The Sustainable Creative Destination Conference – Follow Up

On 1st October we hosted a virtual conference with #CLASH and Cultivator for the creative and tourism sectors to explore and debate Cornwall’s ambition to be a sustainable, creative destination.

We programme two key note speakers, Vicky Smith and Dr Tehmina Goskar, a panel discussion, and pop ups from Malcolm Bell and Tamzyn Smith. The networking sessions were hosted by Kill the Cat Theatre who had devised a series of session to mimic coffee break networking that is missing from events going online. To get an overview of the day and topics discussed please read on!

If you’d like to be part of future #CLASH events sign up to our newsletter.


Keynote: Vicky Smith, Earthchangers

Time to Rethink Tourism? – Taking a regenerative approach

Reflecting on a 20 year career in tourism and a passion for sustainable travel, Vicky explored the past, present and future of destination marketing through a presentation which posed some fundamental questions about regenerative tourism:

Here’s what you said:

Kim Spencer: Here in Cornwall we do have the sustainable tourism award called Green Acorn available to Cornish businesses only, awarded by SECTA (south east cornwall tourism association). We in SECTA are in the process of revamping the organisation and then Green acorn but here is the current link

In response to littering by tourists

Kim Spencer: Cornwall council took the decision to remove recycling bins from its own land. It’s those sort of decisions that seem out of step with the declaration of a climate emergency and have an impact on residents. The “better places for people to live…” quote really resonated with me.

In response to the discussion around tourism specific taxes

Ben Rowswell:  It’s a great idea – surely council owned beach car parks should be putting 80% of profit into the same…Along with Holiday parks, Haven etc… I’m not sure I would trust the council to manage it though…

You can find Earthchangers in the following places



Panel Discussion

Realising the Sustainable Creative Destination

This session explored bold visions and practical actions that embody the idea of a sustainable creative destination.  Featuring Cornish tourism initiatives and contrasting perspectives from urban and international contexts, the discussion .

Here’s what you said:

In response to Andy Brydon’s presentation

Olivia Khadka: Love the idea of move from product to process….

Kim Spencer: Iceland example was excellent – spreading the tourism “load” across the country rather than keep promoting/investing in the same places. Product to process – yes!

Andy Brydon: Infrastructure is key – the shift has taken 8 years to shape up. Takes major investment but will pay off. Ironically lots of people have left Reykjavik because AirBnB priced out locals and the rental market is crazy. This meant lots of talent went elsewhere and looked for opportunities.

Vicky Smith: Iceland is an amazing over-successful marketing example. They went from a bankrupt nation to massive over tourism in 8 years. They did a lot by becoming the main transatlantic stopover. They have crazy number of tourist annually (2.5m) compared to locals (350K?), and mostly in Rejykjavik.


Following Jill Stott’s presentation

Patricia Wilson Smith: As an artist in West Penwith I do feel that artists have a lot to contribute but it doesn’t feel that there is much opportunity for connection and contribution to a conversation that could contribute to these questions  It’s frustrating to not quite know how to talk about this


Following Tracey’s presentation

Tammy Beresford: Completely agree about the need to support community-based activity as well as introducing new cultural experiences. It’s something we’ve been very mindful of with the Isles of Scilly Cultural Destinations project. We’ve also learnt that while Cultural Destinations was visitor-focused, it only works if residents are engaged and involved.


Following Louise Middleton’s presentation

Jane Sutherland: Thank you Louise – it would be great to hear your thoughts on how other camp site owners who maybe have a different demographic in terms of visitors to yours could make their offer more sustainable

During the discussion Rhona Gardiner spoke about a project around the smoking chimney stacks at the mineral tram

Jane Sutherland: Smoking Chimneys – it was completely amazing!!!

Tamzyn Smith: It was very magical

Sarah Waller: Hard work!

Vicki Aimers: I loved that event ❤️

View of smoke rising from chimneys as seen from Carn Brae near Redruth in Cornwall. (Photo by Barry Batchelor - PA Images/PA Images via Getty Images)

Photo by Barry Batchelor – PA Images/PA Images via Getty Images


Fiona explored the themes of the panel discussion in her provocation paper Volume or Value? Complex Sustainability and Cultural Tourism.

You can find the panel in the following places

Andy Brydon / Curated Place

Find Tracey Sage / Sage Culture here:

Louise Middleton / Kudhva

Jill Stott / Tin Coast Project

Fiona Wotton / Cornwall 365


Keynote: Dr Tehmina Goskar, Director, Curatorial Research Centre

Preserving the past for whose future, exactly?

Is cultural heritage a commodity or a cultural right? What does balancing the needs of tourists versus locals actually mean in practice? If not from tourists, where will our money come from to subsidise the socially-engaged work we want to do? Can we even get the basics right like public transport, communication and messaging, timing of events, being open all year round rather than just ‘for the season’? Why is the mission of so many cultural heritage organisations to ‘preserve the past for the future’ when we even struggle to get to grips with today and tomorrow?

Here’s what you said

Milo Perrin: Yes we get 4m people a year but not all at once! Visit Cornwall’s figure for say August is there are around 185k extra people in Cornwall on any given day. June is 94k July 137k

Debra Gristwood: Authenticity is important. In terms of marketing but also those of us creating experiences. We should be ensuring they deliver for the community in that location first, then if visitors also engage with it they are also getting an authentic experience.

Melissa Hampson-Smith: I saw some beautiful pictures in the National Trust mag of wild flowers growing on the Giants Causeway with all the reduced footfall during lockdown. We need to be aware of sustainability

You can find Dr Tehmina Goskar and Curatorial Research Centre here:

Find out more about #CLASH here.

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.
CK-Carn-to-cove logo
CK-C-Fylm logo
CK-Cornwall-365 logo
CK-C365-whats-on logo
CK-CMN logo
CK-feast logo
CK-Krowji logo