Creative and Cultural Leadership Development Programme (CCLDP)

About the programme

Cultivator Phase 2 are working with Golant Innovation and Mandy Berry to design, develop, deliver and evaluate a Creative and Cultural Leadership Development Programme (CCLDP) for Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly (C&IoS). The programme will be rooted in the needs and aspirations of C&IoS. The initiative is designed to increase the growth, productivity and resilience of the Creative Economy in the South West by bringing together industry and academia through Open Innovation and Knowledge Exchange. The CCLDP will deliver support to two cohorts of beneficiaries between September 2020 and June 2022. The programme will incorporate a range of activities to meet identified need; workshops, mentoring & coaching, peer-led activities and facilitated action-learning sets.

The programme will cover the following topics: 

  • What does leadership mean, different styles of leadership – including freelance and part-time teams.
  • Collaborative and partnership working including leading networks and across different sub-Innovation and creativity, experimentation, R&D, design thinking, understanding risk and learning from mistakes.
  • Entrepreneurship, setting up ventures, adaptability focused on revenue and funding.
  • Business models - mixed income streams, hybrid funding public and private, assets and resources and IP, different ways of creating value.
  • Digital leadership – understanding the implications of digital as opposed to being good at tech.
  • Governance, corporate and project structures – including working with your chair and board, decision-making and compliance.
  • Organisational structures and design – to enable effective leadership and management, accountability, and performance.
  • Leadership in uncertain times – vision setting, futures thinking, agility and adaptability, strategic planning for short-, medium- and long-term.
  • Advocacy and representing the sector and region – telling the story, setting the agenda and harnessing the opportunities.


Themes of resilience, inclusion and diversity, evidence-based decision-making and data-driven innovation, communications for effective leadership and environmental sustainability will be woven throughout the programme. 

Whether you see yourself as an entrepreneur, creative, cultural practitioner or other kind of innovator – this could be the next stage of your professional development. More information on the programme and applying.


As well as the Creative and Cultural Leadership Development Programme, The University of Plymouth is leading the following activities within the Cultivator project:

  • Knowledge Exchange Programme
  • Showcasing Scheme

Find out more about Cultivator.

Other opportunities supported by the University of Plymouth.

Meet the first cohort

Verity Anthony – Visitor Experience and Collections Manager, Bodmin Keep: Cornwall’s Army Museum

Visitor Experience and Collections Manager, Bodmin Keep: Cornwall’s Army Museum
www.bodminkeep.org
Twitter: @BodminKeep @VerityJEAnthony

Verity is Assistant Director (Collections and Operations) at Bodmin Keep: Cornwall’s Army Museum.

In addition she’s a lay trustee of Lawrence House Museum in Launceston, one of the first members of the board not to be on the town council.

How did you get into the cultural and creative sector in Cornwall?

With degrees in archaeology and museum studies, Verity started out her career as an archivist at the Museum of London Archaeology before moving to the Museum of London. From there she moved on to working as a collections assistant at the Roman Baths in Bath.

“But I knew since university that I wanted to be the director of a museum,” she says. “I did big museums and that wasn’t for me. I wanted to be able to do lots of things in a small museum.”

A mentor from the Arts Marketing Association started her thinking about the move that ended up in her current role, which led her to Cornwall in 2016.

Why did you want to join the leadership programme?

“Over the past couple of years,” says Verity. “I started to reflect on my career path and had two realisations. One, I still want to be a director but maybe I also want to work supporting other museums. And two, I actually want to stay in Cornwall, but as a museum professional that’s quite tricky given the limited number of senior roles in the area.”

Those realisations helped to motivate her to apply for the leadership programme. Although she had done a Clore Leadership short course in 2018, she felt ready to develop her skills in a different way: “this programme seemed like it gave me a chance to make an impact in my sector and my locality, as opposed to the Clore, which felt much more personal.”

What have you learned from the experience?

For Verity, one of the most valuable things about the programme has been the way that it brings together participants from across the cultural and creative economy.

“Because you can get quite siloed within your own sector,” she says, “it’s been really beneficial to hear what else is going on. Particularly in that there are people in the cohort who are bridging those gaps already. Developing a wider knowledge of what’s happening across Cornwall and across the creative economy has had much more of an impact than I expected it to.”

Being on the programme has also directly affected her own career. When it started, she was working in collections, but she has since been promoted to Assistant Director. “When the case for my promotion was being made to the trustees,” she says, “our director used the leadership programme to demonstrate what I’m currently doing to develop myself as a leader and therefore my suitability for the new role.”

What is your action research project?

Verity’s project is centred on her own organisation, looking at how she can train new staff members and manage teams more effectively. She is learning how to create hands-off management structures that allow staff to work more independently.

“The genesis of this idea,” she explains, “is that we had we had three new members of staff starting in January: trainee curator, a digital intern, and an apprentice. Very different roles. So how do you make sure that everyone is getting an equal amount of your time and is being taught everything they need to be taught, but also is learning in a way that is the most useful for the organisation?”

The result is that her new staff members are cross-trained much more extensively than they would have been in the past.

“I’ve now got a very independent team,” she says, “and my day runs far more smoothly as a result. And it’s changed how leadership works within the organisation, because effectively they’re leading one another. It’s made us far more flexible, which is really valuable in a small organisation.”

What are your goals for the creative and cultural sector in Cornwall?

