Creative Forces

Communities, Cultures, Economies

Welcome to Creative Forces! Here you can learn all about the Canadian research project Creative Economies: Exploring the nexus of culture and tourism in rural and peripheral Canada. You can also get to know our research team and find out how to connect with us if you are interested in the creative forces driving community and economic development in Canada and beyond!

The project is now over but we continue to learn and share all about how creative economies are positively impacting our communities.

We would like to thank all of the community members who contributed to meetings and workshops throughout the project - Thank You!

Vancouver Island University and the World Leisure Centre of Excellence acknowledge and thank the Snuneymuxw, Quw’utsun, Tla’Amin, Snaw-naw-as and Qualicum First Nation on whose traditional lands we research and share knowledge.

The World Leisure Centre of Excellence (WLCE) at Vancouver Island University (VIU) is a globally-connected (part of the World Leisure Organisation) and locally-engaged (Vancouver Island and Western Canada) research centre based in the Department of Recreation and Tourism at VIU in Nanaimo, British Columbia.

Drs. Brouder and de la Barre - SSHRC Insight Development Grant (Approval notification, June 2019)

Department of Recreation and Tourism

Vancouver Island University

Project Title: Creative economies: exploring the nexus of culture and tourism in rural and peripheral Canada

Project Description - Summary

Words like ‘creative’ and ‘innovative’ are often reserved for the most geographically central places with high population growth and high technology sectors. This is reflected in studies which focus on creativity in central places that have a lot of creativity to be studied. However, through cultural tourism in rural and peripheral communities, we have a window on another kind of creativity in another kind of place. Such communities have a strong tradition of innovation as they thrived by carving out a place to live in an often unforgiving environment. Many remote communities have been home to Indigenous peoples for countless generations and these groups have lived with the land by displaying incredible resourcefulness. However, today many rural and peripheral communities are suffering multiple blows to their social cohesion including a lack of employment and a lack of community services. This project addresses community resilience through creative tourism.

Tourism is a naturally interdisciplinary field of inquiry which, as an applied field, can play a role in rural development through place-based, community-led effort. The role of cultural and creative economies in such communities is under-researched, yet place-based development (including developing cultural capital) has been central to tourism studies. Thus, developments at the intersection of tourism and cultural economies represent key processes with potentially high societal and economic impacts. Tourism (and cultural tourism in particular) is one of the few growing economic sectors which also have the potential to help realise inclusive and innovative societies. As a priority sector that supports economic diversification in resource extraction-based economic regions, tourism is also one of the leading sectors in (economic) reconciliation with Indigenous communities in Canada through the growth of cultural tourism.

This project includes cases from northwestern Canada (BC and Yukon) and offers a sympathetic critique of creative tourism, highlighting both the potential and challenges it presents. This involves analyses of scale (e.g. Whitehorse is a creative outpost in an international context yet central in the Yukon context) and scope (i.e. creative tourism is more than the creative industries although arts and culture are central to the development of creative tourism in the north) and detailed analyses of how place specific governance structures support and/or restrict creative producers and community economic development, as well as how arts and culture producers find support in the growing tourism economy. The project builds on the CREATOUR creative tourism EU project in Portugal (whose leader is the Collaborator on this project) and highlights the contextual aspects of creative tourism in northwestern Canada, with outcomes including best practices for measuring the emerging creative and cultural economies and lessons learned to be shared across Canada and beyond.

The research builds on the previous collaboration of the Applicant and Co-applicant with community partners in Yukon (i.e. further developing community-based research ideas which came out of the SSHRC supported 6th International Polar Tourism Research Network conference, a community-based event co-organised with Yukon First Nations Culture and Tourism Association) and extends the research to include the communities of Terrace and Prince Rupert in northern BC (where new partners including Terrace and District Arts Council and the North Coast Innovation Lab have been identified as relevant and ready to participate). We will work with partners to co-design solution oriented development strategies and engage in capacity in capacity building for sustainable creative economies.