Festival Mapping Lounge

the mapping loungementalmap
Left: CAMRA researchers, Ben Gallan and Andrew Warren, staff the Mapping Lounge at 2009's Viva La Gong festival (Photo: Chris Gibson).  Right: One participant's mapped point-of-view on where 'cool' (blue) and 'creative' (pink) Wollongong are.

2009's Viva La Gong Festival Cultural Mapping Lounge

During the festival, a stall staffed by five CAMRA researchers was decorated with posters and maps and the festival audience were invited to participate via a recorded 'vox-pop' interview and asked to draw on a hard-copy paper map of Wollongong where they thought 'cool' and 'creative' places were - and what made them so (see base map example). No pre-determined ideas of what constituted 'creative' were assumed (indeed, interviewers at the festival encouraged participants to think laterally, to list literally anything they considered to be 'creative'), and participants were free to answer as briefly or as comprehensively as they wished.

160 maps were completed on the day of the festival, representing the views of about 250 people - with many single maps drawn by two or more people. More than 900 'cool' and 'creative' places were mapped. Interviews recorded during the mapping process varied in length from three to 45 minutes, with a diverse range of respondents, including whole families, young adults, retirees, Buddhist monks (Wollongong happens to be a major centre of Buddhism and features Australia's largest temple), and many well-known figures from the local Aboriginal community.

The average age of participant was 41. More women (62 percent) participated than men (38 percent). Frequently participants mentioned that they had seen recent television media coverage and were keen to 'fill in a map and have their say'.