I was lucky enough, after moving to Cornwall nearly twenty years ago, to get a job at Creative Kernow as Media Development Coordinator for Cornwall & the Isles of Scilly with my post later moving into Cornwall Film.
I originally studied filmmaking at Bournemouth Film School, after which I worked in the independent film workshop sector in London, teaching video production to women, young people with learning disabilities and travellers. Having then run an arts and media organisation for the LGBT+ community in Brighton, I also gained an intimate knowledge of European funding. Over three years I raised over £250k to run community development projects and accredited training courses. This qualified me for the Creative Kernow job funded by Objective One. The media sector in Cornwall was identified as a triangle lying between Truro, Falmouth and Penzance and I spent a lot of time driving between them to put on networking and training events, and supporting the Cornwall Film Festival.
One project that was proposed, but sadly ahead of its time, was the establishment in Penzance of a creative media hub where small media and associated businesses could be housed under one roof, allowing them to share meeting rooms, network, swap ideas and work together to bid for larger projects. Two Penwith District Council Officers (yes, it was a while ago) drove me and a colleague to Liverpool to visit successful media hubs there and in nearby towns. We returned excited and highly enthused but unable to persuade the powers that be to provide the necessary investment.
How exciting then, that the Penzance Creative Cluster project has been given the go ahead just fifteen years later. I am, of course, not unaware that it’s design and siting has caused a ripple of disquiet. However, coupled with the launch of Cornwall Council’s Creative Manifesto reflecting their ambition to make Cornwall the leading rural creative economy, it feels as if the film and media sector is finally being given the support it needs to achieve this ambition with Penzance able to play a leading role. It’s a business model and sector I know and understand and one I believe Penzance Council should support, as it provides an opportunity for the development of creative, highly skilled, well paid jobs.