Andrew Warren image

Andrew Warren

POSITION: Lecturer in Human Geography
OFFICE: 41.251
PHONE: +61 4221 3767 

Visit Andrew's UOW Scholars Page



  • PhD (Economic Geography), Australian Centre for Cultural Environmental Research, University of Wollongong, 2012
  • BSc Human Geography (Hons I), University of Wollongong, 2006

Previous Positions

  • Jan 2013 - Oct 2014: Lecturer in Geography & Planning, University of New England

Research interests and expertise

  • Labour: geographies, markets, impacts of industrial and technological change
  • Industrial cities and geographies of manufacturing
  • Cultural and political economy
  • Regional development
  • Emotional labour and gender
  • Young people and social class
  • Ethnography

I am a human geographer with primary research interests in the sub-discipline of economic geography. In capitalist economies one important way people are empowered is through waged employment. My research is informed by the understanding that 1) resources and opportunities for meaningful work are not evenly distributed, and 2) many current economic practices are not sustainable. Combining cultural political economic theory with ethnography I am interested in examining how people can shape more fulfilling livelihoods in vibrant places.

I have pursued a range of empirical case studies – from surfboard manufacturing and Indigenous music to custom car design scenes – tied together by a desire to understand the changing experiences and aspirations of paid work, and the agency of working people. Geographically, fieldwork has taken me from remote communities in rural Australia to bustling streets of Los Angeles. I am passionate about human geography because it is a diverse, integrative discipline capable of bridging social and physical sciences. This makes human geographers well equipped to tackle big picture social, environmental and economic problems.

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Current Research Projects

Cultures of work
A premise of my research is that culture shapes economic activities, just as economic imperatives shape cultural life. Focusing on the arena of paid work my research aims to understand the way culture (as a discursive category encompassing values, beliefs, logics and ethics) shapes working lives: practices, relations, decision making, meanings of work and worker’s agency. Rather than simply lumping on a separate realm of ‘culture’ to existing political economic concerns my work attempts to underline how political and economic spheres are already cultural. A culturally engaged perspective can help to improve the explanatory power of conventional political economy without losing sight of ongoing inequalities and asymmetrical power relations.

Labour geographies
Related to the above, my labour geography research takes workers – their interests, families and well-being – as theoretical and empirical starting point. I use cultural political economy informed by in-depth ethnographic research. My primary research goal in this area is to contribute knowledge on how individual workers perform agency; how cultural values and logics are written into workplace relations and shape worker strategies in efforts to improve their job conditions.

Australian manufacturing and industrial cities
I have an ongoing research project with Prof. Chris Gibson (UOW) exploring the fluctuating fortunes of Australia’s manufacturing industries, firms and workforces, including impacts of restructuring on industrial cities such as Wollongong. My research on manufacturing is also exploring the potential for small and medium sized firms and their skilled workforces to maintain commercial viability by focusing on non-cost-based factors (customisation, place association, heritage, product quality and longevity). For example many of Australia’s custom surfboard workshops have been able to maintain commercial viability by enmeshing with local surfing cultures. Surfing consumers are able to order well-made, customised boards from people they come to know and trust. I am also involved in research attempting to better understand how retrenched manufacturing workers negotiate unemployment and find alternative paid work. The aim here is to show how workers are not mere victims of ‘restructuring’ but key parts of the solution to alternative economic futures.

Cultures of ocean-use
This area of research has emerged collaboratively with colleague Dr. Leah Gibbs (UOW). Human geography has largely neglected conceptual and empirical engagement with ocean spaces; their dynamism, transformative power and environmental qualities. One area where we have been working includes examining the politics and environmental policy making surrounding sharks. Following human fatalities from shark bite government policy has typically reacted with the roll out of lethal management programs: baited drum lines, meshing, private contracted fishers. Marine and social science is disregarded. Leah and I have been researching how humans use the ocean; how people react to the presence of sharks; what strategies can be used to minimise risk and how humans might change their ocean use practices and behaviours in relation to sharks. Our goal is to achieve a non-lethal, ethical and effective policy towards human-shark encounters.

Emotional, gendered and embodied labour
I also research the emotional and embodied dimensions of paid work, including how particular jobs become gendered. Inspired by feminist geography I explore how people’s emotions matter for understanding the changing experiences of work, particularly in an era where employment is increasingly insecure and precarious.

