“The age we are entering is the creative age because the key factor propelling us forward is the rise of creativity as the primary mover of our economy” – Richard Florida

My week was spent immersed in understanding Fremantle’s arts and creative sector and the role it will play in our future economy.  We have all known Fremantle was a hub for creative industries, particularly architecture, design, film, AR technologies, photography and visual artists. It is only now that we are gathering the data to tell this story in a way that supports future investment attraction to the City.

National leaders in understanding the social and economic drivers behind creative industries – the Queensland University of Technology’s Digital Media Research Centre – have identified Fremantle as a key national cultural hot spot for the creative sector. This is based on their analysis of ABS census employment data and the Business Registration Index. Their research team was in town this week undertaking further qualitative research on the drivers of what makes Fremantle – a true and original cultural hot spot.

Their creative employment counts and intensities data shows Fremantle’s 2016 Business Locations places the creative industries around 10% of businesses who have chosen Fremantle as their business location. It also shows this trend is growing dramatically – with annual growth in business locations for the creative sector in Fremantle across the last decade currently sitting at 56.4%.

This includes both creative services (i.e. advertising and marketing, architecture and design, software and digital content and creative services) and cultural production (i.e. film, TV & radio, music & performance arts, publishing, visual arts and cultural production).

The drawcard for Fremantle is our affordable, yet historic spaces, our history and association with artistic incubation – be it live music or visual arts, our laid-back culture and our role as a destination.

Fremantle’s first Winter Festival 10 Nights in Port is one wonderful example of the talent we are able to showcase and draw to the City. (What an incredible 10 days!!)

So, the big question for us as a Chamber is what does this mean for the economy of Fremantle?

They say it is the creative sector that will unlock the innovation required for future as traditional jobs become more automated. Supporting this industry base means jobs growth but it also means investment attraction, greater liveability, marketable tourism events and destinations and audience draw to experiences from outside the City.

We are really interested in hearing from our members, and those not yet members, to continuing this conversation about how we support this sectors growth in Fremantle. We will be hosting a gathering of the local creative sector in a think tank next month so please email me directly to register your interest.

On hosting and gathering, we are really proud of our small upgrade of the Fremantle Chamber of Commerce building and its long internal corridors that finished this week. It feels lighter, fresher and provides a wonderful showcase of life in Fremantle via the black and white images by local photographer Cam Campbell of Place or Point, as well as the great electrical skills of Fremantle Chamber Members Crown Electrical.

We’d love to take you on tour if you are down our end of town. We can also introduce to you to our existing tenants within our historical building heart. Hidden in our halls we have an architect, a migration agent, a lawyer, an accountant, Helping Minds, Pirate Radio 88, Perth Trail Series and the management team of Clancy’s Fish Pubs – it doesn’t get more Fremantle than that!!

If you would like to join our emerging hub of interesting Fremantle businesses we have four tenancies currently available for lease from 25m2 to 55m2 at very reasonable rates, with access to hire our historic boardroom and other conference rooms. Please contact Craig from FPS Commercial Property or email us for more details.

Finally, I encourage you all to continue to be part of the important advocacy work that we are undertaking at the Chamber. Annual membership can be spread over 12 months (which for Business Enterprise and Small Business members works out at less than the cost of a large plate of local pasta a month!).

We can only continue to do this work with your support. Email Luke to sign up today.


Picture Credit: Cam Campbell, Place or Point