Defining the geography of creativity in a regional Australian university

Associate Professor Margaret Woodward, Professor Craig Bremner & Professor Anthony Cahalan
2012 Conference

There is a growing body of research which shows that thriving creative industries and cultural activities are crucial for the health and vitality of a region and its communities (McHenry, 2009; Andersen, 2010; Comunian et al 2010, Gibson and Klocker 2005, Lewis and Donald 2010, Waitt and Gibson 2009). Creative industries are not focused on urban centres alone; in fact, the digital environments on which the creative industries rely means the physical location of the creative workforce is becoming increasingly less relevant. The development of a new National Cultural Policy in Australia, plus the unrolling of a government funded high speed National Broadband Network (NBN) in 2012 are presented as significant opportunities to reconfigure creative activity in regional and remote Australian communities. While the creative industries in metropolitan centres have received focussed attention, this paper critiques the relevance of constructs such as Richard Florida’s creative cities and creative class to non-metropolitan, rural and regional settings. Instead, a ‘geography of creativity’, more finely calibrated to regional contexts will be presented, illustrated by case studies and current research in regional creativity undertaken in the Faculty of Arts at Charles Sturt University.

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About the author

From July 2012 Associate Professor Margaret Woodward will be Associate Dean (Research) in the Faculty of Arts at Charles Sturt University (CSU). Margaret was awarded a PhD (Design) from Curtin University of Technology in 2009, investigating the field of interpretation design and the role of design in communicating and framing ideas about Australia’s natural and cultural heritage. She holds degrees from Curtin University of Technology (PhD Design), the University of Tasmania; Bachelor of Arts – Geography and Sociology; Bachelor of Fine Arts – Graphic Design and a Diploma of Education. At CSU Margaret has been Head of School of Visual and performing Arts (2009), Head of School of Communication and Creative Industries (2010-2011) and has undertaken a Creative Industries Research Fellowship in 2012. Margaret has previously held positions lecturing in Visual Communication, Communication Design and Graphic Design at the Tasmanian School of Art, University of Tasmania; the Faculty of Design, Swinburne University of Technology, Melbourne and managed their partner programs in Sydney and Hong Kong. Margaret was also a founding member of the Workhorse Design group in Hobart and has received a number of industry awards for her design work. Margaret is a member of the Institute for Land, Water and Society (ILWS) research centre at CSU, The Australian Graphic Design Association (AGDA), and Interpretation Australia Association (IAA).