This past year has been one of the most turbulent in recent memory, with restrictions, lockdowns, changes, more lockdowns, innovation, even more lockdowns and a new way of living and working carving a path through our city. Melbourne – and the world – may never go back to exactly the way it was before the events that started in 2020. But is that necessarily such a bad thing? Cities, like living organisms, never stand still. They ebb and flow, grow, build, change and become new all the time. The old ways of doing things were great, but maybe there are better ways. Now seems like the time to take risks, change things up and build a new Melbourne, one that is brighter, more vivid, kinder, smarter, more welcoming, more creative and more supportive. We at Time Out wanted to find the people and small organisations that are doing just that, shaping Melbourne's future into a brighter one for all of us.
To that end, we bring you our Future Shapers, people who are creating a new Melbourne in the fields of: arts; community and culture; food and drink; civics; and sustainability. We are profiling the creative types, clever thinkers, risk takers, genre benders, boundary pushers and rusted-on Melburnians who are making our city a better place to live, work and play.
But we couldn’t do it alone. We asked an esteemed panel of experts, all of them leading lights in their fields, to choose those people creating a new future in Melbourne. Senator Lidia Thorpe, who is a Greens member in the Senate and a passionate advocate for social justice, human rights and the environment, was one of our panellists. Melbourne Fringe creative director and CEO Simon Abrahams, who has worked in arts organisations across Melbourne, lent his expertise. Peter Tullin, co-founder of Remix Summits and member of the Creative State Advisory Board, also took part. Zoos Victoria chair Kate Vinot, who is also on the board of Parks Victoria, agreed to help. Food and wine gun and creative director of Melbourne Food and Wine Festival Pat Nourse agreed to join the panel. And Sustainability Victoria CEO Claire Ferres Miles rounded out our panel of six luminaries.
Our expert panel discussed all five categories and deliberated which Melburnians best embodied the qualities of a Future Shaper: someone who is doing something new and innovative that will change Melbourne for the better. They discussed their choices, met up (virtually, thanks to lockdown 4.0), deliberated and discussed some more. And they came up with a list of 28 people who are making waves in their fields, whose stories you should know about.
We’ll be profiling these brilliant people over the next five weeks, with one category of Future Shapers being published each week. We hope that you, like us, will find these people fascinating and inspirational. After all, the future is in their hands.