Infrastructures and seams: complexity in Victorian creative industry spatial policy
AuthorTrevena, Bree Elizabeth
AffiliationSchool of Culture and Communication
Document TypePhD thesis
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© 2020 Bree Elizabeth Trevena
The aim of this dissertation is to cast light on a phenomenon whereby logics informing Victorian state government investment in creative spaces are shifting in connection with increasingly complex policy conditions and relationships between creative producers and publics. I track the evolution of spatial and governance experimentation using a theoretical framework of complexity and critical vocabulary of infrastructure underpinned by practitioner-based perspectives and case study analysis. In doing so, I seek a greater understanding first of the relationships evoked, and spaces imagined, at government and sector registers, and second how these spaces are reconstituting different cultural communities. The main research questions for this dissertation are how creative spaces and infrastructures initiated by the state are changing in relation to policy conditions and user-driven feedback; how increasing recognition of space as a driver of creative industry policy is changing the relationships of governments and those working in creative industries; and how knowledge is transmitted within and between these groups. I call for more attention to the visible ‘seams’ of creative infrastructure - those moments of friction exposing omissions, flaws and leaks between boundaries – as an entry point to generatively form, foster and critique creative infrastructure by decentring extant power dynamics and so bring new relations and agendas into being. The first and second chapter of the dissertation introduce key ideas, sites and terms. I attempt to gain purchase on the progressively more complex territory Victorian cultural policy is called to govern in the third chapter, and contrast emerging spatial and material typologies at three scales – the unbuilt National Gallery of Victoria Contemporary, Collingwood Yards and Testing Grounds, the latter of which forms the primary case study for this dissertation. The fourth chapter situates these projects through a historicised investigation of two culture-led planning strategies, Melbourne City Council’s Creative Spaces program and the Victorian Government’s Melbourne Arts Precinct Blueprint. The fifth and sixth chapters focus on temporary art and design space Testing Grounds to unpack how knowledge is formed and transferred between public servants and cultural producers. First, I consider how creative infrastructure pilots are selected and evaluated within government frameworks. I then use the critical vocabulary of ‘infrastructuring’ to discuss infrastructure as an act of collective and productive making. The seventh chapter analyses creative infrastructure through the language of maintenance, repair and care to assay how built form can contribute to sustainable policy goals while triangulating new spaces of public encounter. I close by calling for a reformulation of public creative infrastructure situated in feedback attuned to currents of change and for more sophisticated tools for defining priorities, transferring knowledge and distributing resources.
KeywordsCreative Industries; Complexity; Infrastructure
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