Cities as Creative Ecologies
Recent attention has focused on the transformative promise of “creative cities” to drive economic growth, strengthen global branding and enhance citizens’ quality of life. Yet research examining how to invest in a city’s creative capacity has only begun to explore how cities work as complex social systems. What are the factors that contribute to and define the vitality of a city’s creative ecology? What informal, below-the-radar points of leverage and insight can be tapped? Who are the unidentified agents of change and growth?
To address these questions, Elizabeth Long Lingo, Ph.D., Assistant Director of the Curb Center, is leading a first-of-its-kind, multi-scholar study. With white papers in progress, Elizabeth and her colleagues are examining the system of creative enterprise in Nashville, TN: the audiences and creators, for-profits and non-profits, industries, occupations, events and places that contribute to the vitality of Nashville’s creative ecology. Insight gained from the research will be valuable to city and business leaders as well as arts professionals, cultural entrepreneurs and scholars.
At the heart of the project are five distinctive studies:
Assessing the Vitality of a City’s Creative Ecology: A New Framework: Elizabeth Long Lingo’s examination of the factors that define a vital creative system, offering city leaders and policy makers a new framework and set of criteria for investing in their cities’ creative capacities.
As part of this project, Lingo synthesized findings from the 2007 Nashville Art Summit, a first-of-its-kind opportunity for arts leaders to reflect collectively on the general state of their art forms, identify best practices and opportunities for change, and examine the factors that might foster the vitality of the Nashville arts scene as a whole.
The Row, the Street, and the Hood: Competing Imaginaries in the Nashville Music Scene: An ethnographic study of Nashville’s constellation of creative scenes conducted by Richard Lloyd
Artistic Professionals in a 21st century Service Economy: Pursuing the American Dream: an interview-based analysis of creative professionals’ strategies for pursuing the American Dream led by Dan Cornfield
Festival City: The Ecology of Urban Events and the Festivalization Hypothesis: an ethnographic assessment of a major festival—the CMA music festival—and its role in Nashville’s cultural ecology conducted by Jenn Lena and Jonathan Wynn
Nexus Work: Catalysts and Cultural Entrepreneurs in a City’s Creative Ecology: an exploration of the networks and nexus work of individuals involved in developing new business models, organizational practices, and creative outputs, led by Elizabeth Long Lingo.