In September 2019, Cornwall’s new archive centre, Kresen Kernow, opened its doors to visitors. This large capital project breathed fresh life into the historic Redruth Brewery building, allowing it to become a home to 1.5 million manuscripts, photographs, maps, books and documents spanning 850 years of Cornwall’s history.

Golant Innovation's digital strategy helped Cornwall Council to win the £11.7m (the twelfth-largest grant awarded between 2013 and 2019) in funding from National Lottery Heritage Fund (NLHF) that made the project possible.

The Task

Golant Innovation was commissioned by Cornwall Council to create a digital strategy for Kresen Kernow, a new archive centre for Cornwall bringing together collections from across the county in a single space functioning as an archive, library, learning space and visitor attraction. Kresen Kernow was intended to become a centre for Cornish heritage and culture, as well as contributing to the regeneration of Redruth.

We were particularly keen to take part in this project because of our Cornish roots. Golant Innovation founder Patrick Towell grew up in Golant, less than 30 miles from Kresen Kernow’s new home in a converted Redruth brewery.

The Project

Golant Innovation brought a wide, evidence-based perspective on digital to the table, offering insights from other sectors and projects to inform our work with Kresen Kernow. A user-centred design approach informed our recommendations on developing audiences and driving engagement with Kresen Kernow’s diverse collections.

We undertook consultations with both internal and external stakeholders; multiple audiences with differing needs and expectations, including:

  • Council staff
  • Local museums and heritage attractions
  • Genealogists and historians
  • Educators and others.

Our work helped to elicit and develop shared aspirations, building a sense of ownership and investment in Kresen Kernow. Market research identified both direct and indirect competitors and determined how Kresen Kernow could be positioned within the wider context of the heritage sector in Cornwall.

We modelled potential future revenue, including identifying a range of revenue generation opportunities, and advised on long-term plans and sustainability. We also advised on delivery options, project planning and costs. Working alongside other specialist consultants, we helped the Kresen Kernow team to create an overall business plan that was informed by the digital strategy.

The Outcomes

Working collaboratively, we took a complex project with multiple stakeholders and created a clear, relevant strategy that enabled Kresen Kernow to move forward with its round two National Lottery Heritage Fund bid. As a result, Kresen Kernow received £11.7m in funding – the largest-ever NLHF grant to an archives project, and the twelfth largest grant in the period 2013-2019.

The new centre is set to be an essential force for driving regeneration in Redruth and the wider region:

“Kresen Kernow represents a local sense of belonging, distinctiveness and identity. The new home for Cornwall’s archive will nurture our own sense of identity and our ability to reach out to the global diaspora.”

Council Leader Julian German

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