“I think Cornwall has incredible strengths when it comes to the creative industries,” says Verity. “Many of which, unfortunately for us now, have been developed by EU funding. So current practitioners are staring down the barrel of significantly less funding. What the leadership programme has highlighted for me is the importance of being able to change and adapt.”

Verity sees the sector in Cornwall as building on its strengths: a tight, close knit cultural community that is conscious of, and responsive to, wider issues such as climate change.

“We need culture in Cornwall,” she says, “because it’s not just the beaches that bring people here. And we need culture not just for the tourists, but for the local community.”

Alessandra Ausenda – Artist and Director, Tough Dough

Artist and Director, Tough Dough
www.ausenda.com
www.toughdough.co.uk
Instagram: @ausendaalessandra @tough_dough_cic

Alessandra is an artist and the co-founder of Tough Dough, an organisation that works in partnership to make art that celebrates people, stories and the natural environment.

“I'm eclectic in the way that I work and teach with lots of different organisations,” she says. “For example, I work at Tate St Ives as a freelance artist, I collaborate with other artists, dance and theatre companies, schools and community groups. And all of that is how I earn my living.”

How did you get into the cultural and creative sector in Cornwall?

Alessandra trained as a fine artist at Falmouth University and went on to do a teaching degree at Goldsmiths.

“I’ve always wanted to combine my own practice with working with people,” she says. “So since then, I've taught and lectured alongside setting up community work or working in partnership with other organisations to deliver creative projects.”

After moving back to Cornwall, she set up Tough Dough in partnership with a fellow artist. “We realized that we didn’t have to work for other organisations,” she says. “We could build up our own projects. And for the past fifteen years that’s what we’ve done.”

What have you learned from the experience?

“Everyone on the programme has had a different journey,” says Alessandra, “but there are so many ways in which you can overlap, reach into each other’s worlds, and connect. Through the programme I have a better understanding of potential partnership projects that I could build – for example if I needed to work with a filmmaker.”

Before starting the leadership programme, Alessandra applied for support to restructure Tough Dough – a process which the programme has also helped to support.

“And the programme has given me the confidence to take that step,” she says, “and to shape my organisation in a way that will address issues that need to be tackled. For example, why community work is sometimes not seen as valuable as artistic work, breaking down barriers between working as an artist and working with people. We're providing models of how that might work in the future.”

What is your action research project?

Alessandra has set up a collaborative project with two artists in the North East who have mentored Tough Dough in the last year. The project has involved a set of exchanges between four artists in the South West, and four in the North East.

“All eight of us have used this opportunity to support each other’s practice during periods of lockdown,” says Alessandra, “Our backgrounds vary from visual artists, to writers, to photographers, to filmmakers, but we all share experiences of working with communities in our two regions.”

She hopes that the project will help her to learn more about community engagement in rural areas, and think about how to better integrate her own artistic practice with Tough Dough’ participatory work.

What are your goals for the creative and cultural sector in Cornwall?

“Cornwall has a real cultural identity,” says Alessandra. “Its networks are so strong, and this is recognized and commented on even by people outside the county. That can be incredibly powerful and can help to make things happen despite the lack of funding. But at other times it can also be restrictive.”

She sees diversity within the county as one potential challenge that could be addressed through increased awareness – and through working more in connection with other areas of the UK and internationally.

“But out of all this challenging time,” she concludes, “I feel a renewed energy about where Cornwall sits in the whole cultural scenario. The possibilities for the future look really exciting – and something I want to be part of.”

Where would you like to be in three to five years?

Having been in the arts for thirty years, Alessandra sees part of her role as sharing her knowledge and experience with developing artists. She wants to help to redefine the package of activities that make up artistic leadership.

“An artist does not have to have a commercial profile to be of value,” she says. “Artists can be doing lots of different things, and engaged on so many levels of interests and connections to be a leader in the field. Through my example, I want to ensure that younger practitioners don’t feel disempowered. A future landscape should free us from feeling that we have to constantly try to fit into, or break through into, particular institutions, rather than being creative in the way we structure our careers.”

Some might even be surprised by the fact that it’s possible to make a living as an artist.

“I do want to celebrate and highlight that.” says Alessandra.

Megan Beck – Director, Grays Wharf

Director, Grays Wharf
www.grayswharf.co.uk
Instagram: @grayswharfstudios

Megan is programmes director of Grays Wharf, an arts venue in Penryn, Cornwall offering gallery, workshop and events space alongside creative workspace. Her vision for the organisation is to support and develop creative arts practice while being outward-looking yet locally responsive.

Its first full year of operation was 2020, in the midst of the pandemic, which required some adjustments to her plans. “But now there's an amazing energy,” she says, “and so many people wanting to get involved and do things.”

How did you get into the cultural and creative sector in Cornwall?

Like many creatives, Megan has had a career combining many different types of work, all of which have contributed to her experience and skills.

After graduating with a BA in fine art and MA in furniture design, she worked for two high-profile architectural practices in London. “Although it wasn’t what I felt I wanted to do long term,” she says, “I learned a lot about running a creative organisation, bringing together big teams of people with different specialisms applying for architectural competitions and jobs and funding. I’ve since realised that I was building up valuable experience around creating quite complex projects and communicating them to other people.”

