A Great Big Cornish Welcome for G7 World Leaders
Posted on January 20th, 2021
Looks like Joe Biden, Emmanuel Macron and Angela Merkel plus a gaggle of other world leaders will be heading to West Cornwall this summer for the G7 summit, and there is no doubt it is polarising opinion.
Some feel that it is too soon to be bringing hundreds if not thousands of people to our region amid a global pandemic. Others are questioning the carbon impact of such an event. Many are highlighting how important it is that Cornwall doesn’t (yet again) get simply whitewashed as a tourist destination. These are all valid points, however, in the words of our Artistic Director Will Coleman, who recently appeared on BBC Radio Cornwall’s afternoon show, “‘Kernow yw tyller an gwella y’n norvys!’ (Cornwall is the best patch of the whole planet!) So it’s not surprising that everyone wants a slice. I try to concentrate on things where I have the power to make a difference. If all these world leaders are going to come here, let’s do our best to make sure they know they’ve been to Kernow, and that there’s some legacy and benefit to the people of Cornwall.”
BBC Radio Cornwall invited Will on to talk about the summit, as there has been a flurry of social media activity clamouring for the Man Engine to be resurrected and greet the G7 guests with a hearty ‘Kernow a’gas dynargh Hembrenkysi a’n Bys!’ (World Leaders Welcome to Cornwall!)
With our Big Boy representing Cornwall’s rich mining heritage, it got us thinking about how Cornwall is connected to every one of the nations who will be visiting. Four thousand years ago we kick-started the ‘Bronze Age’, trading tin and gold from Cornish streams all along the western seaboard of Europe, down through France, throughout the Mediterranean, Italy and right across Germany.
Two hundred years ago we kick-started the ‘Steam Age’, when the expertise and endeavour of Cornish miners transformed technology right across the globe; places such as USA, Canada, Japan (Richard Trevithick’s son built the first Japanese railway system), and especially Australia, where there is a town known as ‘Little Cornwall’ in the south.
Now, Cornwall is once more leading the way into the ‘Lithium Age’ with a greener, cleaner way of tapping into our incredible geological treasures (lithium and geothermal energy). With Boris Johnson urging world leaders to unite around a green recovery and ‘building back better’ from the pandemic, it is no surprise that Cornwall has been chosen as the place to host such a timely event.
In his interview, Will went on to say:
“There is only one question the summit should be asking: how do we human beings live together peacefully on this tiny planet, without further depleting the earth’s resources and devastating our fragile ecosystems?”
Furthermore, with the devastation caused to Cornwall’s economy and people’s livelihoods by the pandemic, how can we ‘build back better’ in an environmentally, socially and economically sustainable way?
Here at Golden Tree Productions, Kerdroya: The Cornish Landscape Labyrinth is our tuppence. We are working to transform a disused car park into a 56m diameter classical labyrinth, celebrating the Cornwall Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB) and the humble Cornish hedge. We are also partnering with the Guild of Cornish Hedgers to launch the ‘Outdoor University of Cornish Hedging’, training up a whole new cohort to become master hedgers. We will be passing on the ancient skills of a craft that recycles available material, providing a habitat for 600 flowering species and 10,000 invertebrates, many of which are critical pollinators.
At the end of last year, Cornwall Council’s Culture and Creative Economy team released Cornwall’s Creative Manifesto 2021-2025, aimed at fostering Cornish culture and creativity. It outlines how Cornwall’s creative economy underpins wider economic growth, productivity aspirations, inclusivity and sustainability goals, and international reach. The G7 summit is a brilliant way to see some of these aims actualised on a global stage.
So, will the Man Engine return to give our international world leaders a Great Cornish Welcome? Who knows. If you have enough dosh in the bank to sponsor such an event, feel free to get in touch! But what we do know is that the G7 summit is a remarkable opportunity to showcase Cornwall as the creative, culturally rich, forward-thinking, outward-looking place that it is.
(Oh, and please can we invite our own favourite world leader, Jacinda Ardern of New Zealand, to set the pace for honesty, integrity and vision?)