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Title: Experiencing contemporary arts organisations in rural places : arts practices and disruption in North East England and Scotland
Authors: Rowe, Frances Mary
Issue Date: 2019
Publisher: Newcastle University
Abstract: The research explores contemporary visual arts organisations and their arts practices. Taking recent frameworks of cultural value as a point of departure, it focuses on how these practices are experienced. It asks how might these practices impact rural people and places, and disrupt rural identities? The research employed exploratory case studies of three contemporary visual arts organisations and their arts practices in rural locations in England and Scotland. It focussed on ‘moments’ of disruption in each location through specific arts projects, and how these were experienced by different actors. Qualitative data were collected through in-depth interviews, along with analysis of texts and items of visual material such as video and photographs. This was complemented by participant observation of the arts organisations ‘at work’ in each location. The research found that contemporary arts organisations are positioned within a creative practice of ‘the post-studio, site responsive artist and roving global curator’. As neo-endogenous cultural actors, they are networked extra locally, yet remain responsive to rural place and context in distinctive ways. The research suggests a continuing struggle over the ways in which cultural identities of place in the rural are disrupted and maintained. It further reveals the processes of change and resistance implicit in the creation of cultural place identities, and in the maintenance of actors’ sense of place. It suggests an ongoing tension between constructions of the rural as traditional and modern, with contemporary arts practices seen by some as urban signifiers of modernity, and ‘out of place’ in the countryside. For others, they were ‘in place’, markers of cultural diversity that reinforced their identities as culturally literate actors, and enhanced their sense of place. The findings suggest an interpretation of the rural as a site of dynamic cultural change alongside more traditional cultural practices and perspectives.
Description: PhD Thesis
Appears in Collections:School of Natural and Environmental Sciences

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