BASS CONNECTIONS PROJECTPoster bass connection

Over the past ten years, Durham has witnessed a boom in a number of key cultural initiatives including the Durham Performing Arts Center, Golden Belt, 21c Museum Hotel and RUNAWAY clothes. These cultural productions have not only been seen as enriching the city’s image, but have also attracted other creative ventures. Further, Duke University has contributed greatly to the cultural development of Durham through such sites as the Nasher Museum of Art and the new Rubenstein Arts Center.


Since the Fall 2017, this Bass Connections project has been active in examining the relationship between urban development and cultural production in Durham. Richard Florida’s The Rise of the Creative Class (2012) ranked Durham number one in highest concentration of creative class workers (researchers, musicians, artists and others). The project team will assess Florida’s methodology, especially where it is applied to Durham, and consider whether creativity in the city fosters economic prosperity.

In order to establish whether there is an observable relationship between creative industries and economic growth in Durham, and to foster an interdisciplinary network of students and scholars interested in the study of cultural industries and art markets, this team will:

  • Develop new metrics to gauge the correlation and causation between creative production and economic growth in Durham
  • Assess the methodological usefulness of Richard Florida’s creative class theory against the opposing urban economic theories of Edward Glaeser (Harvard, Economics Department) on the Durham micro level
  • Create new measurements to define more precisely the Talent, Tolerance and Technology indices
  • Create new scientific knowledge on the dynamic relationships between creative industries and economic growth that can be useful both in academic research and urban cultural policy.

The team will also collaborate with Durham City Hall, local cultural industries, artists and designers on a series of rotating exhibitions.

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