After doing a PGCE in adult and further education, she moved on to teaching at an FE college in Tottenham, working with adults with mental health issues and learning disabilities. Alongside this she co-founded an arts organisation called Make-Room, which worked closely with Haringey Council and developed a range of projects in the public realm including designing a local park, doing a shopfront improvement scheme and putting on public exhibitions.

“And then,” she concludes, “there was a total change of tack and I had the opportunity to move to Cornwall. That was a chance for me to reflect: What aspects of that kind of practice would I take with me? What would I do differently?”

Why did you want to join the leadership programme?

In the midst of developing Grays Wharf with colleagues Mirri Damer and Hannah Woodman, Megan decided to apply for the leadership programme. For her this was a valuable opportunity to step back from the whirlwind of organising – to reflect and to recognise herself as a leader.

“It felt like something that would nurture me,” she says, “while at the same time giving me some perspective on what I was doing. I look back at all the artists and organisations that we're working with, and the courses that we set up, and think, ‘that didn't just happen out of nowhere.’ For me it’s about developing the confidence to be able to say, ‘yeah, I’ve helped make this happen’ – and to apply for the funding opportunities that will allow Grays Wharf to take the next step in its growth.”

What is your action research project?

Reading a draft partnership agreement provided by a national funder, Megan found herself asking whether it would be possible to apply the creative process to establishing partnerships.

“I looked at it and thought, this is a very dry document, isn’t it?” she says. “It doesn’t really inspire me. Immediately it’s very risk averse, assuming that things will go wrong. Of course that’s necessary, but what about considering how you’ll work together and how your partnership will reflect the aims, ethos and values of the project?”

Therefore Megan is looking at whether taking a more creative approach to developing partnership agreements can make them stronger and more sustainable – leading in turn to healthier and more successful projects.

Using an actual partnership as a test case, Megan is experimenting with form and process. So far she’s done an online design session with six artists to draw out aims and expectations, and is thinking about what shape a creative partnership agreement might take.

Where would you like to be in three to five years?

“My change in ambition has crept up on me,” says Megan. “All of a sudden, Grays Wharf has grown and is getting a name for itself.” So she is now focused on building up a wider team and building on recent funding success that can make the organisation sustainable in the long term.

“I think it’s an exciting evolution,” she says. “It’s now a really successful and growing organisation with a track record, and partners and supporters and visitors. And that gives me huge confidence in selling what it does. Now I can say, this is brilliant, this is amazing – look at what we’re doing and come and be part of it.”

Jonny Dry – Film Director, Studio Erma

Film Director, Studio Erma
www.jonnydry.com
Instagram: @_jonnydry

Jonny is a film director and screenwriter, and is the co-founder of production company Studio Erma.

How did you get into the cultural and creative sector in Cornwall?

In Jonny’s view, he came to creative work quite late. After focusing on STEM subjects at school, he applied and was accepted to do a medical foundation degree. But this was a turning point for him.

“That summer,” he says, “when I was about to go to university, I got cold feet. During my A-levels I’d been doing a lot of creative writing, scripts and short stories and poems – and I had a sense that was really where I wanted to go.”

So he took a year out, during which he directed his first short film. After that he did an English degree at Falmouth University and a Masters in English at Lancaster University whilst continuing to direct further award-winning short films. Jonny then won funding from FylmK for “An Tarow,” a short Cornish-language film that was released in 2020.

Why did you want to join the leadership programme?

“I have a real sense of the arts as a tool for empowering and engaging people, and that idea is something I really want to bring to film. There’s a need for leadership to pioneer that new ground, so that a film isn’t just made for its own benefit, but has a wider impact.”

Within his production company, he envisions developing further outreach, education programmes and work experience placements that involve and benefit the wider community. So for him, applying to the leadership programme was about learning “how to coordinate these two different passions that I have, and join them together in a coherent way that makes an impact.”

What have you learned from the experience?

“A lot of directors forget that they’re also leaders,” says Jonny. “The film industry can be quite toxic and exploitative at times. I’ve always been mindful of my responsibility to think about the way I operate and create an inclusive and positive working environment for everyone.”

For him the leadership programme has been an opportunity to think about his wider responsibilities to the region and to the creative industries sector.

“In Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly,” he says, “it’s such a small community relative to the wider industry, and it has a very clear sense of identity. I’m increasingly conscious that my voice is something that’s actively contributing to that.”

What is your action research project?

“I'm really interested in stimulating community engagement during early-stage film development,” says Jonny. “That happens a lot in theatre, but it doesn’t really happen in film. Film development can be quite isolating.”

So he is working on creating methods of film development that engage members of the public and communities. He feels that the sort of community engagement pioneered by organisations like Kneehigh Theatre “gives people a sense that their stories and their lives are being represented.”

What are your goals for the creative and cultural sector in Cornwall?

“There’s a real sense of creative energy – almost frustrated creative energy – in the film industry in Cornwall at the moment,” says Jonny. “And I mean that really positively.”

He sees a step change in terms of the film that is being created in Cornwall, “where the work in Cornwall is becoming more universal but still very Cornish in its identity. For my part I’m currently working with a number of local writers who are developing scripts down here, and I believe it’s only a matter of time before these make their way on the screen. I also urge anyone to get in touch, I want to facilitate a strong community down here that works for as many people as possible.”