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Authored Books

Warren, A and Gibson, C (2014) Surfing places, surfboard-makers: craft, creativity and cultural heritage in Hawai’i, California and Australia. University of Hawai‘i Press: Honolulu.

Journal Articles
  • Warren, A. and Gibson. C. (2017) Subcultural enterprises, brand value, and limits to financialised growth: The rise and fall of corporate surfing brands. Geoforum, online early DOI: 10.1016/j.geoforum.2017.09.017
  • Gibson, C. and Warren, A. (2017) Creative industries, global restructuring, and new forms of subcultural capitalism: the experience of Australia's surf industry. Australian Geographer, online early DOI: 10.1080/00049182.2017.1385118
  • Gibson, C. and Warren, A. (2017) Unintentional path dependence: Australian guitar manufacturing, bunya pine and legacies of forestry decisions and resource stewardship. Australian Geographer, online early DOI: 10.1080/00049182.2017.1336967
  • Gibson, C and Warren, A (2016) Resource-Sensitive Global Production Networks: reconfigured geographies of timber and acoustic guitar manufacturing. Economic Geography 92(4) pp. 430-454., online early
  • Warren, A. (2016) Crafting masculinities: gender, culture and emotion at work. Gender, Place and Culture 23(1) pp. 36-54.
  • Gibbs, L and Warren, A (2015). Transforming shark hazard policy: learning from ocean-users and shark encounter in Western Australia. Marine Policy 58: 116-124.
  • Logue, D, Argent, N and Warren, A (2015) Wipeout? The Gold Coast and Tweed surfboard manufacturing cluster, its spatial evolution and current challenges. Local Economy, 30(1): 119-138.
  • Warren, A (2014) The agency and employment experiences of non-unionized workers in the surfboard industry. Environment and Planning A 46(10): 2300-2316
  • Gibbs, L and Warren, A (2014) Killing Sharks: cultures and politics of encounter and the sea. Australian Geographer 45(2) pp. 101-107
  • Gibson, C and Warren, A (2014) Making Surfboards: Emergence of a Trans-Pacific Cultural Industry. The Journal of Pacific History, 49(1) pp. 1-25
  • Warren, A (2013) Crafting Regional Production: Emergence, Crisis and Consolidation in the Gold Coast Surfboard Industry. Australian Geographer 44(4): 365-381
  • Warren, A and Gibson, C (2013) Making Things in a High Dollar Australia. Journal of Australian Political Economy 71(1): 26-50. Open Access.
  • Gibson, C, Carr, C and Warren, A (2012) A country that makes things? Australian Geographer 43(2): 109-113
  • Gibson, C, Brennan-Horley, C, Laurenson, B, Warren, A, Riggs, N and Gallan, B (2012) Cool places, creative places? Community perceptions of cultural vitality in the suburbs. International Journal of Cultural Studies 15(3) pp. 287-302
  • Gibson, C, Gallan, B and Warren, A (2012) Engaging creative communities beyond the arts in an Australian industrial city. Gateways: International Journal of Community Research and Engagement 5(1) pp. 1-15
  • Warren, A and Gibson, C (2011) Blue-collar creativity: re-framing custom car culture in the imperilled industrial city. Environment and Planning A 43(11) pp. 2705-2722
  • Morgan, G. and Warren, A (2011) Aboriginal youth, hip hop and the politics of identification. Ethnic and Racial Studies 34(6) pp. 925-947
  • Warren, A and Evitt, R (2010) Indigenous hip hop: overcoming marginality, encountering constraints". Australian Geographer 41(1) pp. 141-158. (Special issue: Creativity in peripheral places: redefining the creative industries).
  • Gibson, C, Brennan-Horley, C and Warren, A (2010) Geographic Information Technologies for cultural research: cultural mapping and the prospects of colliding epistemologies. Cultural Trends 19(4) pp. 325-348.
  • Waitt, G and Warren, A (2008) Talking shit over a brew after a good session with your mates: Surfing, space, masculinity and ethics. Australian Geographer 39(3) pp. 353-365.

