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

  • Economic geography
  • Experiences of work and employment
  • Industrial cities and workplaces
  • Geographical political economy
  • Ethnography 

I’m an economic geographer interested in the lived experiences of work and employment within industries, and communities, undergoing technological, structural and spatial transformations. My research is empirically grounded and informed by a geographical political economy (GPE) approach, which provides a theoretical framework to interpret local experiences of economic transition as outcomes of wider forces of capital mobility, state intervention, and structural change. My published work draws from in-depth case studies to understand wider issues, processes, and developments. Empirical research often involves longitudinal ethnographic methods deployed within workplaces (broadly defined).

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Current Research Projects

‘Economic Geographies of Transition in Australia’s Auto Repair and Maintenance industry’ (ARC DECRA project, 2018-2020)
In 2017 the last new passenger vehicle rolled-off a production line at GM-Holden’s Elizabeth plant symbolising the end of Australia’s auto manufacturing industry. Joining the geographical re-organisation of upstream vehicle production has been the downstream transformation of auto repair and maintenance services. Combining a comprehensive survey and ethnographic methods this project is tracing the structural changes in Australia’s downstream auto industry and documenting experiences of transition in affected local workshops. A GPE framework is being used to interpret new technical and competitive dynamics among local auto repair and maintenance firms, and examine changing knowledge and skill requirements among a diverse workforce. It is hoped that results from the project will provide a robust evidence-base to support policy and worker training aimed at securing Australia's industrial future.

Labour geographies and experiences of workplace restructuring
I have an ongoing research interest in people’s lived experiences of contemporary workplace restructuring. Informed by debates in labour geographies, and labour studies more broadly, around the political potential of working people my research explores how major restructuring episodes impact workplaces and labour processes (the social and technical relations of production). Among other things, results of my research emphasise the political salience of intra-worker relationships, which play a powerful role shaping day-to-day experiences of work including opportunities, actions, and outcomes of turbulent events such as workplace restructuring.

Commodity production and material resources
In collaboration with Prof Chris Gibson (UOW), I am also involved in a project seeking to better understand the changing socio-spatial relationships between manufacturing industries and the material resources final commodities are made from. One of our case studies is the acoustic guitar industry. Traditionally guitar production has depended on the supply of timber from a select range of trees e.g. spruce, rosewood, ebony, and mahogany. But as these ‘staple’ timbers have become increasingly scarce and their trade more regulated, guitar manufacturers have been compelled to incorporate alternative timbers and materials. Through our research, we have documented how manufacturers transition to more sustainable use of material resources; a process stretching from trees to final consumers (musicians). The research has also demonstrated the commercial importance of 'material knowledge' developed around timbers by workers in the guitar industry who ensure valuable resources are utilised productively. Such embodied skills and practices, we argue, are crucial for a future where society must learn to do more with less.

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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: 20 February, 2018