Fostering Rural Resilience through Creativity and Arts-driven Entrepreneurship (RURAL CANVAS) is a project that aims to bring the two worlds of Art and Creative Industries on one hand, and rural areas in Europe on the other, to boost employability and entrepreneurial skillset of artists and creative workers in a rural context, as well as improve the understanding of art and creativity by the rural partners to create and ensure a common ground for cooperation, and to foster interdisciplinarity and facilitate rural resilience as a result.

The onslaught and duration of COVID-19 pandemic is threatening the future of artists, creators, and cultural workers in an unprecedented manner.

Social distancing and other measures in response to the COVID-19 crisis have hampered the job prospects of some subgroups of the Creative Industries, especially those of the performing arts and visual arts, causing postponements and cancellations of performances, exhibitions, cultural events, and other activities that are modes of securing livelihood and having a sense of purpose gained through the possibility of presenting one’s artistic work to audiences. Art and Creative Industries are the third largest employers in the EU, following behind constructions and the food sector (European Commission, 2016)

The closure of various venues, institutions, and companies pushed some professionals of the creative sector out of jobs and generated a shockwave to EU’s economy and growth perspectives. Rural areas have also been negatively affected, especially in regions with low levels of broadband connectivity, necessary to remote working and working from home. This project aims to bring creative workers and rural actors together to conceive sustainable solutions and new initiatives for Europe’s rural areas.

However, to make this happen, it is essential to identify the set of skills (entrepreneurial and 21CS), necessary to artists and creative workers for a successful interdisciplinary implementation of innovative, imaginative, and resilient arts-driven projects in rural context.

Collision between artistic skills and creativity on one hand, and entrepreneurial, hands-on knowledge on the other, bares a great potential for innovative solutions and resilient business models. Given that rural areas often suffer of the lack of innovation, artists and creative workers will be equipped with the necessary set of skills to conceive and implement arts-driven solutions to the challenges faced by the rural areas.

In this manner, artists and creative workers will be ignited with new skills to complement their primary profession, which will foster their employability in new entrepreneurial endeavours in rural areas.

Rural Canvas will rely on project-based and problem-based learning to up skill artists and creative workers, and will be highly collaborative, as one of its key outcomes will be the creation of implementable projects in rural areas. The process of up skilling creative workers will be actively shaped and driven by the Rurart Alliances, e.g. groups of relevant and competent stakeholders gathered in the first phase of this project.

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