.

The Objective One Programme for Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly has invested in Cornwall Arts Marketing through the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF).

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Editor's notes:

The European Capital of Culture programme is a powerful mechanism for celebrating urban life and encouraging urban cultural development. However most of Europe's land-mass by far is rural, with much of it holding a diversity of cultural riches that affect the daily lives of millions of European citizens.

The challenges for delivering education, for engaging with young people, for enjoying sport and for creating a sense of belonging and community for all citizens in rural settings are very different from those in urban environments and the need for a unifying sense of culture is, if anything, more vital for the rural dweller.

Cornwall
Cornwall is a rural area with a population of just over 500,000 and with less than 25,000 living in its one city, Truro. In fact two thirds of the people of Cornwall live outside the towns. It is, therefore highly dispersed, with a coastline of 697 km and a small group of inhabited islands lying 35km offshore. The county has a low wage economy and as a whole, it receives support from Europe's Objective One Programme.

Cornwall's distinctive physical environment has shaped its culture and has influenced a strong sense of identity, place and community that touches all of its citizens in some way.

Research has been started to discover what are perceived to be the key components of Cornish culture. The findings will be used to encourage greater involvement by the broad population within the county and those from similar areas across Europe, in the further development, the enjoyment, the education, the economic power and the celebration of that culture.

Accreditation
The people of Cornwall are very generous, sharing as they do their beautiful county and its culture annually with over 5 million visitors. With the spotlight of European accreditation, this rich culture would be shared with other rural areas across the EU and dialogues would be established that would especially benefit Europe's rural population.

Cornwall will set out on this path of research, dissemination and celebration as Europe's First Region of Culture and as has already begun, it will involve similar areas elsewhere, in recent accession countries as well as those who have long enjoyed the benefits of belonging to the European Union.

Dynamic Case Study
This project will become a dynamic case study for the social and economic impacts of culture in rural settings. It will include long held traditions and developing innovations and it will be brought together, promoted and shared using grass roots techniques as well as up to the minute technologies.

It will also put in place a framework in which the planned European Year of Intercultural Dialogue, in 2008, can be more sure of involving citizens who are dispersed across rural areas but who, nevertheless have important contributions to make.

Key components
As well as those interpreted from the application requirements for the capital of culture to:

Highlight artistic movements and styles shared by Europeans which it has inspired or to which it has made a significant contribution;
Promote events involving people active in culture from other European areas and leading to lasting cultural cooperation;
Support and develop creative work;
Ensure the mobilisation and participation of as many citizens as possible and guarantee that this participation will continue after the event;
Encourage visits by citizens of the European Union and to reach as wide an audience as possible;
Promote dialogue between European cultures and those from other parts of the world;
Enhance the historic heritage, rural architecture and quality of life in the area

This project will also promote the value of a vibrant culture that is shared and developed across a rural population.

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Clare Morgan
Media Relations Manager
Objective One Partnership Office
Castle House
Pydar Street
Truro TR1 2UD
Mobile: 07973 813647
Telephone: 01872 223439

cmorgan@cornwall.gov.uk

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