Enhancing the creative rural sector’s potential £2 billion p.a. (GVA) contribution to the national economy by 2024.

A report (revised) to the House of Lords Rural Economy Committee (September 2018)

£2 billion (GVA) p.a. – Unlocking the full economic potential of Britain’s creative and digital rural economies – the CaDRE R&D initiative

A summary of the report’s main recommendations:

Recommendations for the adoption of CaDRE – a national creative and digital rural economy investment strategy

In support of the development of the above CaDRE – Creative and Digital Rural Economy initiative, the report’s main recommendations to the House of Lords Rural Economy Committee are as follows:

  1. That the adoption of a dedicated national creative rural economy investment and R&D initiative should be expedited; the intellectual, social, political and economic arguments (i.e. the Government’s Industrial strategy) for this are now compelling;
  2. A wider informed public debate leading to the formulation of a democratic rural cultural mandate is now long overdue. Whereby grassroots rural communities, rural support NGOs, rural artists, farmers and rural policy makers, academics, etc., could have a greater say and a more direct input into setting future arts and cultural funding and creative economy (CI) investment policy priorities for rural areas;
  3. Proposals for a national rural cultural strategy, as endorsed in Parliament (via an EDM 252, 17/06/2013) and supported in principle by the lead grassroots rural community, rural NGOs, academic, and art practitioner communities, should also be adopted; without this the vital post‐Brexit creative rural economy contribution to the Government’s Industrial Strategy may struggle and, ultimately, could fail;
  4. Mainstream (DEFRA) agriculture diversification, animal welfare, agri‐tech, sustainable food and farming, rural tourism, environmental sustainability, rural development policy initiatives, etc., could also benefit considerably by having a dedicated rural cultural policy framework and supporting creative rural economy investment strategy in place;
  5. A new set of critical (rural) art practices and radical (i.e. disruptive innovation) cultural strategies is also needed that could be deployed more quickly and effectively when in dealing with some of the major economic, public health and environmental crises now emerging in rural areas; i.e. the Hyper Rural:
    1. ‘art and pandemics’ as a response to and in managing possible future Zoonose pandemics;
    2. ‘art and the anthropocene’ which could perhaps also help with finding creative solutions to major flooding and climate warming effects in rural areas;
    3. ‘art and agriculture’ – agriculture sits at the heart of culture – proposes a major cultural policy sector response to some of the radical changes (economic, social, health, technological, environmental) now taking place within the agricultural sector.
  6. The Government, if it was so disposed, could perhaps instruct DCMS and the Arts Council to ring‐fence £20 million from the approximately c. £700 million p.a. (Grant in Aid – GiA and Arts Lottery) funding that ACE has available annually to support future development of the nation’s cultural, social and economic well being. This funding should also be earmarked specifically for the implementation of a five year (2019 ‐ 2024) creative rural economy and culture‐led rural regeneration investment programme;
  7. An interim creative rural economy advisory panel, and/or rural cultural policy strategy think tank should be set up as matter of some urgency to help coordinate and implement some of the above. This would include representatives from the leading grassroots rural community advocacy organisations and rural NGOs, in partnership with DEFRA, DCMS, ACE, Creative England and the Creative Industries Federation, etc.
  8. The pioneering national creative rural economy work would also greatly benefit by having the endorsement and support of the House of Lords Rural Economy Committee. Which might further attract support for the possible establishment of a Creative and Digital Rural Economy APG in the House of Commons.

Dr Ian Hunter – CaDRE – Creative and Digital Rural Economy R&D initiative