Fri 22 August 2014

Renew Newcastle Farewells General Manager Marni Jackson

Despite a bleak few weeks of dark clouds, biting winds and inevitable downpours in Newcastle, there are certainly green shoots emerging, to signal that Spring is on its way. The brighter months ahead will also bring some fresh changes to the Renew Newcastle organisation and its team.

As of 29 August 2014 General Manager Marni Jackson is departing Newcastle after almost 6 years with the company, to take up an exciting new role as Cultural Projects Manager with City of Sydney.


Marcus Westbury & Marni Jackson at the ‘0 – 100 Projects’ Exhibition Launch. Pic by Boony Loahajaroenyot, 2014

Marni has been involved with the organisation from its inception, signing the company application papers at the invitation of Renew Newcastle Founder and Creative Director Marcus Westbury, along with former Director Craig Allchin, in October 2008.

Since the first Renew Newcastle projects were given keys in January 2009, the organisation has supported 155 arts, creative and community projects to take place, brokering access to 67 otherwise empty properties in the Newcastle city centre. Ms Jackson has built the program from the point when it was just an idea to an initiative that as of today runs 54 projects in 25 properties – a bigger program than at any time in its history.

Marcus Westbury said today: “Marni is one of the most outstanding people I’ve ever met and worked with. Her dedication, patience, vigilance, and persistence has been instrumental to the success for Renew Newcastle from the very beginning.”

In a farewell statement, Ms Jackson said: “I feel very privileged to have been able to do this work. Growing the organisation to its position today and seeing the palpable difference this program has made to the culture and life of the city are my proudest achievements. Renew Newcastle has been a breakthrough and inspirational program. It continues to be deeply relevant to the growth of the city, and I look forward to seeing what a new team can introduce into the landscape.”

Marni will be replaced in the role by Christopher Saunders, who has more than 2 years experience with the organisation in the role of Property Manager and delivering Project Support Services.

Christopher brings with him more than 20 years experience of working in community arts projects, most recently as Creative Producer with arts and social change organisation Big hArt. Christopher also project managed the rebuild and restoration of The Regal Cinema at Birmingham Gardens.

Mr Saunders was promoted to the role due to his thorough understanding of Renew Newcastle operations, existing community relationships, and his passion for the organisation and its role in Newcastle’s revitalisation.

On the appointment of Christopher Saunders, Marcus Westbury said “Renew Newcastle – and Newcastle itself – is going through a period of change and transition at the moment. Given the way he has grown into his existing roles within Renew Newcastle, Christopher is the best possible person to take on the challenges and opportunities of this exciting new era.”

Chairperson, Roderick Smith states, “It’s been a wonderful experience working with Marni from the very beginning of this initiative. Her passion for the creative community, commitment to the organisation and approach to what is a very demanding role is deeply appreciated. We wish her well in her new role and will miss her very much. We also happily welcome Chris and I look forward to continuing our work with him in providing a vital service to the city centre during its transitional stages.”

Media Enquiries: Siobhan Curran

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Goodbye Message from Marni Jackson

“It’s incredible to think back to the early days of the organisation – we had quite modest goals, were so pleased to be able to make even a handful of fun projects happen in these spaces. After all, something was better than the nothing that was blowing through the Mall, right?

After a couple of years of facilitating those projects – still learning how to juggle the sometimes competing interests of our stakeholders, getting into new territories right alongside those artists and creative who were developing their practice and ideas and enterprise – I realised we weren’t just bringing some colour back into town, we were supporting local people to make their dreams happen. And changing the face of the city in the process. I feel very privileged to have been able to do this work.

Working with the artists, my team, and Board members past and present has been thoroughly rewarding. In particular, I give extra special thanks to Marcus Westbury who had a brilliant idea, and honoured me by inviting me in to help bring it to fruition and make it shine. We developed a great partnership – driven by equal parts of vision, strategy, systems and sensitivity – but his confidence in my work and capacity has been everything.

Growing the organisation to its position today and seeing the palpable difference this program has made to the culture and life of the city are my proudest achievements. It’s a rare opportunity to be part of a genuinely game-changing project.

Aside from my preferred colour palettes and fashion frills, I’m generally reserved. But I’ve no hesitation in claiming the significance of the program to Newcastle’s revitalisation: Renew Newcastle has been, and is, a breakthrough and inspirational program. It continues to be deeply relevant to the growth of the city, and I look forward to seeing what a new team can introduce into the landscape.

All the best, Newcastle!

Marni xx


Marni Jackson leading the “New Adventures” Walking Tour, from the former Renew HQ in Morgan St. Pic by Simone Sheridan, 2012


Sat 9 August 2014

Two New Rounds of Project Applications Open Until 22 August

Renew Newcastle is once again calling for proposals. Applications are now open for projects to take place in otherwise empty spaces in the Newcastle CBD. There is also a new round of applications for the Renew Newcastle programmed gallery Project Space.


Horselove – Wolfe St Studios photo Melissa Wilson

We have a variety of diverse spaces, some large, some small and some just right, that are currently available to be matched with an appropriate creative project.

We have studio space available in the Wolfe St Studios building.

There are stand alone office spaces and office space within existing Renew properties.

We also have a number of retail outlets including at the Emporium and in the Hunter St Mall.

