Guest blogger Tess Lea is an ARC QEII Fellow in the Department of Gender and Cultural Studies, University of Sydney.
Chris Gibson recently posted a thought-provoking review of my book on Darwin. It was the first review to take up the issue of risk-taking in writing, both from the perspective of writing about a place which is small enough that insults are consequential; and from the perspective of academic metrics. I was awestruck by Gibson’s insights and how he has honed in on my acute sense of vulnerability with this book.
As Gibson notes, Darwin completes a series on the capital cities of Australia by New South Books. I accepted the commission for two reasons. First, I will admit ego/vanity. I couldn’t bear the idea of someone else writing about Darwin, my birthplace. But second, I immediately saw it as an opportunity to address the challenge I have set myself in my current research. To wit: presuming I ever find a way to muddle through my current writing block and the thicket of ethnographic fragments I’ve accumulated about Indigenous housing and infrastructure, schools and health clinics, to address the question ‘can there be good social policy in regional and remote Australia?’ –– the question of communication remains. Continue reading →
Festivals and events are frequently staged to reinvigorate community and stimulate economic development – especially in rural and remote places suffering from general decline. In such circumstances festivals and events contribute far more beyond their singular purpose as an agricultural show or a music concert, promoting regional development and community cohesion. Over the past few years researchers here at AUSCCER have been documenting these sorts of contributions, on a large project funded by the Australian Research Council. A free, downloadable summary report of our project’s findings is available here.
A selfie taken in June this year, at the Gulgong Races, NSW
As we continue to sift through our findings, we have also realised how important festivals and events are to rural communities suffering from conditions of extreme environmental stress. Continue reading →
Contrary to the common rhetoric that being green is ‘easy’, household sustainability is rife with contradiction and uncertainty. Households attempting to respond to the challenge to become more sustainable in everyday life face dilemmas on a daily basis when trying to make sustainable decisions. Various aspects of life such as cars, computers, food, phones and even birth and death, may all provoke uncertainty regarding the most sustainable course of action. Drawing on international scientific and cultural research, as well as innovative ethnographies, this timely book probes these wide-ranging sustainability dilemmas, assessing the avenues open to households trying to improve their sustainability.
It’s been a busy year here and most AUSCCERites are now taking a well-deserved Christmas break. So for our final blog post of the year we’re revisiting some of our most clicked, read and shared pieces in 2013. Thanks for reading and sharing Conversations with AUSCCER this year and we’ll see you in 2014. Continue reading →
The United Nations Creative Economy Report 2013 was launched in Paris this week. AUSCCER’s Professor Chris Gibson was a major contributor to the report. Here, Chris discusses his involvement as an expert consultant for the report.
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The United Nations Creative Economy Report 2013
This report focuses on creative economy at the local level in developing countries. How did you get involved and what are these reports about? Late last year a chance meeting with Yudhishthir Raj Isar at a creative industries conference led to be being approached by UNESCO to author a paper for the 2013 UN Creative Economy Report. Previous United Nations Creative Economy Reports appeared in 2008 and 2010. They are essentially big global overviews of research, statistics and ideas about culture, creativity and development, commissioned by UNESCO (and for 2013, jointly by UNDP) and aimed at informing the global policy agenda for sustainable development. Continue reading →
Where is cool and creative in Wollongong? AUSCCER’s Chris Gibson and Chris Brennan-Horley star in this short video on the Cultural Asset Mapping in Regional Australia project they worked on. Click the image to view the video.
In my last post I made the case for focusing on regions as a scale of climate change response. In this, I wish to consider briefly the issue of how to rethink future responses in light of the past.
Regions inherit numerous legacies from previous generations: their physical infrastructure, economic base, demography, political culture, workforce skills and social mix. Regions will, with some urgency, need to assess the strengths of their institutions, rethink residential, transport and environmental planning, and document vernacular cultural assets that may prove helpful in adjusting to the ‘new normal’ of climatic extremity.
How well are we positioned to ‘retrofit’ regions, physically, economically, and culturally – and how quickly can it be done? The task is to figure out which bits of regional historical inheritances will count towards transition and adaptation, and which bits will somehow need to be jettisoned. Continue reading →