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Title: Culture, creativity and the arts : building resilience in Northern Ontario
Author: Ortiz, Jude
ISNI:       0000 0004 6062 1116
Awarding Body: University of the West of England
Current Institution: University of the West of England, Bristol
Date of Award: 2017
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This thesis investigates the contribution of the arts to resilience within the context of Northern Ontario, a vast, sparsely populated geographical region dotted with isolated, remote, rural and smaller urban communities whose economies are based primarily on resource extraction. Industry restructuring, and other pressing issues related to globalization are forcing communities to rapidly adapt to survive. Resilience is commonly understood as a community’s capacity to resist adverse conditions, economic or otherwise, and an ability to adapt, transition and prosper through change while retaining its core values (Lewis and Lockhart, 2002). The arts have been hailed as economic drivers in the creative economy and many, primarily, urban centres are attempting to harness the arts in this regard; however, in the North there is limited understanding of the links between culture, community development and the economy. They are typically seen within traditional economic frameworks, i.e. tangible outputs of cultural products with limited viability in generating wealth. This perspective poses challenges in utilizing creative assets in transitioning through significant change. While the arts are widely recognized as contributing to resilience less understood is how engaging in the arts strengthens community identity and fosters the emergence of a local culture-based economy, generally, and the critical role artists in rural communities play in achieving such, specifically. The study utilized action research to investigate the sector’s role in building resilience in rural communities. It studied the contribution of individual creative practice and art sector collaboration to developing skills and providing social and commercial infrastructure necessary for successful transitioning and continual adaptation. It is organized into individual, sectoral and broader community resilience to illustrate benefits of each level and the significance of interconnectivity and between them. The research indicates that processes inherent to engagement in the arts fosters divergent perspectives, creative problem solving and an ability to work with complexity, emergence and uncertainty at an individual and community level; all important skills to deal with change. The production of cultural goods leads to increased understanding of self and others in the context of place, enabling identity reformation and belonging, health and well-being and agency, as well as the development of a localized economy. Furthermore, the research highlights similarities between artistic and community developers’ practice suggesting that capacities gained through engaging in the arts parallel those necessary for developers’ to work effectively within emergent, inclusive, and holistic approaches that underpin continuous community adaptation in addressing change.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: resilience ; culture ; creativity ; arts ; creative practice ; transitioning