Territory Stories

Creative tropical city : mapping Darwin's creative industries



Creative tropical city : mapping Darwin's creative industries

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Tess Lea ...[et al.]


Lea, Tess; Charles Darwin University. School for Social and Policy Research; Australian Research Council; Darwin (N.T.). Council; Tourism NT


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Made available via the Publications (Legal Deposit) Act 2004 (NT).


"The research project's three stated aims are: 1. to determine the nature, extent and change over time of the creative industries in Darwin; 2. to interrogate the applicability of national and international creative industry policy frameworks to Darwin; 3. to identify opportunities for transformation in the creative industries in Darwin."..tp.




Creative ability in business -- Northern Territory -- Darwin; Entrepreneurship -- Northern Territory --Darwin; Success in business -- Northern Territory -- Darwin

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Charles Darwin University

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46 pages : colour illustrations, maps (chiefly colour), portraits. ; 30 cm.

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35 While to much of the rest of the country Darwin appears far away and remote, for the creative practitioners who live here the distance from the Australian eastern seaboard was far less of an issue, with proximity to Asia (and the rest of the world) defining more how they located themselves. Indeed while distance was clearly an issue for many, especially those with family interstate, in an age of relatively affordable air travel, not to mention communication and mail order via the internet, no overwhelming negative feeling of remoteness as lack emerged in the Creative Tropical City study. Instead, there was a feeling of creative Darwin being well connected into both global and local networks. Remoteness is as much a state of mind as a geographical reality. The story that emerges around creative practice in Darwin is by and large one of opportunity: to work amongst a diverse multicultural community, and to take advantage of close ties with near neighbours such as Indonesia, East Timor, and the Philippines. Darwins diverse cultural population and close proximity to Asia contributes very positively to a unique sense of place. For Indigenous and non-Indigenous people alike, the reality that the land around them is anything but empty and remote, but rather home to the Larrakia and other Indigenous people, and central to their universe and networks, informs a post-colonial understanding of Darwins location in the world. This is coupled with a post-Keating awareness of Darwin as Australias gateway to the booming markets of Asia, which is built on the far deeper reality of Darwin as an Asian city trading with and being home to peoples from Asia for centuries. But Darwins location far removed physically from the urban centres of Australia cannot be totally ignored. The distance can contribute significantly to costs: both in terms of importing materials and talent, and to exporting them. Touring exhibitions or performers is not a cheap undertaking from Darwin, and Singapore or Jakarta is as cost-effective an option as Melbourne, which can create its own unique opportunities. For some creative practitioners the relative distance from other centres is a boon; it allows them to develop creatively, free to pursue their own vision, unfettered by the demands of metropolitan trends, fashion and funding imperatives. For others, the isolation is a professional isolation, where one lacks the stimulation of a competitive environment. Recruitment issues remain tantamount, but the inability to easily be challenged by the best creators in your field was by far the most important negative associated with distance and isolation. Q: What would you change? A: Lack of a critical dialogue given a small scene where everyone knows (and is dependent on) everyone else

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