Conference Proceedings

Virtual Conference: The Role of the Arts and Cultural Capital in Rural Innovation and Entrepreneurship

February 23 & 25, 2021

The Rural Policy Research Institute hosted a virtual research agenda-setting conference on the important role that arts and cultural capital play in rural innovation, community well-being, and rural community sustainability and resiliency. The Conference supported a multi-faceted approach to explore the role of arts and culture in rural communities through both qualitative and quantitative studies. 

Watch Conference Presentations

Cultural capital expresses the identity of a community and contributes to a community’s sustainability and resiliency by providing an anchor of self-reference and through its interaction with and influence over the other community capitals such as natural, social, built, financial, and human capital.

The arts as a critical component of cultural capital can provide new insight on the role of imagination and aesthetics in the generation of new ideas and innovations. This innovation process has been largely overlooked or disregarded by economics and agreeing on the most appropriate indicators for measuring the defining characteristics and level of cultural capital in a community has been widely debated.

The comparative advantages of rural communities in the production of cultural capital and how this differs across rural geographies and with urban areas are other under researched topics.

This virtual conference will ask the research community to explore issues of rural cultural capital through basic research and through collaborations among researchers and the rural arts and culture research community.  Addressing what we do not know about rural arts and cultural capital and its importance in rural innovation and rural community resiliency and sustainability will be as critical to the future work of this research community as explaining what we do know.


Topics of interest include but are not limited to the following:

Additional questions for consideration can be found in The Rural Differential: A Literature Review at the Nexus of Arts & Culture, Creativity, Entrepreneurship, and Innovation, prepared by the Rural Cultural Wealth Lab.  A list of questions for further research considerations is presented on pages 16-17.

Learn about the eight types of wealth and the Comprehensive Rural Wealth Framework.


Research Questions

The Rural Cultural Wealth Lab released a new document for the conference, Rural Cultural Weatlh Research Priorities Final Feb 2021