Worldwide icon-chevron-right South Pacific icon-chevron-right Australia icon-chevron-right Melbourne icon-chevron-right Meet the Future Shapers, who are changing Melbourne for the better
Future Shapers Judges Hero pic
Graphics: Time Out Melbourne Future Shapers judges

Meet the Future Shapers, who are changing Melbourne for the better

We are profiling the people who are creating the future of our city

By Cassidy Knowlton
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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.

 

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Here are our Future Shapers

Future Shapers sustainability hero
Future Shapers sustainability hero
Graphics: Time Out

Future Shapers: Sustainability

Things to do

Those in the sustainability category are very literally shaping the future in their work saving the Earth. Everyone knows that business as usual means rising sea levels, a worsening climate crisis and a permanent and devastating change in the way we live. But these people are anything but business as usual, helping us all make changes before it's too late.

Future Shapers Arts hero
Future Shapers Arts hero
Graphics: Time Out

Future Shapers: Arts

Things to do

The arts is always changing and evolving, particularly in Melbourne. What would have been considered cutting-edge a decade ago reads as humdrum to audiences hungry to be amazed and challenged. When our panel of experts considered the arts, they wanted to champion both those who have big organisations and platforms behind them and those who are forging a completely new path without institutional backing. After all, the arts are a place for dreamers and boundary-pushers, those who want to shake it up, burn it all down and build a better tomorrow.

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Future Shapers Community hero
Future Shapers Community hero
Graphics: Time Out

Future Shapers: Community and culture

Things to do

For our community and culture category, our judges have chosen individuals who are striving for change – whether that means teaching women tech skills or using their platform to advocate for people living with a disability. This category is broad, but it's clear every single person chosen is doing something that impacts our community as a whole – and we want more people to support them and hear their stories.

Future Shapers Food and drink hero
Future Shapers Food and drink hero
Graphics: Time Out

Future Shapers: Food and drink

Things to do

Food and drink is a category that is constantly changing, and the way we will eat tomorrow might be completely alien to those who lived in this country 50 years ago. In this category, we meet the chefs, entrepreneurs, Traditional Custodians and industry experts who are changing the way that we eat and drink in order to very literally save the Earth. There's nothing more ubiquitous than food, but these people are anything but ordinary. They are changing the world for the better, one bite and sip at a time. 

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Future Shapers Civic hero
Future Shapers Civic hero
Graphics: Time Out

Future Shapers: Civics

Things to do

In some ways, civics is the category that is hardest to define, but we take it to mean those who are changing the way we live, work and play in Melbourne and creating opportunities for others to do the same. In this category, we meet the founders of a social enterprise that provides training in the hospitality industry to young people experiencing disadvantage, as well as scientists who are figuring out ways to use technology to build a better future.

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