Fiona Wotton - look group image

©Ian Kingsnorth Photography ©Tate St Ives.

Members of the Look Group Network visiting an exhibition at Tate St Ives.

Community sustainability in Cornwall

University of Exeter

Sustainable communities are communities planned, built or modified to promote sustainable living. University of Exeter PhD student Fiona Wotton is exploring the conditions for community sustainability in Cornwall, focusing on the interactions between and within, different levels of government attempting to create an environment in which communities can sustain themselves. 

Literature on community sustainability is dominated by studies which highlight the importance of environmental action such as, energy generation, shared transport or local food networks. Fiona explored whether interventions with a different emphasis, such as, visual art, culture and learning could also bring about sustainable outcomes for communities.

Fiona worked with Cornwall’s Look Group Network – a partnership between Tate St Ives and Cornwall Council, which connected hard to reach and remote communities with the purpose of discussing ideas around art.

Fiona met with a number of the network groups to document their experiences and interviewed representatives of the partner organisations. She is still analysing the data but has found strong themes emerging across the data sets which point to a set of conditions which either supported or undermined the sustainability of the groups.

Key themes from the data which are of particular interest for Cornwall are the impact of tourism and migration on communities and the benefits of a vibrant creative industries sector.