Welcome to Fringe to Famous


Fringe to Famous is a research project examining the crossover between ‘alternative’ and ‘mainstream’ Australian cultural production since the 1980s.

‘Alternative’ and ‘mainstream’ are often understood as opposites, with any movement between them disparaged as ‘selling out’. However, the relationship is much more complex.

Small subcultures, fringe arts practices, ‘indie’ media spaces and the like provide crucial opportunities for creative experimentation, risk-taking, no-budget amateurism and the space to learn from failure. And when underground artists move into the mainstream they bring with them new ideas, approaches and audiences, which are vital for aesthetic innovation and re-invigoration.

Commencing in 2014, Fringe to Famous  will look at Australian artists, creative producers and cultural entrepreneurs, whose careers have moved between these troublesome binaries; between art and mass culture, the cult and the commercial, the avant-garde and the popular.

Using recent historical case studies in popular music, film, broadcast, comedy, graphic design and videogames, Fringe to Famous asks: How do artists successfully transition from ‘fringe’ to ‘famous’? What conditions encourage or stifle this exchange? What benefits does it generate? And how can we better support it in the future?

Read more about the research