This paper addresses three aspects of creativity in Australian society:
• Creative work: Significant numbers of people work in jobs that involve the exercise of creative skills. Is it possible to identify a creative workforce and to assess its contribution to the Australian economy? And are these workers employed in sectors of the economy that could be thought of as the creative industries?
• Creative class: A lot of attention has been focused recently on the proposition that creative people tend to cluster in particular urban environments, stimulating economic growth and social interaction. Such people have been referred to as a ‘creative class’. Does this concept have any relevance to cities in Australia? And can we describe any of the State or Territory capitals as a ‘creative city’?
• Creative participation: Australians spend their leisure time in a variety of ways, many of which could be referred to as creative. Active involvement in the arts, through painting, singing, playing a musical instrument, writing, dancing and so on all involve the development and application of creative skills. Moreover, participation in the arts as a consumer – visiting art galleries, reading novels, going to the theatre – all involve a form of creative engagement.
This is the first in a series of essays based on data from the 2006 Census, produced in cooperation with the Australian Bureau of Statistics.