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International conference to explore links between culture and development

By Rebecca Cohoe

In the past years, Newfoundland and Labrador has made a major industry out of its distinctive culture.

From artists and musicians, to historic sites and cultural attractions, the things that make us who we are have, increasingly, become the things that help keep communities, especially those in rural areas, economically sustainable.

Still, this sort of economic development isn't without challenges. For example, how does this place, and other unique cultures around the world, ensure that traditions don't become tourist caricatures?

This question, along with many others, will be explored at Culture, Place & Identity at the Heart of Regional Development, an international conference, Oct. 13-15, 2011, at the Delta Hotel in St. John's.

The event is being organized by Memorial University's Leslie Harris Centre of Regional Policy and Development, on behalf of the North Atlantic Forum, and in partnership with the Canadian Revitalization Foundation and the Small Islands Cultures Research Initiative

With over 40 presenters from around the world, and a full artistic program showcasing local and global performers and artists, the conference will be an opportunity for the cultural development, business and academic communities to come together to share experiences and insights.

From sustaining culture through tourism, to restructuring economies without destroying culture, to harnessing culture for economic benefit, the conference will examine global trends in tourism, technology and demographics, and will feature global best practices in cultural tourism and cultural industries.

Registrations are now open, and funding is available for some conference participants. For more information, and to register online, please visit