Tuesday, 7 Dec 2021  |  Reading time:  12 mins  | Read online

Rural creative industries

This week’s Global Local Recap focuses on creative industries in rural and regional areas and how local governments can support them.  

How can creative industries assist rural populations? Creative industries offer a potential income source for rural communities transitioning from traditionally dominant industries, such as agriculture and forestry, including through tourism. Commerical and non-commercial creative practices can bring isolated communities together and help them to process challenges such as natural disasters, population changes and social cohesion.

How can rural creative projects work best? It is vital that rural arts projects are place-based, led by or clearly serving local communities and creating opportunities for open dialogue and fresh perspectives. Even if projects primarily seek to attract tourists, they should also involve and be accessible to local people to leave a positive legacy and have the greatest long-term impact.

What can local governments do? Local governments can create a platform for the arts in their area by supporting chambers of commerce or working with community groups to develop community assets like theatres, outdoor performance spaces or market spaces, often in conjunction with civic organisations. Municipalities can also establish creative hubs or artist residencies and offer targeted grant funding.

Who inspired us this week? This week we loved the creative manifesto for Cornwall, UK, the inspirational MEETINGS festival in Central and West Jutland, Denmark, and Regional Arts Australia’s guide to meaningful engagement with regional communities for cultural projects.

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This week's featured content

Rural creative industries

By Richard Leeming, LGIU Associate

No longer is the countryside simply a bucolic idyll of farms, woods, streams and birdsong. Increasingly, rural towns and villages are playing host to creative practitioners running micro-businesses from their kitchen tables.

While the rural creative companies have so far flourished under their own steam, research is showing that with some support, especially from councils, the sector could grow even faster, creating good, green jobs and delivering other contributions to public wellbeing.

As councils stand back and reconsider how their economies work as the Covid-19 pandemic plays out, its increasingly clear that policymakers and local councils in countryside areas need to understand and support rural creative economies.

More than any other economic sector, creative businesses benefit from proximity. By locating near each other in tight-knit groups they help each other and nurture innovation. These tight-knit groups are known as ‘creative clusters’ and research from the PEC shows that creative businesses are integral to local communities. They create a positive feedback loop because creative businesses and the people who work for them have a positive impact on the places where they live and work.

By providing significant economic and social value, creating jobs, developing skills and attracting investment, they therefore attract more creative businesses. In fact, research shows that each creative job can sustain another two jobs in local economies

So, how can we support these industries and harness the benefits for communities?

LGIU Global Local Highlights

 

Music Generation Offaly/Westmeath: Chambers Ireland award winner for ‘Sustaining the Arts’

Established in 2013 as part of Ireland’s national music education programme, MGOW has created a range of musician-led programmes that target children and young people. As MGOW's lead partner, the project saw Offaly County Council receive an award at the Chambers Ireland Excellence in Local Government awards in November 2020. 
Read our content here.

Swift Read: Cultural services and building back better

While cultural organisations continue to face significant challenges, the creative sector in England is resetting and looking ahead to ways they can support the post-pandemic recovery: this swift read spotlights a variety of relevant examples. 
Read our content here.

The role of creative and cultural sectors in economic recovery

This briefing looks at the role and impact of creative and cultural sectors in Australia. This includes understanding the economic and social wellbeing benefits of these sectors, the impacts of COVID-19, and how local governments can help these sectors to lead local economic recovery. 
Read our content here.

Innovation & Inspiration

Curated case studies and news from around the globe

Australia: Silo artworks bring vital tourism to remote communities

A series of large-scale murals on grain silos in remote regions across Australia have helped to attract tourists to communities affected by ongoing droughts, depopulation and industry decline. Nearly 50 silo art murals form a 8,500-kilometre trail across five states, depicting local community members or wildlife through bright and colourful designs. Many artworks have been created through partnerships with local councils, including Yarriambiack and West Wimmera Shire Councils in Victoria. A further 110 water towers have also been decorated with murals.
Australian Silo Art Trail Municipal Association of Victoria / West Wimmera Shire Council

Denmark: Multi-year video and performance project brings fresh perspectives on rural life

