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Creative Kernow celebrates 40 years of supporting the Cornish creative community

Creative Kernow celebrates 40 years of supporting the Cornish creative community this month – looking forward to the future with the announcement that they have received planning permission to replace the buildings lost during the fire at Krowji.


The cultural support organisation is hosting a 40th birthday party at Krowji on Friday 28 June from 2.30pm, and anyone who has been a part of their journey is welcome to join.


The event will bring together many people who have played a part in the evolution of Creative Kernow with creative workshops, music and comedy performances, exhibitions and much more.


It will reflect on the achievements of the last 40 years and look forward with optimism to new developments for the organisation, including their new plans for Krowji.


Creative Kernow has been a part of the rich tapestry of Cornwall’s creative landscape since the early 1980s, providing invaluable support to thousands of artists, performers, makers and creatives since their inception.


The organisation has been at the vanguard of offering business support and investment opportunities to anyone working in a creative field and has supported countless individuals and organisations. In the last decade, they’ve secured around £20m in funding to help them support and promote the Cornish creative industries and delivered more than £30 million into the Cornish economy.


Fiona Wotton, Chief Executive for Creative Kernow, said: “For the last 40 years Creative Kernow has championed creativity as a force for positive change in Cornwall. I am so proud of our small team – it is heavyweight in terms of connections, expertise and energy which have catalysed a new confidence in Cornwall’s cultural identity and helped grow our creative economy.


She added: “We have a lot to look forward to with excitement building for our Krowji Phase 3 development, the launch of our new creative business support programme and numerous projects in the pipeline.  In these uncertain times, we need creativity more than ever to solve problems and make sense of the world and I can’t wait to see what challenges we tackle next.”


Originally set up in 1983 and now halfway through its 40th year, Creative Kernow started as Cornwall Arts Centre Trust and was set up by arts activists to save the old City Hall in Truro from being sold for a supermarket site.


The campaign began for the creation of an arts venue for Cornwall resulting in the City Hall being rescued from developers and reopening as Hall for Cornwall. ACT started to reduce its promoting work and gradually focused more on sector support. 


Their rural touring programme, Carn to Cove, was established in 2001, and the following year ACT began work on their long-term flagship project to develop offices and studios for the Creative Industries – taking over the Old Grammar School in Redruth in 2005, now known as Krowji and home to over 200 creative businesses.


Ross Williams, former director of Creative Kernow, said: “I joined the company as Director back in 1991 – I’d started by chance as a box office volunteer just a couple of months earlier and when the previous Director left I was delighted to be appointed to what was then a very modest role, with just two part-time colleagues.  I had no idea that I’d be running the organisation for nearly 30 years and that it would have evolved into what it is today – one of the key cultural bodies in Cornwall, supporting creative practitioners and Cornish communities in a multitude of ways. 


“I’m incredibly proud of what’s been achieved over the years thanks to the hard work and dedication of hundreds of people – fellow employees, trustees and all those who helped to develop Creative Kernow’s range of services and projects – and it was a privilege to be part of that journey.”


Over the years, Creative Kernow – the name the organisation adopted in 2016 to better reflect their work - has expanded their role in the county, with mentoring programmes, arts marketing support, rural arts programming, support for the Cornish film industry, festivals and the creation of Cornwall’s largest studio hub at Krowji in Redruth.


Creative Kernow is home to a variety of programmes, investing in creative projects which bring together professional artists and their communities and help the culture and tourism sectors to work more closely together.


Now a nationally significant centre for the creative arts and industries, Creative Kernow aims to champion creativity as a force for positive change in Cornwall


Anyone who would like to attend the 40th birthday celebration event can find out more and reserve their place here:

To discover more about the work of Creative Kernow, including their current programmes and how they’re supporting the Cornish creative industry, visit:

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