Melbourne is a highly creative city that recognises the role creativity plays in expressing our identity, creating a sense of belonging and transforming our economy.

The expiry of the City of Melbourne’s Arts Strategy 2014–17 gives us an opportunity to take a new look at creativity, bearing in mind international trends and competitive city positioning.

To harness the full potential of creativity in the city we plan to integrate it into everything we do, not as an add-on but right at the start, when contemplating the changes and challenges ahead of us.

We intend to engage creative practitioners of all kinds to work with subject experts on city opportunities and challenges that relate to the nine goals Melburnians have set for their city.

Through this approach, Melbourne will draw on the full potential of its extraordinary creative community to benefit all who live, work and visit here.

Have a read of our draft Creative Strategy and frequently asked questions.

The draft Creative Strategy

The Strategy contends that creative people are central to helping Melbourne be the very best city that it can be for everybody. It proposes that Melbourne works with creative people of all kinds on city challenges or opportunities that relate to the nine goals Melburnians have set for their city through the Future Melbourne Community Plan.

After reviewing the extensive consultation that took place as part of the most recent Future Melbourne refresh, we returned to the hundreds of comments contributed by the people of Melbourne that informed the Creative Melbourne goal.

We found that most of the suggestions will be covered by our existing programs, with the exception of involving creative people more in the challenges facing the city. We also adopted all nine goals from the community’s Future Melbourne plan as the pillars around which we will select city challenges to work on.

We tested our thinking with creative practitioners and Aboriginal leaders and artists, and are now opening our consultation to everyone.

From First Nations people and those who study ancient civilizations we know that throughout history creative people have always helped others understand and draw meaning from the world around them. Creativity is a behaviour; its practice takes many forms. It allows people to explore ideas, connect with one another and participate in conversations larger than themselves. It stimulates ideas, insight and delight and enriches existence. It connects us to our past, to today and leads the way to a shared future.

To demonstrate seminal, inclusive and expansive creativity in action, the City of Melbourne has collected examples from far afield and close to home that relate to the goals set out in Future Melbourne, a community plan that sets out the long term aspirations of Melburnians. These case studies, some of which are referenced below, showcase many creative disciplines, from architecture to performance art and poetry.

A creative city
Traditionally museums are housed in impressive buildings in significant locations that require people to travel distances to visit. Berlin’s Public Art Lab flipped this experience by inviting artists to create mobile museums that could travel to their audiences. The resulting mini museums, which travelled between cities, transformed the atmosphere of each space in which they were located and made readily available to all citizens the assets they own.

A prosperous city
The transformation of an obsolete elevated train line in New York into an international tourism attraction more than 2km long is known the world over as a demonstration of the power of creativity and community engagement to drive urban renewal and prosperity.

A deliberative city
The Queen Victoria Market precinct is much loved by Melburnians and opinions are divided on its future direction. Rather than hide from contentious perspectives, in 2016, as part of the Council’s Biennial Lab program, artists built a 24-hour radio station and for 9000 minutes everything they ate, drank, wore, discussed or interviewed was sourced at the market.

A city managing change
In 2015 the Turner Prize, Europe’s most prestigious contemporary visual art award, was bestowed on Assemble, a collective of mainly architects, for their Granby Four Streets urban regeneration project. Judges praised them for using art, design and architecture to offer alternative models to how societies can work and for showing how artistic practice can shape urgent issues.

A city that cares for its environment
Refuge is a five-year City of Melbourne project – led by artists, working with emergency management experts and communities – that explores and builds resilience in the face of climate disasters such as floods, heatwaves and pandemics. Through annual simulated emergencies, all involved look deeply at the implications and consider with new insight how cities plan for the future.

A city for people
Between 2001 and 2008 the City of Melbourne invited artists to develop temporary works of art responding to a laneway of their choosing. The enormously successful Laneway Commissions program is now credited with playing a significant role in the revival of central Melbourne. Today laneway culture is as synonymous with Melbourne life as a great cup of coffee.


Have your say

We’d like to hear your feedback on the draft Creative Strategy. Feedback is open until Tuesday 17 July 2018.

The survey form is now closed. Thanks for your contributions.