Gibson, Chris and Robinson, Daniel, 2004, Creative networks in regional Australia, Media International Australia incorporating Culture and Policy, 112, 83-100.
Much recent academic and public discourse has centred on the fate of non-metropolitan Australia under successive federal neoliberal reform agendas. This paper discusses creative networks in non-metropolitan areas in light of this, with a focus on issues of youth unemployment and out-migration. First, it draws on research on creative industry development on the New South Wales Far North Coast to assess the efficacy of creative networks as a source of new job growth in rural areas. Second, and more broadly, the paper discusses the North Coast Entertainment Industry Association (NCEIA), a nascent creative network in the region. Several observations are drawn from its experiences. Creative networks in non-metropolitan areas face problems of informal and itinerant membership, and anti-socialisation attitudes. Yet they appear to have a substantial role in improving the conditions of viability for vulnerable cultural producers. When conceived as part of interventionist strategies to promote youth employment and to stem the youth exodus from rural areas, they may also have sociodemographic implications beyond the scope of their original intent.