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Melbourne is internationally renowned as a creative city – but so are many cities. And snapping at their heels are scores of others, each recognising the power of creativity to express a city’s identity, draw people in, create a sense of connection and belonging and transform the economy. These days, creativity in its broadest sense is a highly sought after commodity and the cities with creativity at their core are the ones that prosper.

To harness its full potential, creativity needs to be integrated into the very fabric of the city and its longterm vision – not as an add-on but right at the start, when contemplating the changes and challenges ahead of us. We have an extraordinary creative community with a critical role to play in creating a great city for everybody.

In thinking about our own creative approach, the City of Melbourne has arrived not at a ‘vision statement’ but a provocation that is grounded in principles understood by Indigenous and ancient civilisations whereby art is not a product or a service but, rather, it informs how the world is and how to be in it.

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

The Provocation

We will ask: If Melbourne were the world’s most creative city, what approach would we take to this challenge?

  • Where would we start?
  • What would we do differently?
  • How would we behave?
  • How can creative thinking deliver extraordinary results?
  • What processes would we follow?
  • What would we produce?
  • What would we measure?

Creating new connections

At the heart of this is the idea of creating new connections:

  • Across everything the city does
  • Between disciplines
  • Between public and private organisations
  • Between the city and its communities
  • Between experiences
  • Between creative practice and civic scale
  • Between aspirations and reality


Place art at the start

Month by month, year by year, over a decade, by issuing this challenge we intend to support the transformation of our city through bold, inspirational, sustainable creative thinking that draws on the remarkable, expansive expertise of our creative community.

Using the city as its canvas, this approach will allow Melbourne to place art at the start, drawing on the full potential of its extraordinary creative community to benefit all who live, work and visit here and sharing our experiences with people the world over.

This is our creative strategy.

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