Researcher Spotlight: Ieva Zemīte

Raising public awareness of the economic value of the cultural sector

Research Latvia

January 16, 2024

Dr. oec. Ieva Zemīte, Associate professor and leading researcher, Institute of Culture and Arts, Latvian Academy of Culture (LAC), Director of the joint Master’s study program "Creative Industries and Growth Management" at LAC and Riga Technical University

To succeed, a creative person must always be sufficiently entrepreneurial, an entrepreneur must always be creative, and the real art is to always find a solution.

Ieva’s multifaceted professional life encompasses research, student mentorship, creative entrepreneurship, and policy advocacy. Her research on creative industries is helping develop a new interdisciplinary field of study. One of her recent research interests pertains to the role of creative industries in Latvia’s small towns. Additionally, she has been actively involved in business incubators aimed at fostering student and young entrepreneur participation in creative industries.

From the very beginning of her studies at LAC, Ieva was aware that she wanted to deeply understand and study cultural issues. Therefore, during her studies, with the desire to make these fields interdisciplinary, she turned to cultural management, which led her to further studies in entrepreneurship and business administration.

Her Ph.D. research evolved to concentrate on cultural entrepreneurship, a nexus of business studies, art, and creativity. The work engages with several key stakeholder groups: artists, creative individuals, and students, among others.

Ieva has conducted extensive research in both national and international projects. Topics include the economic impact of culture in small towns, the sustainability of cultural and creative entrepreneurship, employment precarity in the arts sector, and ways of tackling the obstacles it poses to the culture and arts sector.

An important task, says Ieva, is raising public awareness of the economic value of the cultural sector. Although culture is usually seen as creative expression, figures and data show that the cultural sector can multiply its value to the economy by a factor of 2.5, an increase that not all sectors of the economy can boast. Ieva believes that this is also particularly important in the context of the development of creative entrepreneurship in Latvia’s smaller towns, promoting economic growth and tourism in these places and, among other things, addressing the challenges of urbanisation and attracting residents.

An important aspect of her professional activity is working with students and young entrepreneurs, not only in the university classroom, but also in promoting the practical development of creative entrepreneurship in Latvia – working in the Creative Industries Business Incubator of the Investment and Development Agency of Latvia and the Student Business Incubator of the University of Latvia.

Ieva is convinced that creativity and entrepreneurship are not so different and that creative people need to find the entrepreneurial spirit within themselves. At the same time, an incubator is a great place to learn how to overcome obstacles and to gather the right team if a creative person lacks one of the elements needed for a successful business project.

Ieva’s knowledge about creative entrepreneurship is not only based on theory – since 2017, she and artist Anna Varnase have been running a jointly established company – the glass design studio "Glass Point", which produces artistic glass objects, offers glass artists suitable facilities and equipment, and organises master classes and creative workshops for everyone interested in glass art.


The project "Research Latvia 2024" is implemented within the framework of the ERDF project “Integrated National Level Measures to Strengthen the Representation of Latvian Research and Development Interests in the European Research Area”, No.