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Cornwall 365 Ambassador of the Month: Manda Brookman

This month we’d like to welcome Manda Brookman as our Cultural Ambassador for September 2019.

Over on our Cornwall 365 Network site we run a monthly ambassador scheme to highlight some amazing individuals who work hard to promote Cornish culture and heritage. This month we wanted to feature Manda’s work as Director of CoaST and Permanently Brilliant through C365 What’s On, as part of our Sustainable September.

This month we’d like to welcome Manda Brookman as our Cultural Ambassador for September 2019. Manda is the Director of Permanently Brilliant, ‘a social enterprise catalysing network-based collective action’. This overarching project offshoots a series of programmes based around Practical work, Connection, Sanctuary and Change. These initiatives are addressed through the development of a permaculture project, Cornwall’s sustainable tourism network (CoaST) of which Manda is also Director, the Million Acts of Sanctuary and the Café Disruptif Network. Read on to find out more about Manda and what she loves about Cornwall.

1. Name / name of business / whereabouts in Cornwall are you based?

Manda Brookman, Director of Permanently Brilliant and CoaST, Cornwall’s One Planet Tourism, based near Hayle, but work across Cornwall and the UK.

2. What have you done to promote Cornwall’s heritage and culture?

Worked to make the connections between climate, people and place – in the past, the present and the future. Someone once said that heritage is what we hope to pass on to those ahead of us; I think if we are alive today, our responsbility is to make sure we create a legacy of life and hope for those ahead. Without a safe and just planet, where everyone is included, and we stop destroying the systems we rely on, we will have no heritage or culture to offer.

 3. What has been your most useful Cornwall 365 experience or tool?

The network! This is all about people and connection and relationships. Culture just means growth – not the getting bigger kind, but getting better, and learning, and growing. So finding the diversity of people and perspectives and hopes for the future is like finding treasure, the sort of treasure that feeds minds and soul.

4. Best experience you’ve experienced (in Cornwall)

Sitting on the beach with my children eating local food over an open fire watching the sun sink, and feeling profoundly connected to place. When we first moved to Cornwall, my son was two and my daughter five. We went to our first summer village fair, a part of the bones and heart of the local village culture; and on the way home, although way past their bedtime, I saw that the most extraordinary sun set was happening. As fast as I dare I drove the car to the coast, a ten minute drive, and then up the bumpy track to the cliff top; jumped out of the car, saw my son was asleep and got my daughter to jump out too; we stood on the cliff top and watched the immensity of a Cornish sun set – her very first, ever, she had seen having been brought up in Bristol til then. She gripped my hand and gasped at the sight before her; and turned to me and said, “Mummy, it makes me feel like you’re the Queen and I’m the Princess”.

She’s the most unprincessy, warrior-hearted young woman now, nearly 20 years later. But that was one of those seminal moments where place and people create an alchemy that can never be lost.

5. The family taken care of. The business is taken care of. What is your perfect day & evening in Cornwall?

Lucky enough to know crackling minds and hearts of people involved in music, the arts, climate, social justice and place means heading to the beach, or a beach bar, with a bunch of such fabulous mates, and just acknowledging that this must be one of the best places to spend a day, and evening, one can imagine.

6. You have free tickets to the performance of your choice. Who would you take with you (living or dead)?

Five suffragettes, to the beach to see and hear Shoreline. To ask them how we can use their experience, and the force of our cultural courage as a county, to fight against the monumental injustices of the climate emergency and poverty, inequality and forced migration we see it creating.

7. Most unusual performance space you have been to?

Dolcoath Mine! Theatre and music and visceral experience – and realising we are all of this place.

8. Best live music venue in Cornwall

My kitchen when I’m cooking with my family. And secondly – anywhere outside. Music is always better outside. And we are knee deep in such venues here.

9. Your favourite walk?

The walk out of St Ives heading west into the sunset. Get past the beaches, past the houses, and our onto the cliffs. Keep going and you stride deep into West Penwith – the most magical of magical.

10. Best place in Cornwall to get food?

Any farmers’ market, anywhere across the county … and the food places that buy from there too!

11. Name one, really different excursion

Just walking out of my door, into Penwith. Anywhere in Penwith. On foot. With my most loved ones.

12. What’s your 2nd best kept secret about Cornwall?

We should love what we have, and share it better with those who live here too but have so little access to so much of what there is available.

13. If not Cornwall, where?

Lancashire Moors. Of course. Where I was born, and raised, and where I learned to love the gratuitous gorgeousness of the land; and then in Orkney, where the marriage of the land with the ocean is celebrated daily.

14. If you feel there is a question we haven’t asked you that you would love to answer – go ahead!

How can we as the cultural and heritage tribe across the county throw ourselves into the transformational shift we need to deal with the carbon, climate, ecological and migration emergency unfolding across our shores, beaches and moors? This is our emergency. It’s on us. No time like the present.

To read about more Cornwall 365 Cultural Ambassadors visit our Network site: