Cornwall’s major new visual arts festival reflects on success of first year

Cornwall’s major new visual arts festival reflects on success of first year


  • The major new visual arts festival for the Duchy saw over 10,000 visits to exhibitions and installations
  • Running from 21-22 October 2023, the festival brought internationally significant work to Cornwall – including a Turner Prize nominated artist
  • Four Cornwall-based artists were commissioned to make new work for the event
  • Part of Creative Kernow’s Extraordinary Art in Everyday Places Project, funded by the UK Shared Prosperity Fund

Creative Kernow are reflecting on the success of the inaugural Flamm Festival that took place in Redruth at the end of October. The new arts festival attracted over 10,000 visits to exhibitions and installations over the festival weekend.

Funded by the Cornwall and Isles of Scilly Good Growth programme, which is managed by Cornwall Council, the festival brought internationally important work to Cornwall and gave major commissions to four Cornwall-based artists. The vision is that Flamm will move to a different Cornish town in 2024, and each subsequent festival will be hosted in a new town.

The festival also marked the final event delivered with the support of Cultivator, an EU funded business support programme for the creative industries within Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly.

Flamm festival brought over 1,300 visitors into the town across 21-22 October, with 88% of the visitors sharing that the festival was their primary reason for visiting Redruth that weekend. Feedback from visitors has been overwhelmingly positive.

One visitor said: “It was great to see all the spaces in Redruth being brought to life at the same time and to feel the buzz around the town. There were some very interesting and moving artworks – many of which were directly inspired by Redruth.”

The festival’s survey showed 98% of respondents also said they’d like to see more future events like Flamm taking place across Cornwall, while they list benefits to local businesses, health and wellbeing and social activities.

Tonia Lu, festival producer, said: “We were actually quite overwhelmed by how many people turned up for the festival – and we are pleased to have many Redruth community members and volunteers who have helped with the event. We really couldn’t have done it without them. The success really builds on the efforts artists and arts organisations made in the last 20 years, from the More Cornwall festival in 2000s, to Inland Festival in 2010s, and to the most recent Redruth Unlimited programme as part of the Redruth High Street Heritage Action Zone. It was smiling faces all round over the weekend, and we can’t wait to do it all over again.”

The free festival offered a wide-ranging programme of temporary public artwork, exhibitions, performances and workshops throughout Redruth – including a screening of Turner Prize nominee Heather Phillipson’s new commission Dreamland at the Regal Cinema.

Festival highlights from the Cornwall-based artists include Sovay Berriman’s landmark Gwyrdh Glas project exploring Cornish identity and its relationship with heritage and land, bringing a contemporary voice to the conversations the subject, Organised Atoms by Then Try This invited participants to interact with the crystal structures of Cornish minerals and they take part in our every day digital world.

Abigail Reynold’s Core, an art rave created by sampling the sounds of Redruth quarry that replicates the former rhythms of an industry with contemporary electronic beats. Patrick Lowry’s Metro: Red River Line imagined a new metro line in Redruth.

Patrick Lowry said: “I feel that that Flamm from the outset was conceived as an ambitious and exiting project, building on the growing art ecology that was already established in Redruth. The connection to the well-respected Art Night programme added an important dimension to this giving it national connectivity and profile.”

Flamm involved many events and projects led by local creatives and communities, taking place throughout the town during the festival weekend, from creative workshops to music performances.

Exhibiting Flamm artist Carys Wilson said: I really hope that Flamm continues, around Cornwall. It is definitely something I would be involved with again. I have been so excited to have been part of this, and it has been really good for me to exhibit with other people, discuss ideas surrounding the work with other artists and to feel like I am part of a bigger project – it has done my sense of being an artist a huge amount of good.”

Flamm was part of Creative Kernow’s Extraordinary Art in Everyday Places project which has received £327,500 from the Good Growth Programme, which is funded by the Government’s UK Shared Prosperity Fund. The festival was also funded by European Structural and Investment Fund, Arts Council England, and Cornwall Council via the Cultivator programme.

Louis Gardner, Cornwall Council cabinet portfolio holder for the economy, said: “The evaluation from Flamm demonstrates the value and impact the creative economy and cultural events can have on the vitality of towns, providing a boost to businesses and offering sustainable opportunities for local communities. Flamm gave a platform for Cornwall-based artists and brought workshops, exhibitions and performances to the community, while at the same time drawing visitors to the town to benefit the local economy.”

The Good Growth programme is managed directly by Cornwall Council and funded with £132m from the Government’s £2.6 billion Shared Prosperity Fund, which aims to help level up communities across the UK, and £5.6m from the Rural Prosperity Fund.

Find out more about future plans for the next Flamm festival here:


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