Fringe to famous project wins ARC Discovery grant

Dr Tony Moore and Associate Professor Mark Gibson.
Dr Tony Moore and Associate Professor Mark Gibson.

An ARC Discovery grant has been awarded to Dr Tony Moore and Associate Professor Mark Gibson for their project:  Fringe to Famous: Contemporary Australian Culture as an Innovation System.

The project team includes Monash academicDr Moore and Associate Professor Gibson, and Dr Chris McAuliffe from The University of Melbourne.

The project examines the crossover between ‘alternative’ and ‘mainstream’ cultural production in Australia, identifying ways in which a hybridisation between the avant garde and the popular promotes the development of cultural industries.

It will conduct a detailed study of five cases: comedy (Working Dog and the Chaser), music (Mental as Anything, Paul Kelly and Nick Cave), visual arts/graphic design (Mambo Graphics), short film (Tropfest) and games development (Freeplay).

It will identify the conditions which have allowed crossover between the avant-garde and the mainstream and produce recommendations for policy both in cultural development and the development of creative industries.

The project aims to:

  • Identify and compare key areas of exchange in Australia between small-scale experimental creative production for restricted audiences and larger-scale forms with more general appeal.
  • Develop a detailed understanding of the social and material contexts in which such exchange has occurred, through a combination of archival and interview-based research.
  • Identify the conditions for the translation of creative expression from ‘fringe’ locations to the ‘mainstream’, such that innovations at the margins are able to gain scale and influence.
  • Determine the role that public institutions (like the ABC) and government have played in enabling or facilitating this translation.
  • Develop recommendations for future government policy on the basis of an understanding of Australian creative production as an ‘innovation system’.