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Moor than meets the eye: a cultural heritage and sustainable future for Cornwall.

Sustainable Cornwall - The Cultural Connection

The Environment and Sustainability Institute (ESI) recently hosted a conference – organised and led by the University’s Institute of Cornish Studies (ICS) – to consider the role and importance of Cornish culture and identity in developing a sustainable Cornwall for the future.

A wide range of delegates attended, including those from the public sector (policy makers), cultural organisations, environmental and community groups, social enterprises, businesses and the wider general public. Discussions throughout the day centred on knowledge exchange, the fostering of new ideas for interdisciplinary cultural research, as well as on possible collaboration, partnership and the strengthening of links with both the ICS and ESI.

Delegates discussed ecosystem services and cultural services. The former is an increasingly important concept that transcends scientific, political, social and economic boundaries. It attempts to understand our dependencies and impacts on a range of environmental goods and services that individuals, communities, businesses and organisations depend on for wellbeing and prosperity. Cultural services comprises the non-material benefits people obtain from ecosystems including cultural heritage, recreation and tourism.

The day saw a series of short presentations and discussions on broad questions, including:

  • What would a sustainable Cornwall look like?
  • How resilient is the Cornish community and how can we make the region stronger?
  • Is community action more effective than a top-down approach?
  • How can we learn from the past to develop a sustainable future?
  • How critical is cultural heritage in stimulating sustainable policies for future generations?
  • What is the value of Cornwall’s cultural and heritage assets and how do you quantify these?

, Research and Knowledge Exchange Manager at the ESI said: “This collaborative conference provided a platform for rich discussions around the vision of a sustainable Cornwall and how that might be mobilised through policy-making, community action, research and behavioural changes.  The day’s interdisciplinary nature enabled new connections to be made and, through the lens of culture, heritage and identity, helped frame the debate on perceived sustainability challenges the region faces and how it can manage transformative change.”

You can listen to podcasts of all the speakers and watch a short video summarising the day.

Date: 15 December 2014