Document Type

Book Chapter


The idea that creativity is vital to regional economies has been increasingly debated in Australia, as elsewhere. Although creativity has been taken more seriously by governments, it has often been 'folded into' normative ideas of market-led place competition, with biases towards commodifiable forms of creativity (that produce copyright/content) and urban, middle-class neighbourhoods and aesthetics (see Gibson, 2009 for extended critique).

In reaction to these observations of the particularities of creativity policy in Australia, a central research concern in recent years has been to expose such biases as embodied practices of knowledge consttuction (Gibson and KlockeI', 2004); to trace the manner in which such knowledges about creativity are produced and circulate through various 'scenes' and sites of knowledge fe-production (academic, technical, policy etc. - Kong et at., 2006; Barnes et aI., 2006); and to problematise fonnulaic visions of what constitutes creative industries, by exploring 'everyday' creative expressions in suburban, rural and remote settings where boundaries between 'amateur' and 'professional' creativity may be porous. This is an area of emerging strength in geography - where researchers have been particularly keen to unsettle assumptions about the automatic links between creativity and cosmopolitan and large urban settings (Gibson, 2002; Bell and Jayne, 2006).

In the first parI of this chapter we overview the manner in which normative discourses of creativity have infused policy talk. In the second part, the chapter draws on one project which has sought to map the extent and diversity of creativity in rural areas, specifically, community festivals held in tural parts of three Australian states (Tasmania, New South Wales (NSW), Victoria). We discuss in detail one festival: the Elvis Revival festival in the country town of Parkes.