We grew to love Redruth whilst working there on a small urban design project. It’s a place that like much of Cornwall is home to a huge amount of creativity, but the manifestation of that talent, skill and ingenuity is different here. In Redruth as well as arts and culture, creative thinkers have established an ethos of reuse and repurposing. When you walk through the town, a commitment to thrift and sustainable living is visible; rethinking and rejuvenating materials, products, buildings and great ideas.
Being Cornish but not coastal, Redruth’s economy isn’t built solely around tourism – which has advantages and disadvantages. We saw an opportunity to work with the place to help better articulate what sets it apart – to celebrate not only its Cornish identity but its individual identity too.
Along with our friends and collaborators CTConsults, we designed an engagement strategy with stakeholder consultation and a public survey. With a masterplan currently being worked on, locals were primed to think about the future of their town, and how it could be shaped.
We heard about the rise and fall of the local mining industry, we heard about how Cornwall is more than pasties and dialect but about community and that impossible-to-pin-down ‘Cornish spirit’. We learned about a town centre really struggling post-covid and understood the deep desire among locals to see their place rejuvenated – but authentically, thoughtfully and respectfully. Redruth isn’t St Ives or Falmouth, and it absolutely doesn’t want to be. That ‘Cornish spirit’ is different here, and we set out to articulate it in a set of place brand values.
The values speak of a place that is down-to-earth, independent and inclusive. It’s proudly making strides towards creating a locally circular economy that will grow as society moves towards a low-carbon future. It’s a place that’s had to be resilient, and wants to be resourceful as it finds ways to live up to its heritage stories of industry and invention.
One of the most exciting parts of this project was working with the council’s Cornish Language Unit to translate the place values into Cornish – the first bilingual place brand in the UK that we know of!