What happened when the corporates met the artists of rural West Bengal? A critical analysis into art as social enterprise in India

Tamsin Bradley*, Avijit Chakravarti, Jane Rowan

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


This article examines a significant shift that is taking place in the way social and economic development is funded and practised. The article acknowledges the emphasis within India on nurturing enterprise and entrepreneurship which marks a move away from the country as a recipient of direct foreign aid. The article seeks to consider what impact this shift from aid to enterprise may have for the lives of the rural poor. In order to do this it offers a case study of a social enterprise, which focuses on developing and marketing traditional art forms to generate sustainable livelihoods for poor communities in rural West Bengal. The article will explore the relationships between those involved in an art livelihood project, specifically between the business professionals determined to use their skills to generate sustainable incomes for the poor, the artists on whose talents the enterprise depends and the wider communities whose lives it is hoped will change as a result of the project's success.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)85-104
Number of pages20
JournalJournal of South Asian Development
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 15 Apr 2013


  • Art
  • enterprise
  • India
  • livelihood

Cite this