Global Navigation




Creative City

Creative City

Creative City

We are developing a cultural policy for Sydney – the first step is asking people who live, work and visit the city what kind of cultural life they want.

What are your experiences in our museums, galleries, festivals and concert halls, or with street art, viral videos and gigs in hole-in-the-wall venues?

How can we inspire an even richer creative culture? How do we make sure creative people can afford to live and work here in Sydney? What inspires and persuades people to get involved, go out to shows or invest in local work?

It's about looking at our cultural assets – the people and programs, as well as the physical infrastructure – and asking, are we putting them to best use?

Does what we're doing fit with what people care about?

So far people are asking for:

  • a regular night food market 
  • a ‘creative concierge’ to help artists get their projects off the ground
  • low interest loans to buy artwork by local artists
  • evening childcare so parents can get out to a show at night
  • more opportunities to support creative activities through philanthropy, micro-financing and crowd sourcing
  • pop-up performances in our public spaces all year round
  • musical instruments to borrow (and play) at the library
  • unsold theatre tickets available cheaply for high school students.

Creative industries are Sydney’s fastest-growing sector

Creative industries contributed an estimated $8.2 billion in 2012 and are expected to account for $14.9 billion by 2030.

At the last Census in 2011, more than 32,000 people worked in creative fields in inner city Sydney, an increase of 22.2 per cent since 2006.

A cultural policy would encourage continued growth by providing a clear framework for our goals and how we can achieve and measure them.

Did you know the City of Sydney invested $34 million last year in Sydney’s cultural life – through major events like the Sydney Festival, the Film Festival and Mardi Gras, our major events like Art & About, Sydney New Year’s Eve and Chinese New Year, local community projects through our Pine Street centre and libraries, public art and an extensive community grants program.

Ideas to support, encourage and inspire more creativity flowed at our booked out City Talk in April.

The stellar panel included Adam Spencer (MC), Charles Firth (Manic Studios, The Roast), Marcus Westbury (Renew Australia), Louise O’Donnell (Seed Production), Nicole Durling (MONA), Katherine Hough (Arts Tasmania), Sherrill Nixon (Fairfax Media), Richard Roxburgh (actor), Lord Mayor Clover Moore, and our keynote speaker Carol Colletta (Artplace America). You can listen to the podcast.

Here are some of the ideas we've received so far:

“There have been great council policy initiatives, but there is still a big gap between this and the actual planning department approval process.”

“Ask artists to create a design for a ferry. They can be painted, it can be graffiti, it can be a gallery style thing going on inside. All Sydney people can vote for their favourite designs.” 

“What we need are more spaces for independent music and art – spaces run by creative collectives who have a vision to support ground-breaking and experimental music and art from the ground up.”

“I would love to access welding equipment to make a sculpture but it is crazy expensive. What about partnering with private organisations to facilitate more public access?”

“If the Aboriginal community is supportive, then the murals on Lawson Street should be restored and heritage protected, so visitors to Sydney can get a true, authentic slice of urban Aboriginal art.”

“Sydney needs at least one, preferably 2, 2,000 seat lyric theatres badly for musicals, opera and ballet in the city.”

“Speakers' Corner could become one of Sydney's main tourist attractions with just a little help and not much money.” 

Until the end of May, we’re doing workshops, surveys, vox pops and online consultation to hear what creative culture Sydneysiders want.

Share your brilliant idea or read the discussion paper.

Sydney Writers' Festival 2012 - photo by Prudence Upton

Last updated: Monday, 20 May 2013