Geelong’s creative metamorphosis captured on film

Advancing Society and Culture

Deakin researchers will document Geelong’s transformation from an industrial past to a new era of creativity.

People, projects and places are redefining Geelong – helping the City to evolve from a manufacturing stalwart to a creative hub.

According to Dr Fiona Gray, a Research Fellow in Urban Design and Ecologies, “Geelong has always been a city of makers – from the Aussie ute to refrigeration techniques to Aussie Rules football.”

Dr Gray, who is based within Deakin’s Centre for Regional and Rural Futures, and Dr Cristina Garduño Freeman, a Deakin lecturer in architecture, are leading a crowdfunding project that will document the inspiration, stories and places of the people driving the reinvented “maker” culture in Geelong.

“With the recent closure of the Ford and Alcoa manufacturing plants, Geelong’s reputation as a manufacturing centre seemed to be under threat,” Dr Gray said.

“But this city is resilient – when one door closes another opens! An alternative narrative of opportunity has been created as our rich manufacturing history is being reinvented in new and inspiring ways.”
Dr Fiona Gray
Dr Fiona Gray Research Fellow

The two researchers have partnered with Creative Geelong Inc and a television documentary producer to share the stories of Geelong’s industrial sites undergoing creative transformations.

Through Deakin’s Research My World program, which partners with the crowdsourcing platform Pozible, the “Hubcaps to Creative Hubs” project is seeking community support to raise $15,000. This will fund the development of three five-minute documentary films.

“The films will focus on three of Geelong’s former industrial sites currently being transformed: the Old Paper Mills in Fyansford, the Returned Soldiers and Sailors Woollen and Worsted Mills in Newtown; and the Federal Woollen Mills in North Geelong,” Dr Gray explained.

These sites are supporting numerous eclectic new enterprises, such as Creative Recycled Automotive Parts at Fyansford, where old car parts are being repurposed into furniture, or the warehouse-style office spaces and open arcades at Federal Woollen Mills, or the boutique businesses and artists’ studios at the Newtown Mills.

The films will be produced by director and program developer Nicholas Searle, who has worked on programs like “Grand Designs Australia,” “River Cottage Australia,” and reality television series “The Recruit.”

Once completed, the films will encourage further investment in Geelong creative industries and provide broadcast-quality marketing material for the region.

Creative Geelong Inc President Jennifer Cromarty said Geelong “was and always will be a community of makers”.

“Geelong’s history is rich in inventiveness, innovation and making things. Creative industries include activities associated with software and interactive content, film, TV and radio, publishing, architecture, visual arts and design, advertising, public relations, marketing, music and the performing arts,” Ms Cromarty said.

Learn more about “Hubcaps to Creative Geelong.”  The fundraising campaign will conclude on 6 December.

Follow the campaign via Facebook.

Centre for Regional and Rural Futures (CeRRF)

The Centre for Rural and Regional Futures (CeRRF) contributes to the design of smarter technologies that provide innovative solutions to regional and rural productivity problems.