While he welcomes the recognition that Cornwall has received as a creative place, he says that the programme has prompted him and the other members of his cohort to reflect on the responsibility that this comes with:

“How does that impact and benefit the people who live here? How does it give them a voice? How does it improve their lives? How does it give them a sense of purpose? And I think all of us feel that responsibility – not just to be taking, but to be giving as well.”

Where would you like to be in three to five years?

“Directing my first feature before I’m thirty would be great,” says Jonny without any hesitation.

Hannah Irwin – iMayflower Project and Knowledge Exchange Manager, University of Plymouth

iMayflower Project and Knowledge Exchange Manager, University of Plymouth
Twitter: @_hibby
LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/hannah-irwin-344a7663/

Hannah is a Project Manager working within The Bridge, a specialist team supporting knowledge exchange at the University of Plymouth. “My role is about connecting the University’s skills, resources and expertise with the outside world, including the creative community across the South West.

Hannah is currently managing two of the team’s portfolio of projects. iMayflower is designed to build Plymouth’s creative industries and nurture ‘creative people power,’ funded by DCMS and Arts Council England, and delivered by a consortium of partners. Engaging Students in Knowledge Exchange, funded by Office for Students and Research England, explores the impact of student involvement in knowledge exchange, developing and sharing great practice. Hannah is passionate about the principle of knowledge exchange, and loves her role as a “super connector and catalyst for conversation and successful, creative collaborations.”

As Chair of Bodmin Riding Festival Hannah was one of the Busy Rebels behind the revival of this heritage and community event. She also sits on the board of KBSK Performing Arts CIC, also based in Bodmin, her adopted home town.

How did you get into the cultural and creative sector in Cornwall?

From a young age, Hannah always said that she wanted to direct theatre, something she’s in fact never done. “But I think the aspects that most appealed, the reasons I was so passionate about that,” she says, “have translated into what I've gone on to do; the creativity, storytelling and collaboration.”

Her career to date has included a seemingly diverse range of roles and sectors: working across communications for a housing association, in arts marketing and visitor experience for music and arts festivals and theatre, and developing marketing, audience and events for a Cornish heritage railway.

As she observes, very few people have a linear career trajectory anymore, but the threads that run through her work are clear: being able to find and share stories; acting as a translator and bringing people together around a shared opportunity or vision.

Why did you want to join the leadership programme?

The pandemic prompted Hannah to reflect on the direction she wanted to pursue and how she could identify, evaluate and develop her strengths and grow as a leader. In addition, she was excited by the prospect of becoming part of a wider cohort.

“In my work and in professional development I’m always looking for ways to add value beyond what I’m doing for myself personally,” she says. “I was keen to develop, but also contribute to the wider sector and creative community. The leadership programme offered me the chance to do that – and came at a really important time for me.”

What have you learned from the experience?

“Culturally there can be something difficult about saying you want to be a leader,” says Hannah. “Or being particularly ambitious or vocal about that.”

The leadership programme has provided her a valuable opportunity to reflect on her own development and progression – and to feel affirmed in doing so.

“By supporting this programme, funders and stakeholders are acknowledging that really good leadership is important, both for the challenging times we’re currently experiencing, but also for driving success and innovation. And saying that it is okay to want to develop yourself as a leader. Within the group, we all want to be part of creating a leadership practice that continues to improve. I’ve found that really positive, powerful and inspiring.”

What is your action research project?

Hannah is working with fellow cohort members Bethany and Emily exploring Cornwall’s creative and cultural networks. Alongside mapping existing networks, they’re capturing perspectives on the strengths and weaknesses of different models, what the sector wants and needs and identifying opportunities for future development.

Their research fits into wider conversations in Cornwall around creative hubs and networks, creating an interesting and rewarding chance to connect and work with other partners.

“And we’re able to use our own cohort to explore some of our findings around what it takes to build and sustain a strong network,” she says. “They’re a brilliant group to have shared this experience with, and we want to continue supporting each other and contributing to a positive future for the creative and cultural sector in Cornwall.”

Where would you like to be in three to five years?

“It’s a really exciting time right now. I want to hone my skills as someone people want to collaborate with – as a natural leader who can make things happen. If that’s the impression people have of me, then regardless of my job title or role, I’ll be really proud of that.”

Bethany Lyne – Project Manager, Cornwall 365

Project Manager, Cornwall 365
https://cornwall365.org.uk/
https://cornwall365.com/

Bethany is the Project Manager for Cornwall 365, one of Creative Kernow’s core programmes. Cornwall 365 is a Creative Consultancy promoting Cornwall as a year round sustainable destination. Currently one of her major projects is ‘In the Loop,’ a prototype platform that aims at “creating better feedback loops between audiences and cultural organisations in our rural context in Cornwall.” Its pilot project has been to evaluate the G7 Behind the Postcard cultural programme.

In addition to her day job, Bethany takes an active interest in theatre, sitting on the Boards for o-region and Cousin Jack’s theatre companies.

How did you get into the cultural and creative sector in Cornwall?

“I'm very proud to be from Cornwall,” says Bethany. “My family's been here since the 1400s. I feel so rooted here and I’m so proud to work in our creative industries. Cornwall is so full of brilliant stuff.”

Bethany was always interested in theatre, but thought at first that she might have to move to London to pursue her career. After completing a degree in English Literature, she volunteered with Kneehigh Theatre. That volunteer role led to six years with the company.

