Future Local: Arts Transforming the City

Future Local: Arts Transforming the City

By now, we’re used to hearing people talk about the value of ‘creative’ cities and economies. But what benefits do art and culture really bestow upon cities – and what would our cities be without them?

Issue 6 of Assemble Papers, ‘Future Local’, presented in partnership with MPavilion, focusses on the future of our urban environments. How do we navigate global and local ideas and identities, and what implications can creativity have? And how do the arts bring people into contact with one another – or bind us to the places we live, work and play? Can these interactions be fostered by people like planners, architects and politicians, or do they need other things to blossom?

Assemble Papers editor Sara Savage leads a discussion with Marcus Westbury, Wendy Lasica and Lara Thoms exploring how our encounters with creative practice and arts organisations can bear significant impacts on spaces as small as a piece of furniture – or as big as the planet.

Presented in partnership with Assemble Papers and MPavilion.


Portrait of Sara Savage

Sara Savage

Sara Savage is a writer, editor and broadcaster based in Melbourne, where she hosts the weekly radio show Parallel Lines on Triple R, covering arts, culture, design and science. She is the former editor of Assemble Papers, a biannual print and weekly online publication exploring small footprint living across art, design, architecture, urbanism, the environment and finance.

Portrait of Marcus Westbury

Marcus Westbury

Marcus Westbury is the inaugural CEO of Contemporary Arts Precincts Ltd that is leading the development of the Collingwood Arts Precinct in Melbourne. He is also the founder of the multi award-winning Renew Newcastle and Renew Australia projects that have reopened more than a hundred vacant properties to creative and community uses across Australia. 

Portrait of Wendy Lasica

Wendy Lasica

Wendy Lasica trained and worked as a dancer and choreographer. She also holds a Masters degree in Urban Planning, and has established a niche planning practice working at the intersection of cities and culture. Wendy develops strategic planning responses as part of design/planning teams, and develops strategic plans for small and larger cultural organisations.

She has MC’d and spoken on panels for Open House, Arts House, Planning Institute of Australia and MPavilion on aspects of culture and the city.

She is also an award-winning theatre producer, most recently with the sold-out Two Jews walk into a theatre … – a new work by Brian Lipson, Gideon Obarzanek and Lucy Guerin at Arts House. She also produced Lipson’s solo shows, Edmund. The Beginning and A Large Attendance in the Antechamber. Wendy founded artists’ organisation The Field in New York in 1985.

Portrait of Lara Thoms

Lara Thoms

Lara Thoms is the recipient of a two-year Creative Australia Fellowship from the Australia Council for the Arts to explore site-specific and participatory possibilities in contemporary art.

She is part of collective Field Theory, who are about to present their third festival of site-responsive performance, Site Is Set. In the past, they have invited artists to create new work in locations such as Calder Park Raceway, Eureka Tower and an Abandoned Space Museum. In October, Field Theory will live in the Queen Victoria Markets, broadcasting for six days for the Melbourne Biennial Lab as part of Melbourne Festival.

Lara interrupted a shopping centre with her project Ultimate Vision Monuments to Us at Westfield Hurstville, commissioned by the Museum of Contemporary Art, and is an artistic associate with inter-disciplinary arts organisation Aphids.

Listen to Future Local: Arts Transforming the City