BA (Hons) (Sydney), PhD (Sydney), FIAG, FGS, FASSA

Human geography

Conventional thinking about the geography of creativity and innovation posits metropolitan locations – major cities with dense populations, vibrant subcultures, clustering ‘experts’, and a critical mass of production and performance infrastructures – as centres from which ideas and influences trickle outwards into regions, rural areas and remote places. My key academic contribution has been to challenge this conventional wisdom, exploring creativity, expertise and ingenuity in smaller, peripheral, remote and purportedly struggling regions outside the metropolis, as well as in prosaic urban contexts. An overarching concern is what kinds of creativity and skill are needed to respond to uncertainty and change, and how these manifest in everyday lives and workplaces, in unlikely locations and circumstances.

This agenda has flowed through into my professional activities, advocacy and mentoring, operating from the basis that world-class, distinctive contributions to the social sciences and humanities emanates from nonmetropolitan universities. Through my leadership of a university-wide interdisciplinary research program at the University of Wollongong (since 2013) I have built research capacity in the social sciences and humanities within a regional university. Earlier, through my leadership of a node of the ARC Cultural Research Network (2005-2009) emanated a systematic program of research in rural cultural studies. Associated ARC Discovery and Linkage Projects brought together geographers, sociologists, historians, planners, and anthropologists to build an empirical picture of cultural production, vitality and ingenuity in rural and industrial regions of Australia. From 2005-2009 I led Australia's largest investigation on the contributions of festivals to social and economic life in rural and regional communities (ARC Discovery Grant; The research involved the participation of over 400 festivals and spawned many books and articles spanning economic geography, history, rural sociology, and cultural studies

Meanwhile, from this distinctive regional and industrial Australian context, I have contributed to public debate on manufacturing futures, the urban and regional policy context for culture and creative industries, as well as research funding and the higher education sector in Australia (see columns and commentaries in the Australian Financial Review and The Conversation). In 2013, I was commissioned by UNESCO to conduct research that became a central and substantive part of the 2013 United Nations Creative Economy Report ( That report, launched at UN events in Paris and New York, and subsequently translated into Chinese, French, Spanish and Arabic, specifically focused on new pathways to cultural-economic development emanating from the Global South. From such places and examples, broader lessons can be learnt about how to respond to growing uncertainty and volatility.

Professor, School of Geography and Sustainable Communities, University of Wollongong (2010-present)

Editor, Australian Geographer (2015-2020)

Executive Director, Global Challenges Program, University of Wollongong (2013-2020)

Australian Research Council Future Fellow, University of Wollongong (2009-2013)

Associate Professor, School of Earth and Environmental Sciences, University of Wollongong (2007-2010)

Lecturer, School of Earth and Environmental Sciences, University of Wollongong (2005-2007)

Senior Lecturer, Faculty of the Built Environment, University of New South Wales (2002-2005)

Lecturer, School of Geography, University of New South Wales (2000-2002)

Fellow, Institute of Australian Geographers (FIAG),

Fellow, Geographical Society of New South Wales (FGS)

1. Gibson, C and Warren, A (2021) The Guitar: Tracing the Grain Back to the Tree. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.

2. Gibson, C (2016) ‘Material inheritances: how place, materiality and labor process underpin the path-dependent evolution of contemporary craft production’, Economic Geography, 92, 1, 61-86

3. Carr, C and Gibson, C (2016) ‘Geographies of making: rethinking materials and skills for volatile futures’, Progress in Human Geography, 40, 3, 297-315

4. Connell, J and Gibson, C (2017) Outback Elvis: The story of a festival, its fans & a town called Parkes. Sydney: NewSouth Publishing ISBN: 978172235295

5. Gibson, C (ed) (2012) Creativity in Peripheral Places: Redefining the Creative Industries, Routledge, London and New York