Port Eliot Festival [image credit: Michael Bowles]

Plymouth University has joined forces with one of the country’s favourite festivals to increase opportunities for all to engage with the arts.

The University is to become the official cultural and creative partner of the Port Eliot Festival, which takes place each summer at a country estate in St Germans, South East Cornwall.

The partnership will aim to enhance knowledge transfer between academics within the Faculty of Arts and Humanities and the creative industries, and champion local and regional successes across the creative sectors.

It will also aim to open up the Port Eliot Festival as a platform for student and academic enhancement, and encourage University involvement with the festival’s annual roster of more than 500 creative workshops and 150 practitioners.

Beyond this summer’s event, there will also be an exploration of potential research opportunities focussed on the emerging importance and relevance of festivals as a cultural, educational and creative force within society.

Professor Dafydd Moore, Executive Dean of the Faculty of Arts and Humanities at Plymouth University, said:

“Port Eliot is right on our doorstep, and this is a fantastic opportunity for us to join forces with a festival that is an eclectic showcase of culture each year. Despite its growth in size and popularity, Port Eliot has always stayed true to its artisan roots and that sense of creative individuality is something we look to encourage among our own students and staff. We believe this partnership will be mutually beneficial, but also that the collaboration of two award-winning artistic institutions can bring something truly special to the South West as a whole.”

The Port Eliot Festival is an annual celebration of words, music, imagination, ideas, nature, food, fashion, flowers, laughter, exploration and fun.

Since its launch over a decade ago, it has attracted an incredible range of performers, including the likes of Dominic West, Kate Winslet, Jarvis Cocker, Shami Chakrabarti, Jakob Dylan, Jessica Hynes, Suggs, Caitlin Moran, Suzy Menkes, Tracy Chevalier and Hanif Kureishi.

This year’s festival is taking place from July 30 to August 2, with confirmed attendees including Ralph Steadman and Ceri Levy, Sarah Waters, Alan Johnson, Ezra Furman, The Unthanks and Rick Stein.

Catherine St Germans, Port Eliot Festival founder, added:

“Our new partnership with Plymouth University is the happy result of several years of collaboration on specific events during the festival. Making the link official will increase the opportunities for students to be involved in the process of creating a festival, and to work directly with the performers on our eclectic line-up. But it will also bring a new ingredient to the festival, which is our aim every year and one of the reasons why we’re able to keep evolving and springing surprises, while keeping the spirit that Port Eliot fans love. It’s also a continuation of our work to ensure that the festival has a positive impact on Cornwall, and we’re delighted to welcome Plymouth University as our cultural and creative partner for 2015.”