There are also a couple of unusually large but inviting spaces – one with high exposure.

So if you are a creative industries professional who has out grown your home office – if you have an idea for a gallery – or perhaps you are making something that you think you can sell – now might be the time to consider applying to get involved with Renew Newcastle. No project is too big or too small for this round of applications.

The Project Space, a space for short-run creative projects in the Emporium is also currently accepting applications. Project Space is a programmed gallery and installation space that is suitable for a variety of events and activities that usually run for 2-3 weeks.

Go to Project Applications for all the details on how to apply.



Fri 8 August 2014

August Workshops


Screen_Shot_2014-08-04_at_6.39.55_pm ‘Beginners Sign Painting Workshop – Newcastle’ at Pocket Design
Local sign painting maestro Brett Piva takes beginners through hand rendered techniques of the old craft of sign making.
When: 9am-5:30pm, Sunday 17 August
Where: Pocket Design, Shop 20, Market Square, 113-143 Hunter St Mall, Newcastle
Cost $165
RSVP: via

Screen_Shot_2014-08-06_at_8.48.21_pm NANA ‘DIY Art Fair’ at University of Newcastle
In association with University of Newcastle’s Create 2308 festival, NANA will be hosting an extreme drawing workshop.
When: 20-21 August
Where: Bar on the Hill, University of Newcastle, Ring Road, Callaghan
Hours: 12pm – 5pm

Screen_Shot_2014-08-06_at_11.57.24_pm ‘Make Your Own Picture Book’ with Liz Anelli Illustration
This workshop is for people who have always thought they’d like to illustrate a children’s book but didn’t know where or how to start.
When: 6pm-9pm, Wednesday 27 August
Where: Studio Melt, 119 Hunter St, Newcastle
Cost $99
RSVP: via

Screen_Shot_2014-08-06_at_11.53.45_pm ‘Beginners Sign Painting Workshop in Melbourne with Pocket Design’ at The Hungry Workshop
Sign painting maestro Brett Piva is in Melbourne for a whistle-stop tour of his beginners sign painting workshop.
When: 9am-5:30pm, Saturday 20 or Sunday 21 September
Where: The Hungry Workshop, 461 High St, Northcote VIC
Cost $265
RSVP: via


Thu 7 August 2014

Good News, Quick Links

Screen_Shot_2014-08-07_at_11.57.50_pm New Arts Publication Launches
The Follower is Newcastle’s newest monthly go-to for all things arts in Newcastle. Distributed in outer-suburban newspaper The Leader and via local retail outlets in the inner-city, The Follower’s is the culmination of the hard work of Zackari Watt, Marigold Pazar and Zana Kobayashi of Grasshopper Productions. Missed the first issue? Catch up here.

Screen_Shot_2014-08-08_at_12.04.41_am 2hrsNorth Project Fully Funded
Fellow Wolfe Street Studios based project, Dylan Smyth has conducted a successful Pozible campaign to launch a series of zines featuring photographic essays of Newcastle suburbs called 2hrsnorth. It’s not too secure copies of these limited edition photo-books or be a contributing photographer yourself. An exhibition celebrating the first half of the project will take place in The Project Space in Oct/Nov.

Screen_Shot_2014-08-06_at_11.57.24_pm Liz Anelli’s New Book
Celebrations for the release of ‘Howzat!’ a children’s book illustrated by Liz Anelli coincide with National Book Day on Saturday 9 August. Liz will be conducting a drawing workshop at Maclean’s Booksellers on Beaumont Street at 10am with special a special preview of the book in anticipation of its wide release in September.

Screen_Shot_2014-08-06_at_10.46.56_am LOOK SEE 2014 Submissions
Zookraft’s Carl Morgan and Lara Schubert are busy prepping for the 2014 Look See exhibition. Submissions are now open for music inspired artworks to be exhibited in October at the soon-to-be-reopened Lock-Up art space. Guidelines and more info [PDF]

Screen_Shot_2014-08-07_at_11.37.05_pm Hit The Bricks is Back
Not one to rest, Carl from Zookraft, along with local artists Sally Bourke and Michael Langenegger, have announced that Hit The Bricks street art festival is back in 2014. Building on the success of the inaugural event last year, Hit The Bricks will spread its wings to include locations in Mayfield as well as the CBD and West End between 1-2 November.

Screen_Shot_2014-08-07_at_10.38.32_pm Merewether Aquarium Opening Soon
Speaking of street art, Trevor Dickinson of Newcastle Productions has been flat out for the last 49 days sprucing up the Merewether Beach pedestrian tunnel, which will forever more be known as Merewether Aquarium. Keep up to date on the progress via the Newcastle Productions FB Page

Screen_Shot_2014-08-08_at_12.10.27_am Little New Map
Sara Spence from Dubbleyou Design has produced a nifty wallet-sized map, Little New, that includes locations of places to eat, shop and see in the CBD. Found at CBD retailers. Learn more about Sara and her design practice via this interview on the Finders Keepers blog.

Pop Up Filming Nears Completion
Stuart McBratney of McBrat TV whose successful crowd-funding campaign secured finance to shoot a feature length film, Pop Up, has celebrated completion of filming in Australian by releasing a teaser. Shooting of final scenes in Romania is just around the corner.

POP-UP TRAILER - June 2014 from Stuart McBratney on Vimeo.



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