This article develops understanding of cultural and digital capital in order to evaluate the contribution of creative practitioners to rural community resilience. Online practices today impact on creative work in rural locales in a number of ways. However, exactly how they extend ‘reach’ and contribute to rural creativity deserves greater attention. We examine how broadband Internet access and online practices impact on rural creative work and, in turn, how this enables creatives to participate at different levels in their rural communities, thus contributing to research into both rural community resilience and rural creative economies by providing in-depth qualitative analysis. Through interviews undertaken in rural Scotland, the article outlines the implications of poor rural Internet connectivity for creative economies and explores the impact of this on the role of creatives in their rural communities and their ‘community-focused’ creative activities. Our findings suggest creative practitioners are using digital technologies and adaptive approaches to overcome barriers to connectivity and to remain in rural locations. Creatives are invested in their communities and their rurality on a number of levels, contributing to community resilience through building cultural capital in diverse ways, and to ‘ripple effects’ from online activities.
The research described here is supported by the award made by the RCUK Digital Economy programme to the dot.rural Digital Economy Hub; award reference: EP/G066051/1. Thanks to John Farrington, Sarah Skerratt, Gorry Fairhurst, Claire Wallace, the research participants and the two anonymous reviewers.