Conference: ‘Arts, Enterprise and Place in the Rural Creative Economy’ (12th, 13th January 2022) NOW ONLINE

Dr Nancy Duxbury (Centre for Social Studies of the University of Coimbra)–keynote speaker

‘Arts, Enterprise and Place in the Rural Creative Economy’

12th + 13th January 2022


The full programme is now available here to download.

Keynote Speaker: Dr Nancy Duxbury (Senior Researcher, Centre for Social Studies of the University of Coimbra)

Nancy Duxbury, PhD, is a senior researcher and coordinator of the transdisciplinary thematic line “Urban Cultures, Sociabilities and Participation” at the Centre for Social Studies (CES) of the University of Coimbra, Portugal. She is also a member of the European Expert Network on Culture, and an Adjunct Professor at Simon Fraser University and Thompson Rivers University, Canada. Her research has examined cultural mapping approaches, creative tourism development in smaller places, cultural work in non-urban areas, and culture in local sustainable development, among other topics. She was the principal investigator of “CREATOUR: Creative Tourism Destination Development in Small Cities and Rural Areas,” a national research-and-application project (2016-2020) that catalyzed creative tourism pilot projects across four regions of Portugal. She is also the lead of the CES team in the European research project “UNCHARTED: Understanding, Capturing and Fostering the Societal Value of Culture” and a collaborator in the Canadian research project, “Creative Economies: Exploring the Nexus of Culture and Tourism in Rural and Peripheral Canada.” Among her publications, she was the lead co-editor of the books Cultural Mapping as Cultural Inquiry (2015) and Creative Tourism: Activating Cultural Resources and Engaging Creative Travellers (2021), and editor of Cultural Sustainability, Tourism, and Development: (Re)articulations in Tourism Contexts (2021).

Conference Call

This conference focuses upon the artistic people, communities and businesses in the rural creative economy and seeks to facilitate a discussion around invisible micro-economies inside the creative economy in rural areas. The call is for papers, roundtables and organised panels featuring academics, artists, musicians, promoters, festival/venue organisers, policy makers, and those involved in local authority or cultural tourism with an interest in any of the following and related areas:

  • The economic sustainability of artistic livelihoods in the rural creative economy
  • Enterprise and communities in music, venues and festival performing arts in the Rural Creative economy
  • Statistical invisibility and rural data sources for self-employed artists and micro- or part-time-enterprises
  • Relations between artistic genres, marketing and place in rural areas
  • Methodological approaches to rural creative economies
  • Fungibility of economic, social and cultural capital in rural place
  • Role of local government and the state in facilitating creative entrepreneurial rural areas
  • The branding and performance of rurality in music and art

This conference at Newcastle University brings together those researchers, practitioners and artists who study, govern, perform and/or make a living in the rural creative economy. The conference seeks to encourage a cross-disciplinary discussion between academics, practitioners and policy makers with interests in micro-enterprise and the rural creative economy.

The decade 2010-2020 in the UK has shown a continuous retreat and downsizing of the state in relation to cultural and arts policy and financial support, whilst much intellectual energy and research has been devoted to national cultural policy structures for the arts in the UK and elsewhere over the last twenty years. This has involved large and intensive debates about complex transdisciplinary areas such as: the social impact of the arts; the regenerative agency of creative place-making; cultural capital; the equitable distribution of state funding to different genres and regions of the UK and Ireland, and; the relationship(s) between the intrinsic and instrumental value of the arts. All of this is set against a public background and political narrative of austerity. Far less attention has been paid to small, local and rural enterprises, often sole traders or part-time, that carry on their production, performance and consumption of culture beyond the reach of the state or its agencies, and much of the ‘grey’ literature still focuses, and is predicated upon, urban cultures and notions of proximity. There is now a growing body of research that is beginning to address rural contexts directly espousing a joined-up approach to rural creative work and this event recognises that much of the cultural economy comprises micro-enterprises or sole traders in the British Isles and Ireland, who are simply not recognised in public statistics because they are statistically invisible. Either in terms of VAT, or as SMEs or micro-enterprises. Recent policy research suggests that the rural economy is now of growing importance to the national debate about the future of sustainability in Britain and Ireland, and there are moves to establish new statutory instruments for both local and national bodies in order to prioritize rural living and business. Local authorities have also radically reshaped their models of governance and funding for the arts and the rural creative economy, which is a topic requiring urgent attention from policy makers and the academy. Papers that deal with the social- and community-effects of partial and small creative enterprises in rural communities and how this changes, shapes and contributes (or not) to community life are welcome from international as well as UK/Irish contexts. This conference is for people working in the sector, musicians and artists and policy makers as well as academics, to come together to discuss these issues at Newcastle University at a time when the rural creative economy, urban flight and the sustainability of diverse incomes in the rural creative economy are more pressing than ever before.

This conference is part of the AHRC-funded project Music in the Rural Creative Economy, and welcomes approaches from those who wish to collaborate in this event.

All enquiries to:

Dr Simon McKerrell

Reader in Music and Society, Newcastle University, UK.