“An administrator role came up,” she says. “I’m pretty sure I would not have even interviewed for that job had I not volunteered for them, because I was a graduate, I had no other experience, and they had around 150 applicants. But I got that job. And I ended up as the Development Manager”

From there Bethany moved on to her current role at Cornwall 365, where she enjoys the variety of working across various projects in the context of sustainable cultural tourism. Bethany also loves being part of the wider Creative Kernow team.

Why did you want to join the leadership programme?

“I would like to always be working in the creative industries in Cornwall,” says Bethany. “In ten to fifteen years I would love to be leading one of our big companies or organisations. And this programme felt so specifically tailored to what I want to do.”

What have you learned from the experience?

“When I applied for the programme,” says Bethany, “I don’t think I had the confidence to back myself. I might have called myself an emerging leader; I would have been nervous to claim more than that.”

Being part of the programme has increased her confidence as a leader – and she’s been able to take on challenging tasks like project managing the development of the ‘In the Loop’ platform.

“I was able to take control and manage a team of experts who knew far more than me,” says Bethany. “I said to myself, that’s fine, because my role in this project is to be the leader. I actively thought back to our first session in the leadership programme: what kind of leader do I need to be? What have I learned from Patrick and Mandy that I can bring to this project? And it worked.”

It’s not only Bethany who has noticed the development in her skills and confidence: recently a colleague said to her, “I can see such a difference in you, and it’s because you’ve been on this leadership programme.”

What is your action research project?

Bethany has joined forces with Hannah and Emily, her peers in the cohort, to map networks in Cornwall – and to look at the key conditions for building good networks.

So far, they’ve been able to connect with other studies and parallel research as well as conducting their own research through a series of questionnaires, in-depth interviews and a crowdsourced database.

What are your goals for the creative and cultural sector in Cornwall?

“I'm very worried for the future of creativity in Cornwall,” says Bethany. “We receive EU funding for programmes like Cultivator that do so much to support creatives. And it feels like the space for having bold and brilliant ideas – and making mistakes – is shrinking, because so much of the arts funding that’s available is very short-term project funding.”

Yet her hope for the future is undimmed.

“There’s some really brilliant powerhouse companies here,” she says. “And there’s a real movement within Cornwall to work collaboratively. If we can do that, we can become the world-leading, rural creative economy that we know we have the potential to be”

Where would you like to be in three to five years?

Bethany aspires to get involved in supporting women in the creative industries in Cornwall.

“I like to think of myself as an amplifier, particularly for women,” she says. “I’d love to be able to do this in a way that has a greater impact.”

Anna Renton – Director, Penlee House Gallery & Museum

Director, Penlee House Gallery & Museum
www.penleehouse.org.uk

Anna is Director of Penlee House Gallery and Museum, whose mission is to preserve and make the history and culture of West Cornwall accessible. Penlee House is now working with a much broader range of groups in the community, including care-experienced young people and older people in care settings.

Anna is also a trustee at the Roald Dahl Museum in Buckinghamshire.

How did you get into the cultural and creative sector in Cornwall?

Anna was born and brought up in Cornwall. After studying history at university, she worked in the Cornwall County Record Office, then got a degree in Museum Studies at University College London.

She gained wide experience in the museum sector, having been a collections officer at the World Rugby Museum, a curator at London Transport Museum and then director of the Wimbledon Lawn Tennis Museum. In 2018 she moved back to Cornwall and started work in her current role.

“Cornwall is a really amazing place to grow up when you’re interested in culture,” she says, “because the pride in heritage is really strong. And now, being back in Cornwall, I find it's actually much easier to network and form partnerships here than it was in London.”

Why did you want to join the leadership programme?

“Because I've been in a leadership role for quite a while,” Anna continues, “it's not so much about the nuts and bolts of learning how to be a leader. Instead I was interested in becoming part of a group of people taking collective responsibility for leadership within our geographical area.”

While she still has important connections with networks in London, she feels it’s positive for the cultural sector in Cornwall not to automatically look outside the region for guidance and inspiration.

“It’s a really exciting time to be working in this sector in Cornwall,” she says. “For me it was about building a bigger network locally that could carry through into the future.”

What have you learned from the experience?

For Anna, the mentoring support she’s received has been one of the most valuable parts of the programme. She’s working with Mandy Berry, who is the Chair of Miracle Theatre and Interim Chair of the Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly Local Enterprise Partnership Creative Industries Task Force.

Participating has also opened her up to different perspectives from across the funded and commercial creative industries.

“I’m a lifelong museum sector person,” she says, “but I’ve found that being with the cohort has given me new perspectives and new ideas. Entrepreneurial skills are challenging for me, because I don’t come from that background, so learning about creative entrepreneurship has been an exciting part of the course.”

What is your action research project?

Anna’s project is looking at ways of demonstrating the value of culture within a local authority context. Her goal is to be able to articulate the value of the investment that the council is making in her museum, with the aim of communicating better with both policymakers and members of the public.

As well as developing economic modelling, she has been gathering data on social impact from participants in her museum’s outreach programmes.

“Our results have been great,” she says. “80 per cent of participants said it improved their mental health during lockdown and 100 per cent said that it gave them something to look forward to. This wasn’t surprising to us, but there’s a huge difference between knowing it intuitively and being able to demonstrate it to somebody else with the evidence to back it up.”

