This month we’d like to welcome Manda Brookman as our Cultural Ambassador for September 2019. Manda is the Director of Permanently Brilliant, ‘a social enterprise catalysing network-based collective action’. This overarching project offshoots a series of programmes based around Practical work, Connection, Sanctuary and Change. These initiatives are addressed through the development of a permaculture project, Cornwall’s sustainable tourism network (CoaST) of which Manda is also Director, the Million Acts of Sanctuary and the Café Disruptif Network. Read on to find out more about Manda and what she loves about Cornwall.
Manda Brookman, Director of Permanently Brilliant and CoaST, Cornwall’s One Planet Tourism, based near Hayle, but work across Cornwall and the UK.
Worked to make the connections between climate, people and place – in the past, the present and the future. Someone once said that heritage is what we hope to pass on to those ahead of us; I think if we are alive today, our responsbility is to make sure we create a legacy of life and hope for those ahead. Without a safe and just planet, where everyone is included, and we stop destroying the systems we rely on, we will have no heritage or culture to offer.
The network! This is all about people and connection and relationships. Culture just means growth – not the getting bigger kind, but getting better, and learning, and growing. So finding the diversity of people and perspectives and hopes for the future is like finding treasure, the sort of treasure that feeds minds and soul.
Sitting on the beach with my children eating local food over an open fire watching the sun sink, and feeling profoundly connected to place. When we first moved to Cornwall, my son was two and my daughter five. We went to our first summer village fair, a part of the bones and heart of the local village culture; and on the way home, although way past their bedtime, I saw that the most extraordinary sun set was happening. As fast as I dare I drove the car to the coast, a ten minute drive, and then up the bumpy track to the cliff top; jumped out of the car, saw my son was asleep and got my daughter to jump out too; we stood on the cliff top and watched the immensity of a Cornish sun set – her very first, ever, she had seen having been brought up in Bristol til then. She gripped my hand and gasped at the sight before her; and turned to me and said, “Mummy, it makes me feel like you’re the Queen and I’m the Princess”.
She’s the most unprincessy, warrior-hearted young woman now, nearly 20 years later. But that was one of those seminal moments where place and people create an alchemy that can never be lost.
Lucky enough to know crackling minds and hearts of people involved in music, the arts, climate, social justice and place means heading to the beach, or a beach bar, with a bunch of such fabulous mates, and just acknowledging that this must be one of the best places to spend a day, and evening, one can imagine.
Five suffragettes, to the beach to see and hear Shoreline. To ask them how we can use their experience, and the force of our cultural courage as a county, to fight against the monumental injustices of the climate emergency and poverty, inequality and forced migration we see it creating.
Dolcoath Mine! Theatre and music and visceral experience – and realising we are all of this place.
My kitchen when I’m cooking with my family. And secondly – anywhere outside. Music is always better outside. And we are knee deep in such venues here.
The walk out of St Ives heading west into the sunset. Get past the beaches, past the houses, and our onto the cliffs. Keep going and you stride deep into West Penwith – the most magical of magical.
Any farmers’ market, anywhere across the county … and the food places that buy from there too!
Just walking out of my door, into Penwith. Anywhere in Penwith. On foot. With my most loved ones.
We should love what we have, and share it better with those who live here too but have so little access to so much of what there is available.
Lancashire Moors. Of course. Where I was born, and raised, and where I learned to love the gratuitous gorgeousness of the land; and then in Orkney, where the marriage of the land with the ocean is celebrated daily.
How can we as the cultural and heritage tribe across the county throw ourselves into the transformational shift we need to deal with the carbon, climate, ecological and migration emergency unfolding across our shores, beaches and moors? This is our emergency. It’s on us. No time like the present.