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Book Chapters
  • Warren, A. and Gibson, C. (2017) Soulful and Precarious: the Working Experiences of Surfboard Makers, in The Critical Surf Studies Reader, D.Z. Hough-Snee and A.S. Eastman (eds.). Duke University Press: Durham, pp. 342-364.
  • Gibson, C. and Warren, A. (2017) Surfboard Making and Environmental Sustainability, in Sustainable Surfing, G. Bourne and J. Ponting (eds). Routledge: New York, pp. 87-104.
  • Gibson, C, Carr, C and Warren, A (2015) Making things: Beyond the binary of manufacturing and creativity. In The Routledge Companion to the Cultural Industries, J O’Connor and K Oakley (eds.). Routledge: London, pp. 86-96. 
  • Warren, A (2015) Manufacturing Stoke: Emergence, Transformation and Consolidation in the Surfboard Industry. In The Handbook of Manufacturing Industries in the World Economy, J Clark, J Bryson and V Vanchan (eds.). Edward Elgar: Northampton, pp. 309-325
  • Warren, A (2014) Masculinities and workplace. In Masculinities and Place, A Gorman-Murray and P Hopkins (eds.). Ashgate: Farnham, pp. 415-430.
  • Warren, A and Evitt, R (2014) Young and Savvy: Indigenous music and Regional Cultural Assets. In Bi-roads and Hidden Treasures: Mapping Cultural Assets in Regional Australia, P Ashton, R Gibson and C Gibson (eds.). University of Western Australia Press: Perth, pp.135-152.
  • Gibson, C., Gallan, B and Warren, A (2014) Engaging Creativity in Industrial Regions: Mapping Vernacular Cultural Assets. In Bi-roads and Hidden Treasures: Mapping Cultural Assets in Regional Australia, P Ashton, R Gibson and C Gibson (eds.). University of Western Australia Press: Perth, pp. 153-168.
  • Warren, A (2013) Mapping Vernacular Creativity in an Industrial City. In All Culture is Local: Good Practice in Regional Cultural Mapping and Planning from Local Government, L. Andersen and M. Malone (eds.). UTS E-Press: Sydney, pp. 42-47.
  • Warren, A and Evitt, R (2012) Indigenous hip hop: overcoming marginality, encountering constraints. In Creative Geographies: Tales from the Margins, C Gibson (ed.). Routledge: London, 142-159
Other Academic Publications
Non-Academic Publications

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Research Grants

2017-2019: Urban cultural policy and the changing dynamics of cultural production (ARC Discovery Grant DP170104255)
With Dr Carl Grodach, Prof Chris Gibson, Prof Justin O’Connor, Dr Xin Gu

2014: ‘A country still making things’: manufacturing and regional economies (University of New England, competitive internal research grant)
With A/Prof Neil Argent

2013: Labour geographies and Australian manufacturing (University of New England Partnerships Award)

2008-2011: Cultural Asset Mapping in Regional Australia PhD Award (ARC Linkage Project: USyd, UOW, UTS and UNE)
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  • GEOG121: Life in a globalising world (Autumn session)
  • GEOG122: Living in a material world (Subject co-ordinator, Spring session)

My approach to teaching involves presenting students with real-world problems, case studies or scenarios that form the centrepiece of class discussion, practical/tutorial tasks and assessments.

The overall objectives of my teaching are to develop students’ knowledge of geographical theories, arguments, debates and research findings; to improve student’s communication skills and ability to work in teams; to improve the capacity of students to work independently and think critically; to develop holistic thinking about economic, social and environmental issues, and to encourage tolerance and understanding of social justice and cultural diversity.

A key argument informing my teaching practice is that solutions to big picture problems require holistic thinking and policy interventions that are socially just and sustainable.

Research Student Supervision

Future Students

I am interested in supervising research students working on the following topics:

  • The changing experiences of work, including comparative approaches (e.g. employment conditions, labour process, technology, tasks, divisions of labour, policy etc.)
  • Contemporary economic restructuring, its lived experiences, and uneven geographical outcomes
  • Resource/extractive industries and responses to global environmental change and ecological crisis
  • Australian manufacturing in a global context (industries, firms, workers, policy)
  • Other projects that seek to utilise the theoretical tools of a geographical political economy 

Current Students

  • Ren Hu (co-supervisor): ‘Responses to restructuring: A case study of Illawarra Dairy Farmers’

