The future of Melbourne’s creative direction

We already know Melbourne is the music capital of the world in terms of venues per capita. 

We’re also one of the UNESCO cities of literature. City of Melbourne has come up with a draft Creative Strategy 2018 - 2028, placing art at the forefront and harnessing the full potential of our creative practitioners. Melburnians have until Tuesday July 17 to provide feedback. The draft points out, “Melbourne is a highly creative city. It overflows with live music, performances, public talks, festivals and events.  People show up rain, hail or shine. Threaten the future of live music, for instance, and people will rally in their tens of thousands to defend it. Walk down any main road or laneway, day or night, and creativity is out and proud in the clothes people wear, the galleries, bars, cafes and shops, architecture, street design and street life.”
The City says it’s planning ahead to make changes to keep Melbourne creative. In five years, one-third of skills for jobs will have disappeared, instead replaced by many that don’t exist. Creative jobs are set to be the third most essential. In addition, there’s a correlation between creative cities and those which attract tourists. London, Paris, Berlin and New York are four examples. Victoria’s cultural tourism is worth more than $1 billion each year and predicted to hit $1-2 billion annually from Chinese visitors alone by 2025. The City of Melbourne’s approach is to draw from the lessons of First Australians and other ancient civilisations where its creative people helped others understand and draw meaning from the world around them. “Creativity…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.”
Melbourne needs to plan ahead, because other cities have already committed to a creative future. Hong Kong is investing billions in its West Kowloon Cultural District, Singapore more than $500 million on its Esplanade, Adelaide more than $200 million on a contemporary art gallery. At this year’s Music Cities conference, Chengdu in China showed how it’s putting billions into its Music Fun district which will combine venues, recording studios, music training, education, and more. It’s already planning ahead with excellent public transport, a new international airport and tapping into students from the 56 universities in its region to provide the music consumers to support the idea. Among the feedback, the City is looking for where to start, what Melbourne would do differently, how extraordinary creative thinking would result in extraordinary results, and what arts, civic disciplines, and partnerships we must develop to reach that result.