Relational rural, Artists, Professional Workers, Culture, Precariousness, Precarity, Creative economy, Sustainability
This paper explores rural-based artists' experiences of achieving sustainable livelihoods in rural localities as part of emerging discussions about the significance of culture and the cultural economy for rural development and sustainability. It applies Throsby's (1992) categorization of artists based on their employment conditions: a) ‘initial creative artists, i.e. writers, visual artists, craftspeople, composers, and b) performing artists (actors, dancers, musicians)’ (p.201–202). Based on semi-structured interviews with artists in Ireland, Wales and north-east England, and drawing on relational understandings of rurality, it examines how livelihood precariousness in the rural is shaped by a) dominant creative economy policy and institutional narratives that promote the rural creative economy as a development opportunity for the rural; b) challenges to artists' professional identities and their efforts to resisting exploitation and devaluation of their creative labour; c) the ways in which local rural communities themselves recognize and support artists' skills and labour as a social, cultural and economic resource that contributes to rural sustainability.