I was fortunate to steal away from my desk on Tuesday of this week to attend a one-day Creative Rural Economy Conference in Kingston. The day provided me with better insights into what some of the leading local and international Creative Economy experts and practitioners are thinking, but there were two specific points throughout my day that really caught my attention.
The highlight of my day was the afternoon plenary session delivered by Peter Kenyon. Running on about 5 hours of sleep, due to his day and a half long journey from Perth Australia, and given one of the most difficult timeslots in the day - immediately after lunch - Peter was able to capture everyone's attention with both his energy and his story-telling style of delivering his message. His views on Creative Economies and his use of real life examples - Margaret River in Western Australia - were very insightful and allowed the audience to follow the progression of a community that truly evolved due to its local GEOGRAPHY as well as creative and cultural influences. Lucky for me, I sat beside Peter for lunch and am looking forward to continuing our discussion on Asset Based Community Development this Friday in North Gower at another workshop he is presenting on behalf of the Rural Ontario Institute. If anyone gets a chance to hear Peter speak, take advantage of the opportunity and enjoy the experience.
The other point of the day that grabbed my attention was the presentation by Craig Desjardins, Executive Director, Prince Edward/Lennox & Addington CFDC. Craig was speaking on "Challenges and Solutions for Creative Sector Businesses" and I thought the way he outlined the barriers (and solutions) to rural creative sector businesses was right on the mark. The main barriers that Craig outlined were as follows:
- Infrastructure Issues (ie. Broadband)
- Lack of Human Capital
- Innovation Issues
- Investment Capital Issues
- Intangible Issues (ie. Vibrant Networks, Culture of Collaboration, etc.).
I truly enjoyed the day, and came away with some new insights and perspectives on the rural Creative Economy.