Finding creativity in a small city:How qualitative mapping methods can reveal new geographies of creativity
This chapter outlines a qualitative mapping approach suitable for uncovering key geographical themes associated with small city creative industries. Until recently, the spatial dynamics underpinning creative economies in small cities and other places that constitute an imagined creative 'periphery' (Gibson 2010), have been absent from debates about the geography of creative industries. Instead, the focus has settled on case studies from large cities of Europe and North America, and selected ones at that, where stories of creative industry agglomeration and transformation are most obvious. Oft-cited examples include London, New York, Los Angeles, Manchester and Berlin, fuelling generalisations about the spatiality of creativity in the city. Instead, this chapter offers evidence from a small city that displays complex creative industl)' geographies made up of distinct spatial themes that intersected in multifaceted ways. Stories emerge from the data of uniqueness and spatial specificity in a small city setting shaped by geographical location, historical anomaly and a distinct multicultural profile. Such findings were only possible by testing new creative industry mapping methods where orthodox employment measures failed to yield enough data about how this particular city's creative industries were structured and located.