CAMRA: A Year in Review (2011)

2011 saw a range of achievements resulting from the CAMRA project, including successful research outcomes, academic papers, books, book chapters and conference presentations.

Researchers completed the collection of data in the Central Darling. They are currently carrying out research analysis of 149 in-depth interviews, 40 hand-drawn maps, GIS data and 2,300 images.

Data collection in Uralla was completed, with research analysis of 130 community surveys and 28 in-depth artist-maker interviews in progress, as is the development of research for mapping creative spaces in Armidale. Data gathering is due to commence in March 2012.

In September 2011 the CAMRA Outhouse video booth was re-developed to interview 28 Indigenous cultural workers on models for Indigenous knowledge centres at Museums & Galleries NSW summit, 'Keeping Places and Beyond: Building Cultural Futures in NSW'.

Links between CAMRA and local governments were strengthened and the Executive of the Local Government and Shires Associations NSW (LGSA) endorsed the resolution that the Associations "collaborate with the CAMRA project to review and adapt the research methodologies trialled in the pilot regions into cultural planning research tools for use by local government and regional arts agencies for cultural planning".

Research findings from the University of Wollongong (UOW)'s community-engaged research project at Viva La Gong have been analysed and written-up, and have been accepted for publication in forthcoming issues of the International Journal of Cultural Studies and Gateways: International Journal of Community Research & Engagement. LINK.

Papers from this research were also presented at the 2011 Association of American Geographers (AAG) conference in Seattle and the Institute of Australian Geographers conferences at UOW, as well as a specialist workshop at the University of Western Sydney (UWS) on Cultural Ecologies and Digital Mapping.

Based on the AAG presentation in Seattle, Ross Gibson has been invited to write a piece for a forthcoming special issue of the journal Regional Studies, based on CAMRA project work.

PhD candidate Andrew Warren (UOW) completed his thesis on the surfboard industry as cultural asset and vernacular creativity LINK, as part of the CAMRA framework. 'Soulful work or selling the soul? Cultural production, precarious labour and the emotional terrain of the custom surfboard industry' was submitted in November 2011.

The thesis involved extensive field work in the CAMRA project's Wollongong partner region, as well as the Gold Coast, Hawaii and southern California.

Andrew secured a contract to publish this work as a book with the University of Hawai'i Press (due out in 2012). Other field work and case studies that Andrew pursued throughout his PhD tenure, on Indigenous hip-hop and custom car design in the Illawarra region, were published in Australian Geographer, Ethnic & Racial Studies, Environment and Planning A, and in Creativity in Peripheral Places (edited by Chris Gibson, due out 2012).

CAMRA researchers Chris Gibson and Chris Brennan-Horley organised a special session of the Institute of Australian Geographers annual conference 'Geographical information technologies for cultural research', which attracted eight papers from geographers, historians, media studies and cultural studies academics from around Australia.

A paper from researcher Ben Gallan's 2010 honours thesis on the live music scene in Wollongong was accepted for publication in Australian Geographer. He also presented from this body of work at the 2011 Association of American Geographers (Seattle) and on the basis of that paper was invited to submit a piece for a forthcoming special issue of the journal Urban Studies.

For a full list of publications in 2011 linked to the CAMRA project, see the publications section.

One of the project partners, Albury/Wodonga Council, completed its engagement with the project at the end of 2011. Albury/Wodonga were an in-kind partner whose plans for the next two years are now focused elsewhere.  The cessation of contract was completely amicable and the momentum and character of the CAMRA project are not unduly affected by this change.

Moving into 2012

Researcher Lisa Andersen from the University of Technology (UTS) is currently working with the LGSA on planning a series of regional events to disseminate CAMRA research methods in 2012.
Within the Wollongong partnership, the findings of Andrew Warren's research and the project at Viva La Gong have been analysed and now form the basis of on-going dialogue with policy-makers from Wollongong City Council (WCC).

This will continue through 2012 with an eye to WCC's next Cultural Plan. This process was delayed following staff changes at WCC, but is scheduled to recommence in February 2012.