This Australian Research Council Linkage Project, run in conjunction with world’s leading researchers from QUT and industry partners Create NSW, Creative Victoria, Arts WA, Arts SA and Arts Qld, presents a rare opportunity to grasp comprehensively the contemporary dynamics of cultural and creative activity in Australia. It represents a major innovation, bringing together population-level and comparative studies of local cultural and creative activity. Seizing the once-every-five-year opportunity of Census 2016, it advances the integration of quantitative and qualitative research strategies, painting the whole national picture while also exploring the factors which are producing local and regional creative hotspots. Partners benefit from comparative profiles of hotspots. National innovation policy is addressed through detailed cases of the role creative inputs play in industry sector, and local and regional, innovation.