Through ethnographic research over 18 months, in an economically disadvantaged area of rural Scotland, I examined the support needs of creative practitioners operating in multiple sectors of the creative industries, including architecture, radio, digital and fashion textiles.
This was done through interviews and observations in the context and directly working with research participants to solve a problems or progress ideas through design processes that support their work. The project identified the structural strengths and weaknesses of rural creative practice, looking at how individuals and organisations interacted and communicated their services in and beyond their community.
The research revealed gaps in enterprise support that held back individuals, particularly women and small organisations generating income through creative work. There are known policy biases towards urban places as centres for creative production, these were examined during the research, alongside the tensions created by tourism as a key driver of rural economies which generates polices and initiatives that only support the 'traditional' sectors of creative work in rural places.
The initial MRes led onto a significant piece of self directed research to improve the quality of support for freelance and home based practitioners. This has informed the development of Dunoon and Cowal Co-works, a peer to peer support network which now includes the first rurally located chapter of Ladies of Wine and Design.
I am a designer and researcher with a background in social enterprise and a passion for #positivegrowth. I work with a wide range of clients including, national charities, social enterprises and creative practitioners to develop and deploy design strategies that strengthen the sustainability of work and communities, regardless of location.