Having evidence, she says, is not just a matter of showing what you can do – it also demonstrates what you might be able to do in the future with a scaled-up programme.

What are your goals for the creative and cultural sector in Cornwall?

“People are often very surprised when they hear about innovative and cool stuff that's happening in Cornwall,” says Anna. “But actually if you look at the work of the Cornwall Museums Partnership, for example, a lot of what they're doing is truly groundbreaking, bigger and better than any national museum and it’s the same in other parts of the creative sector too.”

What she would like to see is a sector that’s better able to advocate for itself – and to demonstrate the strength and excitement of what’s happening in Cornwall.

Emily Sorrell – Peddlar of Design Innovation in the Heritage Sector

Peddlar of Design Innovation in the Heritage Sector
www.emilysorrell.uk
Twitter: @emdoesdesign
Instagram: @emilydoesdesignsometimes

Like many young creatives in Cornwall, Emily wears multiple hats. She’s a designer working in the heritage sector. She’s also the co-founder and director of Doorstep, a community platform that connects creatives working in isolation across Cornwall, including graduates, freelancers and sole-traders.

“Down here,” she says, “it's a unique creative ecosystem. So Doorstep offers solutions that are custom built for the rural economy. It's just about allowing people the space to build their own networks on their own terms, sharing knowledge and skills within a wider community.”

For Emily, it’s important to make it easier for people to admit to doing more than one job at once. “Everyone down here, especially the graduates, is having to diversify income and spin multiple plates. There's a real culture of that in Cornwall. But this cross-sector fluidity and big picture mindset is not celebrated enough.

How did you get into the cultural and creative sector in Cornwall?

After graduating from Falmouth University with a degree in Graphic Design in 2019, Emily knew she wanted to stay in the area.

“Throughout my degree,” she says, “I began to move away from traditional commercial graphic design and into design for museums and cultural spaces, as well as community-driven work”

And she was still at university when she co-founded Doorstep with Charlotte Higgins, out of a mutual desire to break out of the ‘university bubble.’ Their interest in putting down roots in Cornwall and making contact with local creatives ended up benefiting the wider sector.

Doorstep launched as an event series in 2018 and, at that point neither Emily or Charlotte had any idea it would eventually evolve into a business.

Why did you want to join the leadership programme?

Working on Doorstep, Emily became “fascinated with dissecting the wider creative ecosystem in Cornwall and understanding how it works, with its unique challenges and unique opportunities.”

So she applied to the leadership programme in the hopes of taking a more scientific look at what goes on in Cornwall. She is currently collaborating with other members of the cohort on a research project to map interconnected networks across Cornwall, noticing what ‘network’ means to different people across different sectors.

Although she didn’t necessarily think of herself as a leader when she applied, she is realizing as the programme unfolds that you can define your own version of leadership.

“I think a huge part of design is really just noticing things,” she continues, “noticing patterns and creative opportunities. Through the programme I’ve realized that a lot of leadership is also about noticing and observing and reacting to things, being sensitive to what's going on around you. So the programme has helped me to understand that, like design, ‘leadership’ covers a much broader scope than I had originally thought.”

What have you learned from the experience?

In her design work with museums, Emily often finds herself talking about the need to embrace innovation through design thinking. But this isn’t necessarily intuitive for the heritage sector and so it can take time. In her role working between two very different sectors, Emily is sometimes the only creative in the room. “You do start to wonder if you're going a bit mad,” she says.

“So I was quite excited by the whole innovation element of the programme,” she continues, “because these are all things that I've been thinking about within my own head over the last couple of years, but haven’t necessarily vocalised. The programme consolidated my thinking and reaffirmed the hunches that I have. It's nice to know that the theories behind innovation support the ideas I was developing in my own work.”

What are your goals for the creative and cultural sector in Cornwall?

“We’ve got several major universities in Cornwall and have had a whole load of EU investment over the last few years to try and address the brain drain,” says Emily. “To a certain extent that has been solved, but there's still a real need to make Cornwall an attractive place to stick around as well as to study, making sure that there’s the level of support to drive the entrepreneurship and ingenuity that you need to be able to establish yourself in a rural creative economy.”

Having been a student, graduate, sole trader and now business owner in Cornwall herself, she understands how tricky it can be to go out on your own and “put down roots.” Graduate retention is one of the main issues that Doorstep aims to address over the next few years.

Where would you like to be in three to five years?

In her independent practice, Emily is currently working with a number of museums across the UK to drive innovation in the sector as restrictions begin to ease, building immersive spaces and human-centric experiences for 2021/22.

She’s currently seeking innovation funding to support Doorstep to develop their business model to address the unique needs and opportunities of the changing rural creative economy.

“Because so often,” she continues, “people have shoehorned traditional urban models into rural initiatives without building from the ground up. As a result it hasn't worked or hasn't lasted. Doorstep is a grass roots business growing within a unique ecosystem, and we are reimagining traditional business to better support our creative community.”

Robin James Sullivan – Artist/Producer

Artist/Producer
www.robinjamessullivan.com
Instagram: @Bro_Mate

Robin Sullivan is an artist, producer and facilitator with interests including Neolithic Britain, food, the power of community, new forms of recording history, and queer space.

Their practice includes large scale ceramic sculpture, installation, longer durational projects with no defined outcomes, performance, public programmes, and recently the formation of temporary civic art spaces. They are always open to conversations and ideas about future collaborations.

