European Capital of Culture – FAQs, and 10 Reasons Why We Should Support The Bid

Truro-Cornwall 2023: European Capital of Culture


What is the European Capital of Culture?
Every year, 2 European countries share the Capital of Culture title – in 2023 those countries are due to be Hungary and the UK. They will each put forward a number of cities – 1 from each country will be selected to win the title. This will be decided in 2018.

What will it look like?
A year long programme of incredible events from the Tamar to Lands’ End, that showcase our brilliant cultural heritage, to the world. Imagine a number of very large scale spectacles (Think Man Engine but bigger!) combined with hundreds of community events. We would be working towards our year from 2018 to 2023, so plenty of time to get Cornwall ready and a brilliant programme booked.

Why Bother?
Every City/region awarded the designation over the last 25 years have demonstrated impressive economic and social impacts. By comparing our bid to others the amounts look like £100m to the economy and 2000 jobs created.

What about BREXIT?
Will the award happen once we leave the EU? Membership of the EU is not essential to gaining the award. Reykjavik in Iceland was ECOC in 2000, Stavanger, Norway 2008 and Istanbul, Turkey in 2010. The UK Government opened the competition in December 2016, which it had the option not to, and is therefore committed to delivering it. However if this decision to proceed was overturned at any point the Government do have the option to designate the successful bid as UK City of Culture.

Will the bid only be about Truro?
No, our bid is for Truro-Cornwall. The competition rules require you to have a city to lead the bid but the award can be given to a city and its wider region. Recent examples have been Marseille-Provence, Essen and the Ruhr.

Truro is a small city; can it compete with much bigger cities?
Yes, the smallest city previously awarded the title had 25,000 residents, so we are not an exception. Our bid will include all of Cornwall so we can achieve a much larger scale (550,000,residents plus 6 million visitors). Our bid will certainly look different to larger urban bids but that difference can also be seen as our USP and a strength.

Can Truro- Cornwall really compete with other European cities?
Yes. The award is made annually to different countries. The UK’s next slot is 2023, so only UK cities can bid for the 2023 award. Milton Keynes, Leeds and Dundee are the declared competition so far and we think we can make a good case against this field. We have a great range of cultural organisations from the Minnack to Eden, from Tate St Ives to Kneehigh Theatre, from Causley House to Porthcurno, we have a unique language, and we have the largest World Heritage Site in the UK.

Cornwall Council is spending the money on this rather than toilets and potholes:
Investment in this is coming from already allocated Economic Development and Culture budgets, which have been agreed in advance by full Council and are destined for projects that increase economic prosperity. We are not spending money which has been allocated to social care, education, public toilets or transport.

Do we have enough time to develop a good bid?
Yes. The groundwork and preparations for this bid have been going on for at least 10 years and lots of work has already been done, UK No 1 Arts University, Tate St Ives, Kresen Kernow the redevelopment of Hall for Cornwall are all projects we’ve completed or are underway.

Who is supportive?
Everybody from the Chamber of Commerce to the University, from Visit Cornwall to Royal Cornwall Museum and Hall for Cornwall have offered overwhelming support.

Ten Cornish Reasons Why…..

…..we should support the bid for Cornwall to be European Capital of Culture in 2023

1. Growing our economy: Becoming a European Capital of Culture creates economic growth. We need to invest now to unlock the potential of our economy and culture is part of the solution.

2. Raising the aspirations of our young people: Too many young people in Cornwall feel that great things happen somewhere else. Capital of Culture can put Cornwall on the global stage and involve every young person in breath-taking events and experiences, opening their minds to the potential of our place.

3. Media exposure that money can’t buy: The creative industries are one of Cornwall’s economic success stories. Cornwall has world class creative businesses with an appetite for growth and the skills to trade around the world. Capital of Culture will put Cornwall on a global stage and give us unprecedented media coverage.

4. Changing the perception of Cornwall: Smart places know that investing in culture gives them the edge. Capital of Culture will send a strong message that Cornwall is a vibrant and innovative place to live and work.

5. Showing Cornwall is open for business post Brexit: By becoming European Capital of Culture we’ll send a confident message that we’re an outward facing region keen to work with and welcome people from around the world.

6. Boosting our visitor economy: Tourism sector SMEs in other Capitals of Culture have been overwhelmingly positive about the benefits they experienced and our year long programme will help us to market Cornwall as an all year round destination.

7. Developing skills: Schools that integrate arts across the curriculum show higher reading and maths scores. Students from low income families who take part in arts activities are 3 times more likely to gain a degree. Capital of Culture can address inequalities in arts engagement, developing skills for young people across Cornwall.

8. Creativity is what we do best: Cornwall has a proud history of artistic and engineering achievement. We’ve nurtured and attracted creative thinkers who have changed the course of history. Life on the edge helps us think differently.

9. Benefits across the whole of Cornwall: This isn’t just about Truro, it’s for Cornwall as a whole. We can use our vibrant community networks to extend the benefits of this programme to every community in Cornwall.

10. Culture makes life better: Being involved in the arts has a positive impact on health – people who have attended a cultural event in the last 12 months are 60% more likely to report good health. Put simply, for 1,000s of people across Cornwall culture is already making their lives better. Let’s do that for more people.

If you would like to write in support of Cornwall’s bid to be European Capital of Culture 2023 please send your message to the following Cornwall Council Cabinet members:

John Pollard –

Adam Paynter –

Julian German –

Jeremy Rowe –

Edwina Hannaford –

Joyce Duffin –

Bert Biscoe –

Geoff Brown –

Creative Kernow, based at Krowji, is the umbrella organisation for the following nine projects. Together we support the production, promotion and distribution of work by creative practitioners in Cornwall because we believe in creativity's transformative power and want more people to benefit from it.
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