Central and West Jutland hosted international artists for residencies during the MEETINGS project from 2016 to 2019. Artists created new works responding to the rural area, developed through open conversations with local people. These and other themed artworks were displayed during festivals in 2017 and 2019, which were well-attended by the local community, in non-traditional locations such as fishing huts and abandoned houses around the Nissum Fjord. The project sought to spark new creative networks, discussions and ideas about how to improve local life. Led by non-profit ET4U, the project was funded by Lemvig Municipality and other partners.
IETM / Fernando García-Dory, Piotr Michałowski & Laura H Drane
ET4U / Contemporary Visual Art Projects Mid & Western Jutland

USA: Declaring the city an ‘Arts Campus’ helps tourism boom in rural Minnesota

Population 700, Lanesboro in Minnesota is a historic town known for its architecture, scenic nature, and more recently, its vibrant arts and cultural scene. In 2014, after engaging with the local people and identifying parallel goals between the council and Lanesboro Arts, the City of Lanesboro unanimously passed a resolution whereby the entire town was declared an Arts Campus. Since then, with aid from both local, state and federal funding, the town has been renovating facilities, helping artists relocate there and developing a rotating artist residency. The changes have seen a tourism and business boom – on an average summer weekend, the population can easily quadruple.
PEW Trust / Teresa Wiltz
Lanesboro Arts

AND FINALLY...

Japan: Local government uses rock music against bear attacks

A spike in bear attacks in the northern Japan region led to Iwate Prefectural Government commissioning a rock song to be played in shopping centres and other public locations across the region. Performed by a local duo, the song begins “So you think bear cubs are cute?” before offering helpful advice throughout with phrases such as “never turn your back and run away” and “trying to play dead doesn’t work” accompanying the uptempo drums and guitar backing. Authorities hope that people will recall the messages from the song if encountering a bear, helping to keep the public safe. 
The Guardian / Japan Times

Policy & Resources

Research, analysis and examples of policy in practice from leading institutes and places like yours

Strategies: ICMA’s Problem Solving Through Arts and Cultural Strategies provides an introduction to the application of creative placemaking strategies – problem-solving rooted in arts and culture – to address the complex issues facing communities today, such as confronting gentrification, police relations or environmental justice concerns. The guide presents the main tenets of creative placemaking, offers strategies to deploy, and provides case studies and resources.

Toolkit: This Regional Arts Australia toolkit offers guidelines for meaningfully engaging and partnering with regional communities for cultural projects. It highlights the importance of building lasting relationships with communities, respecting the knowledge, needs and character of host regions and taking time to develop a stronger project with a positive legacy.

Policy: Beyond the Urban: Contemporary Arts and Culture as Keys to a Sustainable and Cohesive Europe is the result of a collaboration between the ENCC, Culture Action Europe, IETM and Trans Europe Halles. The paper succinctly highlights the significance of culture and the arts in non-urban and peripheral areas, identifies challenges for the many existing and potential projects in those areas, and offers policy solutions at multiple governance levels.

Case studies: This paper explores how arts and culture can help to address public health challenges and strengthen communities. Produced by the University of Florida Center for Arts in Medicine and ArtPlace America, it highlights USA case studies relating to issues such as collective trauma and rural mental health.

Interested in more LGIU Global Local content?

Supporting prison leavers back into communities

As part of last month's Global Local Recap on crime prevention and rehabilitation, Ana Oppenheim, from the London-based charity Switchback, writes about supporting prison leavers in the community through mentorship and partnerships. 
Read the blog here.

Twelve briefings of Christmas

At LGIU, we are feeling the giving spirit this year and would like to showcase our most-popular briefings throughout 2021 with both members and followers. From 1st – 12th, you will find a new briefing every day in this virtual advent calendar. Access is only available in December for followers. 
Read our content here!

Thanks for reading!

Next week, we'll be reflecting on the Global Local Recap in 2021, taking a fresh look at some of the content you engaged with the most. In two weeks’ time, we’ll showcase spectacular town hall lights displays to celebrate the festive season.

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