How did you get into the cultural and creative sector in Cornwall?

“It's all I've ever done and been interested in since I was a child,” says Robin. “I was interested in geology and archaeology, and art and fashion and design, and it just continued.”

After getting a BA in Fine Arts from the University of Bournemouth, they worked with museums, festivals and art spaces, then developed an artistic practice that grew to involve collaborations with a range of professionals, from scientists to chefs and urban planners.

“That developed into what I do now,” says Robin. “Over the years. as new interests came to me, new collaborations have led to new ideas.”

Why did you want to join the leadership programme?

As the scope and size of the projects they aim to create increased, Robin began to realise the limits of what they could achieve as an individual.

“I no longer want to work alone,” they explain. “I need to build a team around me to facilitate the kind of projects I want to be doing, and to be able to work on multiple projects at once. If I were to work alone, project managing all my collaborations myself, I basically have eight years work lined up in front of me. And that's terrifying.”

So for Robin, the necessity of learning more about leadership was apparent.

“I was also really excited by the programme’s emphasis on cross-sector collaboration,” says Robin. “Bringing people together to discuss what leadership looks like in a twenty-first century rural place, and opening up the question of what we want this place to look like in ten or twenty years. Being able to be part of those conversations would be a huge honour, I thought. And luckily, they let me.”

What have you learned from the experience?

Robin has always had high ambitions for their work and where they want to go with it – but they say that the leadership programme has changed their understanding of what it will take to realise that ambition.

“There has been a phenomenal amount of information and conversation,” they say. “I think we could probably have met on a weekly basis and still would have run out of time. Everything from understanding what leadership is, different kind of styles of leadership and how to swap and change between them; to management structures and business models; to cross-sector collaborations and different ways of working.”

What is your action research project?

Robin aims to learn more about community and stakeholder engagement: how to filter in more ideas from other people at all stages of their work, from ideation through to product delivery.

They are proud to consider themselves a facilitator working for communities – and someone who is willing to experiment, try and fail, and improve. “I have an art practice,” they say. “I love that it’s called that, because I’m constantly practicing.”

Some approaches to people-centred practice, they say, are quite minimal and ‘passive’ in their impact, whereas more radical forms have the potential to destabilise traditional notions of the artistic process. Patrick Towell, their mentor, encouraged them to think bigger than they might have done otherwise.

“I was thinking on one level,” they say, “and then Patrick is like, ‘well, what about this other level?’”

What are your goals for the creative and cultural sector in Cornwall?

“People are doing really unusual, really weird things here,” says Robin approvingly. “That’s one of the things that draws people to Cornwall. It’s a very unique place in its culture, its community and its landscape. If it’s going to become the largest rural creative economy in the UK, it needs to work with its own identity, including its weirdness and wonderfulness and its DIY and grassroots ethos. Don't try and make it like any other creative cluster.”

Where would you like to be in three to five years?

“I hope to be incumbent in the South West,” says Robin, “working away happily. And by happily, I mean very busily. The plan is to work on a large scale, to work with as many people as possible, to be able to actually build a team around me to facilitate that level of working. And I feel like if I can do that, I absolutely will be happy.”

Cerisia Ta’Torin – Poet & Illustrator, Cerisia Ta’Torin Illustrations

Poet & Illustrator, Cerisia Ta’Torin Illustrations
Instagram: @tatorin_illustrations
LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/cerisia-ta-torin-9b71b61aa/

Cerisia is an illustrative artist and poet. In July 2021 she published her first book, My Heart Lives Here, and she has a second book in preparation that is funded by Cultivator.

She deals with topics that often stay hidden within society, aiming to bring awareness to issues around emotional, psychological and social well-being. A member of the Centre for Women’s Justice, she currently has a focus on police-perpetrated abuse.

“I’m passionate about helping others especially women” she says, “because for women in particular, that experience of abuse is very isolating.”

How did you get into the cultural and creative sector in Cornwall?

“I've always been creative with my hands,” says Cerisia. “That's the only thing I've ever done. I struggled learning at school, along with having a sight condition and dyslexia. When I left school I didn't have any GCSEs apart from Art.”

After doing a degree in Fashion design and fashion illustration she worked for a fashion designer in New Zealand and a design house in London, but she found that the industry didn’t suit her, and moved back to Cornwall.

Due to her dyslexia, she had never thought of herself as a writer. “I was ashamed of my dyslexia, I would write poems in paintings and then paint over them,” she says, “so that no one knew they were there. Or hide my words on the back so that they wouldn’t be visible after it was framed.”

But the encouragement she received while doing an MA in Illustration Authorial Practice at Falmouth University helped inspire her to incorporate poetry into her illustration, and it is now an integral part of her artistic practice.

Why did you want to join the leadership programme?

“I have gained a lot of experience over the years,” says Cerisia, “and some of that experience wasn’t great and I lost my power. So I thought it could be very good for me to learn to be more assertive and become comfortable in the roles I’m taking for my own personal projects, because some of them can be quite challenging. I needed something to allow me to be a bit more confident.”

She had a very clear idea of the kind of leadership style that she wanted to develop.

“Part of my practice is very spiritual,” she says. “and the work that I do alongside my art is too. It’s always been there. When I look at the workshops or readings I’ve done, it’s always been about being a facilitator who can support people to move in the directions they need to go in. It’s all about being able to hold the space for people.”

