Cornwall’s cultural ambitions remain undimmed despite today’s [19th March] announcement that it has not made the final round of the City of Culture 2025 competition.
The Government has confirmed that Cornwall is not among the final four regions going forward to bid for the title, having made it onto a longlist of eight areas from an original list of 20 last year.
But Arts Minister Lord Parkinson of Whitley Bay praised the quality of Cornwall’s bid, saying: “Cornwall has a rich cultural heritage and a thriving and diverse arts scene, so it was brilliant to see it longlisted for UK City of Culture 2025. I’m hugely grateful for all the hard work that went into the process and I hope people across Cornwall will see the huge benefits of taking part in this extremely competitive process.”
And the Cornwall and Isles of Scilly Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP), which led the bid, said it would still be investing £1 million in developing Cornwall’s cultural and creative industries.
LEP Chief Executive Glenn Caplin-Grey said: “We’re disappointed of course but getting as far as we did is a huge vote of confidence in the quality and value of Cornwall’s cultural and creative sector, and the very act of bidding has allowed us to showcase some of the brilliant things that are happening in Cornwall and to plan for the future.
“What we’ve shown is that Cornwall is a UK powerhouse when it comes to creative industries and that the sector can be a real catalyst for economic growth. That’s why we are pressing ahead with our £1m investment programme, and we will be working closely with the sector to develop that.
“I’d just like to thank all our cultural and creative industries, local communities, businesses and all our MPs who rallied around our bid and played a vital role in getting as far as we did. There is a real opportunity to build on the work we have done and continue to use culture to celebrate all that makes Cornwall great, challenge perceptions and grow our economy.”
Cornwall’s bid had strong support from its members of Parliament. Commenting on the news, Truro and Falmouth MP Cherilyn Mackrory said: “This is disappointing news. Cornwall put forward such a strong bid. Bidding for the City of Culture title has shown to have a very positive impact, bringing together enduring partnerships to share a vision for an area and attract investment. I will continue to work with Cornwall Council and the team behind Cornwall’s bid to ensure Cornwall does everything it can to promote our arts, culture and heritage moving forward.”
The four places shortlisted for the City of Culture 2025 title are Bradford, County Durham, Southampton and Wrexham County Borough. The winner will be announced in May.