From margins to mainstream : how screen and creative industries developed in the Northern Rivers region of NSW : 2000–2010

Henkel, Cathy Joanne (2010) From margins to mainstream : how screen and creative industries developed in the Northern Rivers region of NSW : 2000–2010. PhD thesis, Queensland University of Technology.


This thesis explores the proposition that growth and development in the screen and creative industries is not confined to the major capital cities. Lifestyle considerations, combined with advances in digital technology, convergence and greater access to broadband are altering requirements for geographic location, and creative workers are being drawn away from the big metropolises to certain regional areas. Regional screen industry enclaves are emerging outside of London, in the Highlands and Islands of Scotland, in Nova Scotia in Canada and in New Zealand. In the Australian context, the proposition is tested in an area regarded as a ‘special case’ in creative industry expansion: the Northern Rivers region of NSW. A key feature of the ‘specialness’ of this region is the large number of experienced, credited producers who live and operate their businesses within the region. The development of screen and creative industries in the Northern Rivers over the decade 2000 – 2010 has implications for regional regeneration and offers new insights into the rapidly changing screen industry landscape. This development also has implications for creative industry discourse, especially the dominance of the urban in creative industries thought. The research is pioneering in a number of ways. Building on the work conducted for my Masters thesis in 2000, a second study was conducted during the research phase, adapting creative industries theory and mapping methods, which have been largely city and nation-centric, and applying them to a regional context. The study adopted an action research approach as an industry development strategy for screen industries, while at the same time developing fine-grained ground up methods for collecting primary quantitative data on the size and scope of the creative industries. In accordance with the action research framework, the researcher also acted in the dual roles of industry activist and screen industry producer in the region. The central focus of the research has been both to document and contribute to the growth and development of screen and creative industries over the past decade in the Northern Rivers region. These interventions, along with policy developments at both a local and national level, and broader global shifts, have had the effect of repositioning the sector from a marginal one to a priority area considered integral to the future economic and cultural life of the region. The research includes a detailed mapping study undertaken in 2005 with comparisons to an earlier 2000 study and to ABS data for 2001 and 2006 to reveal growth trends. It also includes two case studies of projects that developed from idea to production and completion in the region during the decade in question. The studies reveal the drivers, impediments and policy implications for sustaining the development of screen industries in a regional area. A major finding of the research was the large and increasing number of experienced producers who operate within the region and the leadership role they play in driving the development of the emerging local industry. The two case studies demonstrate the impact of policy decisions on local screen industry producers and their enterprises. A brief overview of research in other regional areas is presented, including two international examples, and what they reveal about regional regeneration. Implications are drawn for creative industries discourse and regional development policy challenges for the future.

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ID Code: 46043
Item Type: QUT Thesis (PhD)
Supervisor: Cunningham, Stuart & Spurgeon, Christina
Keywords: screen industries, creative industries, Northern Rivers NSW, regional development, screen producers, film, television, multimedia, digital technology, regional screen policy, regional mapping, margins to mainstream
Divisions: Current > Research Centres > ARC Centre of Excellence for Creative Industries and Innovation
Current > QUT Faculties and Divisions > Creative Industries Faculty
Institution: Queensland University of Technology
Deposited On: 19 Sep 2011 03:28
Last Modified: 19 Sep 2011 03:28

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