Publication Details

Gibson, C., Warren, A. & Gallan, B. (2015). Engaging creativity in industrial regions: Mapping vernacular cultural assets. In P. Ashton, C. Gibson & R. Gibson (Eds.), By-roads and Hidden Treasures: Mapping Cultural Assets in Regional Australia (pp. 153-168). Crawley, Australia: UWA Publishing.


This chapter explores the vernacular cultural assets ofWollongong, a largely suburban industrial city located just to the south of Sydney. Our interest here stems from our research for the wider Cultural Asset Mapping in Regional Australia (CAMRA) project, which asked the following key questions: outside of official planning discourses, what kinds of cultural assets exist in a rapidly changing and historically industrial region? What constitutes creativity in such a context? And, as researchers, what kinds of research practice are necessary to engage with marginalised social groups and working-class communities as part of a cultural asset mapping approach? In this chapter, we reflect on our research experiences, and discuss the particularities of cultural and creative practice in a working-class steel city that is undergoing transitions. The story includes surfboards, punk music and custom-designed cars, but also diverse suburban 'cool places' invisible to the creative cities script.