Creative ex-pats: Globalisation and creative communities
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It is well known within the creative industries that a pilgrimage overseas can be an important part of career development. All too often, however, the pilgrimage is a one-way journey and crucial talent is lost. Just as creative capital is lost overseas, the dominance of cities as the centres of Australia's knowledge- or experience-based economy leads to migration of the creative workforce from regional centres and smaller cities such as Perth, lessening the potential for those areas to sustain economic growth. Given the globalised nature of creative industries and the emergence of new technologies, this study asks whether migration loss could be turned into cultural gain. The study involves Western Australians living and working overseas or 'over East' in a wide variety of artistic fields. Participants answered questions relating to personal and professional connectedness, the career impact of their migration, future plans, and their perceptions of the Western Australian cultural environment. Initial results revealed that most creative migration is due to a lack of opportunities and the appeal of larger markets. Despite retaining strong personal connections with their place of origin, participants artistic connections were tenuous and artistic involvement was negligible. Implications from the study, which is ongoing, include the need to actively value and engage with creative migrants and to foster their continued involvement in the cultural life of our cities and regions. In doing so, there is the potential for creative migration to become a positive element of our cultural identities.
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