Hannah Clinch

In the rural context of Cowal, how are the Arts and Creative Industries emerging? What capacity do these industries have to contribute towards an inclusive regeneration agenda?

The interplay between community regeneration and creative enterprise is widely studied and researched within the contemporary urban context. The cultural planning model of regeneration, inspired by the work of Patrick Geddes and his observations about the interconnectivity between “Place, Work, Folk” are synthesised within current approaches to urban renewal. Latterly the work of Richard Florida has reignited debates around regeneration and the value creative people and their networks bring to the urban economy.

It has become standard to place culture, cultural heritage and the nurturing of creative enterprise at the heart of strategic planning and investment when cities embark on renewal. For creative entrepreneurs, this typically results in the formation of creative partnerships, creative hubs to provide access to shared working space and increased levels of support to develop innovative products and services. This incubation period aims to develop higher rates of business success and growth.

Elements of the regeneration phenomena can be scaled to work within a rural locale. However, within rural coastal towns, which statistically suffer from high levels of deprivation, seasonal population fluctuations, the digital divide and dramatic demographic challenges, the nuanced support needed by creative enterprises to achieve growth is less understood. Opportunities to evolve and innovate through collaboration, are hampered by the reality of being remote and physically removed from markets.

Accurate data on the size, scale and nature of rurally located creative enterprise is often patchy or simply absent. Subsequently, the ability of rural regeneration initiatives to work effectively with creative businesses and support growth is limited by a lack of essential information.

My research aims to address this gap in data by focusing on one place. Dunoon, the coastal town named in a 2013 report by the Scottish Agricultural College as “Scotland’s most vulnerable rural town”. By gathering quantitative data and studying the working practices of local creative enterprises, I aim to use these insights to co-create enterprise support services that respond effectively to the rural context and enable these enterprises to benefit from moves by the town to regenerate.

Research Keywords: cultural heritage, rural regeneration, nurturing creative enterprise,

Primary Supervisor: Dr Paul Smith

Contact: [email protected]

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