You get to know the scene inside out, but the cost of travel is a burden: Migration and mobility in a geographically isolated music industry.

Authors: Christina Ballico*, Griffith University
Topics: Cultural Geography, Australia and New Zealand
Keywords: Music and place; Isolation; Periphery
Session Type: Paper
Day: 4/12/2018
Start / End Time: 8:00 AM / 9:40 AM
Room: Oakley, Sheraton, 4th Floor
Presentation File: No File Uploaded


This paper examines migration and mobility in relation to place-specific contemporary music activity within and from an isolated urban locale. It draws on research undertaken into the contemporary indie/pop rock music industry and scene of Perth Western Australia, focusing on activity that took place between 1998 – 2009. During this time the local contemporary music scene grew in national prominence, and historical attitudes relating to the need to move away from Perth to the larger, better connected capital cities of Sydney (New South Wales) and Melbourne (Victoria) on the east coast of the country started to shift. With Western Australia covering one-third of Australia’s land mass, and 80% of its 2.2 million residents living in the metropolitan area, Perth is a city which is geographically isolated within its own state and from other capital cities around the country due to long driving distances between the east and west.

Contextualised within theories of creative networks and migration and mobility in the arts, this paper explores musicians’ and industry members’ motivations for remaining in or leaving Perth. In doing so it comments on the impact of these decisions on career sustention and the ongoing development of Perth’s local music sector. As argued, positive shifts in attitude toward pursuing a music career from Perth can only go so far to overcome the geographical isolation of the city.

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