Dr Melissa Kennedy1
1La Trobe University, Bendigo , Australia
The issue of the creative economy as a solution to decline is extensively debated in research, with cultural geographers urging a turn away from generic blueprint approaches to creative economies and towards a focus on place. While much of the debate focuses on creative economy interventions such as Richard Florida’s creative class as a capitalistic and formulaic response to decline, a growing strand of scholarship is broadening conceptions of who and what generates creative economies. Drawing upon JK Gibson-Graham’s theorisation of diverse and community economies, this paper contributes to this alternative strand of creative economy scholarship by detailing how rural creative economies are emerging in response to place concerns. I report on doctoral research with two rural Victorian towns that are enacting creative economic experimentation through Booktowns in Clunes and Slow Food in Mildura. This paper shows how rural creative economies are developing as a result of collective action and are underpinned by a range of actants, resources and economic relations, demonstrating how community and place are active agents of change beyond creative class framings.
Melissa Kennedy teaches and researches in community planning and human geography, specialising in community economic development. Her interdisciplinary research focuses on community economies and rural regeneration.