What have you learned from the experience?

“Even in my own creative practice within my art studio,” says Cerisia, “it's allowed me to explore where I want my work to go. It’s increased my confidence to pursue projects that I would like to do.”

Beyond this, participating in the programme has inspired her to take a wider view of the community and reflect on what she can do to support other creatives in Cornwall.

“It’s opened lots of doors for me that I would never have seen,” she concludes, “had I not taken that leap of faith to apply.”

What is your action research project?

Cerisia’s research question is deceptively simple: “How can we build a community so that we can be successful together?”

Focusing on Krowji, the creative hub in Redruth where she’s a tenant, she is looking at how artists can create more successful business models. She hopes to develop networking trade shows aimed at gallery owners, curators or publishers – those who commission or employ creatives.

“And hopefully from that,” she says, “we can build something that allows creatives to have more control over where their work is going and develop their opportunities.”

In common with other Krowji tenants, Cerisia was badly affected by the fire in May 2021. She’s created a sketchbook to pass around and intends to make a book from the result, “just to have a little capsule of that moment in time for everyone.”

“I guess it’s a healing process,” she says, “isn’t it?”

What are your goals for the creative and cultural sector in Cornwall?

Cerisia is passionate about helping the creative community in Cornwall develop more stability and financial success.

“Everyone benefits from creativity,” she says, “but the creator often doesn’t make a profit. For me, this isn’t just my job, it’s a lifestyle. It’s my whole life, it’s my therapy, it really helps me function. I couldn’t survive without doing this. I began to realised that loads of people are in the same boat. So what we need to do is work out how we can build a community so we can be more successful together.”

Joe Turnbull – Founder, Bull & Wolf Film Co.

Founder, Bull & Wolf Film Co.
www.bullandwolf.co
Instagram: @bullandwolffilm
Facebook: @bullandwolf

Joe is the founder of Bull & Wolf Film Co, a creative digital-first video agency whose clients have included Crowdfunder, Buttermilk, the University of Plymouth, Launch Online and St Petrocs. He was named to Cornwall’s ’30 under 30’ in 2019 and 2020, and Insider’s ‘South West 42 under 42’ for 2021.

How did you get into the cultural and creative sector in Cornwall?

Although he always had an interest in photography and made a few videos at university, Joe never planned a career in the creative industries. After doing a Politics with Economics degree at the University of Bath, he went into a management consulting job. But after a few months, he says, “I knew that I wanted to get more creative.”

He was lucky enough to get a role with Shine TV as a location runner on Hunted, a Channel 4 reality show. For the next couple of years he worked on a range of roles and shows as a location assistant and researcher.

“Everything I’ve learned in terms of editing was self-taught,” he says. “But TV was a good background. I was observing and learning and seeing what the people around me were doing. That was the advantage of working in factual entertainment, because shows are often crewed by very small teams. So, I ended up being up on location with three or four people, or one person who'd be the director and shooter.”

After following his partner to Cornwall, he became less satisfied with the amount of time he had to spend away from home. So in 2018 he founded his own production company, originally focused on drone filming but now with a focus on social media content.

“It was a weird segue,” he says, but these indirect career paths seem to be typical of the creative industries.

Why did you want to join the leadership programme?

Not only does Joe want to build Bull & Wolf into one of the leading video agencies in the South West, he is also passionate about making it into a better company. So he sees developing his leadership skills as a way of delivering on his wider goals.

“I want to tap into local talent to try and be a force for good in Cornwall,” he adds. “To disprove the myth that you have to take a salary hit if you want to work here. I don't think that needs to be the case, especially in the creative industries. And this is a fantastic place to have creative people.”

What is your action research project?

“Me and my co-founder are both the stereotypical ‘pale stale males’ in the screen industry,” says Joe wryly, despite his youth. “We may have a certain bias, conscious or unconscious, that may stop us recruiting the best people.” And, he says, he believes in action not words.

So his project looks at how Bull and Wolf can be an inclusive employer. He’s been speaking to other growing businesses to understand best practice in recruitment. He’s reviewed his job adverts to make sure that they’re not using gendered or otherwise biased language and he and his co-founder are experimenting with a ‘blinded’ CV review process.

What are your goals for the creative and cultural sector in Cornwall?

A creative economy that can bring money into the region – that’s what Joe wants to see developing in Cornwall.

“A significant economy needs to generate income for itself,” he says. “And it can’t just be for a few people. It’s no good having individual artisans who are alone and just getting by. We need creative hubs for people who are doing really fantastic projects, while ensuring that they’re actually earning a decent living wage.”

Where would you like to be in three to five years?

Within five years, Joe aims to have developed Bull and Wolf into a widely recognized production company – and to have it serve as an incubator for new creative filmmakers and producers.

Currently he’s working to get Bull and Wolf certified as a B Corporation, demonstrating that it’s a business that cares about people and planet as well as profit. As he points out, Cornwall is neck-and-neck with Bristol to have the most B Corps of any region in the UK outside London – “not per capita, just the most.”

“From a personal perspective,” he concludes, “it'd be great to run a business like that, but I also want to get more involved in environmental work, and then kind of trying to shout out about Cornwall, beyond just an interest in politics. I want use the platform that success might bring to push on the causes I’m passionate about.”