Research Presentations

  • 2014: Session co-convenor. ‘Nonhuman agency’. With Dr Leah Gibbs (UOW) and Charles Gillon (UOW), Institute of Australian Geographers Annual Converence 2014, University of Melbourne, Melbourne
  • 2013: Session co-convenor. ‘Multi-species politics’. With Dr Leah Gibbs (UOW) Dr Catherine Phillips (UOW), Institute of Australian Geographers Annual Conference 2013, University of Western Australia, Perth 
Recent Conference and Workshop Papers (since 2010)
  • Warren, A (2014) Working culture: the agency and employment experiences of non-unionized workers in the surfboard industry, 8-12 April, Tampa: USA. In session ‘Labour Geographies and Crisis’ (Organised by Steven Tufts and David Jordhus-Lier)
  • Gibson, C and Warren, A (2013) 'A city that makes things: reconstituting manufacturing'. In K Ruming, B Randolph and N Gurran (Eds.) State of Australian Cities Conference 2013: Refereed Proceedings. State of Australian Cities Research Network, Sydney. 
  • Warren, A (2013) Australia’s new manufacturing landscapes. Institute of Australian Geographers, 1-3 July, Perth: WA
  • Warren, A (2013). Manufacturing Stoke: Emergence, Transformation and Consolidation in the Surfboard Industry. Association of American Geographers, 8-12 April, Los Angeles: USA. In session ‘New Geographies of Production’ (Organised by John Bryson and Vida Vanchan).
  • Warren, A (2012) Re-Materialising Creativity. Cultural Studies Association of Australasia Conference, 4-6 December, University of Sydney: Sydney. Conference theme – ‘Materialities: Economies, Empiricism and Things’.
  • Warren, A (2012). Surf culture, surfboard manufacturing and tourism synergies. Illawarra Futures Symposium hosted by Regional Development Australia, 8-9 November, Wollongong: Australia
  • Warren, A (2012) Cultural industries and manufacturing. Governing city futures: population, climate change and the future of the low density city, 16-17 August, Sydney: Australia. Organised by George Morgan
  • Warren, A and Gibson, C (2012) ‘Place, precarity and craftsmanship’. Association of American Geographers (AAG), 24-28 February, New York City: USA. In session ‘Geographies of Craft and Crafting’ (Organised by Doreen Jakob, Nicola Thomas, Hayden Lorimer and Kendra Strauss).
  • Gibson, C and Warren, A (2012) ‘A country that makes things: the national economy as constitutive project’. AAG 24-28 February, New York City: USA In session ‘Institutions and Cultural Economies: Converging or Diverging approaches to firms, markets and practices?
  • Andersen, L and Warren, A (2011) Tracking rural mobility and the materialities of remoteness. Royal Geographical Society and Institute of British Geographers (RGS/IBG) Meeting, 31 August to 3 September, London, England. In session ‘Rural Mobilities: Engaging with Rurality (Whilst) On the Move’
  • Warren A (2011) Local makers, Global markets: The decline of artisan production in the surfboard industry. AAG, 12-16 April, Seattle, Washington: USA. In session ‘Media, Culture and Development.
  • Warren A. 2010. Cool places and hidden creativity: mapping vernacular cultural assets in a regional Australian city. AAG, 13-18 April 2010, Washington DC: USA. In session ‘Urban Geographies’

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Invited Seminars

  • Warren, A and Gibson, C (2014) Surfing Places, Surfboard Makers. Department of Geography, University of Hawai‘i, Mānoa, Honolulu, 6 May 2014
  • Warren, A, Gibson, C, Aipa, B and Pohaku Stone, T (2014) Panel presentation of ‘Surfing Places, Surfboard Makers’. Hawai‘i Book and Music Festival, Honolulu Civic Hall, 3- 4 May 2014

Awards and Honours

  • 2015: Winner of the Australian Society for Sport History (ASSH) Book Award. Citation details:
  • 2015: Finalist Ka Palapala Po`okela Awards (Hawai`i Book of the Year, ‘Excellence in Nonfiction’ category)
  • 2013-2014: UNE Vice Chancellor’s commendation for teaching excellence at Undergraduate level
  • 2005: ‘Murray Wilson Prize’ for Human Geography, University of Wollongong

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Last reviewed: 18 October, 2017