The Role of the Creative Hubs in Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly

Funded through Research England's Strategic Priorities Fund and delivered in partnership with Cornwall Council, this project sought to understand the role that creative hubs play in Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly.

Newquay Orchard Kowel Gwenen Creative Hub
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Project details

Project lead David Prior
Centre alignment Centre for Heritage, Culture & Society
Start date March 2021
End date August 2021

As an anchor institution in Cornwall, Falmouth plays an important role in meeting the needs of the creative economy in the region. Falmouth worked with Cornwall Council on the delivery of a report and research papers that provide an overview of the creative hubs in Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly. The work illustrates the role hubs can play in the development of the creative industries and makes recommendations for interventions to support creative hubs in the region.

Previous research mapping creative hubs across England, revealed that hubs are bound together by a focus on "convening and building creative communities, often nurturing and maintaining a complex set of relationships and partnerships". We know that hubs make a difference in their communities in a multitude of ways, delivering social, cultural and economic value – and this report investigates the specific potential and significance of hubs in Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly.

Following an open tender process, in March 2021, Falmouth University in partnership with Cornwall Council commissioned Deepa Naik, Ellen O'Hara and Dr Ceri Gorton to undertake the main report, working closely with University and Council colleagues. 

Alongside the development of the main report, Dr. Abigail Wincott, Dr. Lucy Frears and Andy Chatfield conducted parallel research into Equality, Diversity and Inclusion in the creative hubs, with Wincott focussing on programming and Frears and Chatfield focusing on the constitution of board membership.

Key insights from the research were then explored through a series of 'How might we?' questions. This format allowed us to highlight challenges and opportunities for hubs in relation to:

  • Collaboration
  • Data and influence
  • Hub models and resources
  • Meeting future needs

The main output is the report, which is available for download below.

Two events have been dedicated to the project so far, both convened by Cornwall Council:

  • Creative Conversations I: Online, April 23rd and 29th 2021
  • Creative Conversations II: Kresen Kernow, October 20th 2021. At this latter event, Abigail Wincott, Lucy Frears and Andy Chatfield presented presented their findings.

Project team

This research wouldn't have been possible without the generosity and insight of creatives in Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly (CIoS), who shared their experience with us in workshops, surveys and in-depth stake-holder conversations. We'd like to thank all the participants who combined dedicated over 120 hours of their time to take part in the study.

Thanks to all the participants of the "Creative Conversations: Creative Hubs". Thanks also to Emily Kent, Head of Culture, Economy and Skills, Cornwall Council; Iain Mackelworth, Head of Investment and Growth, Cornwall Council and the Economic Growth Intelligence Team, Cornwall Council.

Project Lead:

  • Prof. David Prior, Director of Research (Falmouth)

Project coordinator:

  • Mhairi Ambler, Senior R&I Projects Officer (Falmouth)

Cornwall Council Leads:

  • Tamzyn Smith, Principle Lead for Culture and Creative Industries (Cornwall Council)
  • Léa Guzzo, Senior Culture and Creative Industries Officer (Cornwall Council)

Report Authors:

  • Ellen O'Hara
  • Deepa Naik
  • Dr. Ceri Gorton

Academic Researchers:

  • Dr. Abigail Wincott, Senior Lecturer in Journalism and Communication (Falmouth)
  • Andy Chatfield, Senior Lecturer, Production Journalism
  • Dr. Lucy Frears, Associate Lecturer (Falmouth)

Graphic Designer: 

  • Katie Puremont

Picture Editor and lead for design: 

  • Katie Murphy, Head of Design (Falmouth)


  • Jo Cooper, Management Accountant (Falmouth)

Proof Reading: 

  • Natasha Michell, Vice-Chancellor's project officer

Council support:

  • Vicky Reece-Romain, Cultural Officer
  • Caitlin McLintock, Culture and Creative Industries Apprentice (Cornwall Council)
Professor David Prior staff image
Professor David Prior staff image

Professor David Prior - Project lead

As part of this role, David manages the Research and Development team and has oversight of the University's submission to the Research Excellence Framework 2021 (REF) and the University's preparation for research degree awarding powers (RDAP). Working with the Professoriate, Academic Directors and Research Supervisory teams, David also leads the recruitment and development of a thriving community of postgraduate research students, while overseeing the delivery of research student and supervisor training and development. In this latter role, David is co-director of the AHRC-funded 3D3 Centre for Doctoral Training.

Staff profile


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Cornwall Council

The Creative Hubs project was commissioned and developed in partnership with Cornwall Council.

Cornwall Council

Jonsam Events

Jonsam Events

Elisa Cunningham | Instagram

Elisa Cunningham | Instagram

Elisa Cunningham | Website

Elisa Cunningham | Website


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Research England

Research England is a council within UK Research and Innovation. Research England oversee UK Researc...

Research England

Impact and recognition

Cornwall Council is working with Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly's creative sector to prioritise, support and then with key partners and creative hubs, collectively deliver the recommendations outlined in this report.

Project media