Getting to know the island: Artistic experiments in rural community development

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This paper makes an original contribution to our understandings of the relational role of artistic practice as part of rural community development. Art-led initiatives are now commonplace in rural development strategies. However, the effects of art in rural community, particularly beyond economic development, have received little attention. In this paper we seek to address this omission by exploring artistic ex- periments as part of community development processes. Theoretically, we draw on relational un- derstandings of art from art studies. Empirically, the paper utilises data collected through a one-year experimental study involving ethnography and artistic interventions in the community of the Holy Island of Lindisfarne in the north east of England. By directing our consideration of art via Liepins' framework (2000a) for ‘reading’ the community, we reveal artistic practice itself as a way to ‘read relationships’. Rather than a tool for solving community problems, we conceptualise artistic practice as a ‘diagnostic’. © 2015 The Authors. Published by Elsevier Ltd. This is an open access article under the CC BY license
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)134-144
JournalJournal of Rural Studies
Early online date24 Dec 2015
Publication statusPublished - Feb 2016


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