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Case study of an artists' retreat in Ireland: an exploration of its business model

Breda McCarthy (James Cook University, Townsville, Australia)

Social Enterprise Journal

ISSN: 1750-8614

Article publication date: 6 June 2008




The purpose of this paper is to explore the business model adopted by an artists' retreat.


The paper comprises qualitative, case‐based exploratory research.


The paper argues that there are some aspects of arts tourism that ally themselves naturally with social enterprise. The case study outlines challenges facing artistic ventures such as the importance of maintaining artistic integrity and managing the tension between creativity and financial return, between the local and the international. The paper argues that partnership between the tourism industry, state agencies, social entrepreneurs and the arts community, has the potential to influence socio‐economic outcomes. The case study suggests that arts tourism has the potential to achieve social change in a peripheral region but obstacles remain. Policy makers require more systematic research, statistics or figures to detail the exact impact of socially‐inspired arts tourism.

Research limitations/implications

The number of interviews conducted was limited and so no, generalisations could be made.

Practical implications

The general conclusion for managers of artistic ventures is that is that there seems to be a need to demonstrate the “multiplier effect” of arts tourism.


To date there has been little analysis of arts tourism from a social entrepreneurship perspective.



McCarthy, B. (2008), "Case study of an artists' retreat in Ireland: an exploration of its business model", Social Enterprise Journal, Vol. 4 No. 2, pp. 136-148.



Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2008, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

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