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General Manager


Christopher has worked as a Creative Producer for 20 years with national arts and social change organisation, Big hART. This work has involved diverse communities and individuals around Australia in participatory arts practice.

His most publicised work is with the Northcott Public Housing community in Sydney. Here he produced the site-specific performance event StickybrickS and photographic exhibition tenant by tenant for the 2006 Sydney Festival as well as the ABC TV documentary 900 Neighbours. He was instrumental in facilitating the World Health Organisation’s Accreditation for Northcott as a Safe Community in 2007.

Christopher moved with his family to Newcastle in 2011 and worked as the producer and project manager for the Regal Cinema restoration and re-imagination in Birmingham Gardens which was officially re-opened in early 2014.

He is currently the chair of Tantrum Youth Arts.

Christopher began at Renew Newcastle as Property Manager in 2012. He has delivered Project Support Services and carpentry expertise including The Emporium fit out. He was promoted to General Manager in September 2014.

Marketing and Public Relations Co-ordinator


Neroli’s marketing career started almost 20 years ago and has predominately supported government and not-for-profit organisations. Looking to begin a new phase of her career when her children started school she began hosting pop-up dining events and food tours in Newcastle. For three years Neroli has been working with local venues, property owners and chefs to create events that help stimulate activity in the city and offer an opportunity for people to connect and gather over a meal. Running in parallel to Renew Newcastle’s work in the city and sharing a desire to see a renewed Newcastle, Neroli’s enthusiasm is contagious and her skills and experience highly relevant.

Operations Assistant


Rayannon is a recent graduate from the University of Newcastle within the degree of Communication, majoring in Public Relations. With her passions firmly based within the arts and cultural industries, Rayannon strives to utilise her professional communication skills and knowledge to promote what she believes to be the fundamental role of the arts within the local and wider community.

Unlike many of her peers who chose to seek employment outside of Newcastle, Rayannon’s affinity for the culturally rich and artistically diverse quality of her local community pursued her to find a localised organisation to carry out her profession.

Having found her goals as a studying public relations practitioner align with those of the Renew Newcastle mission, Rayannon and the team quickly connected, resulting in her being offered an internship with Renew. Fast forward less than a year and Rayannon continues to contribute towards a number of operational and communications-based responsibilities within the organisation on a contracted basis.



Marcus Westbury is a writer, broadcaster, festival director and media maker. Born in Newcastle, Marcus has long been obsessed with the problem of Newcastle’s decay and vacant buildings.

Marcus is the writer and presenter of the ABC TV series, Not Quite Art – the first series of which featured an extended look at Newcastle and Glasgow in Scotland and made a comparison that inspired the Renew Newcastle project.

When not making TV series, Marcus has been responsible for some of Australia’s more innovative, unconventional and successful cultural events. His interests range across media, culture, art, urban planning, sport and politics.

Marcus was a founder of Newcastle’s This Is Not Art festival. This Is Not Art is one the largest media arts events in the world. From 2002 to 2006 Marcus was the Artistic Director of Melbourne’s Next Wave Festival and was a director the Cultural Program of the Melbourne 2006 Commonwealth Games. He also co-founded Free Play, Australia’s largest independent computer games developer’s conference and was the inaugural Creative Manager of the youth media initiative Noise.

Marcus has co-written an arts guidebook for the Australia Council, a love-hate tourist guide to Newcastle and his writings have turned up in the Griffith REVIEWCrikeyThe Sydney Morning HeraldThe AustralianSpinach7 magazine, several anthologies, journals, and countless web sites. He has sat on Committees of The Australia Council, Arts Victoria, NSW Ministry for the Arts, The Australian Film Commission and numerous agencies and was a delegate to the 2020 Summit Arts panel.

2015 and 2016 have been big years for Marcus with the launch of his book Creating Cities, his ABC television series, Bespoke and commencing in the role of Chief Executive of the Collingwood Arts Precinct in Melbourne.

His personal web site is at


Marni Jackson, General Manager (October 2008 – Sep 2014)
Siobhan Curran, Media, Publicity & Marketing Co-ordinator (February 2012 – April 2016)
Glen Livingston, Bookkeeping  (2010 – April 2017)
Nicole, Administration (2014 – February 2018)
Edwina Richards, Project Advocacy (May 2015 – Dec 2017)


Board Member, since June 2011. Chair, since February 2016

Kris is the Owner / Director of Catalyst Project Consulting, providing Project and Development Management services in the commercial, education and industrial sectors. He graduated from the University of Newcastle in 1997 with a Bachelor of Construction Management (honours) and completed an MBA (Merit) in 2013 with a specialisation in Marketing.

Kris owns Jimmy Figg’s Bare-Knuckle Barber, has been a Board member of Newcastle NOW (Newcastle’s Business Improvement Association) since 2012 and is Sergeant at Arms and Past President of the Newcastle Business Club.  Kris has committed his career to building construction and development projects and is excited to be part of a renewal of Newcastle from a social and cultural point of view.

Board Member, since August 2015

With a true passion for recruitment and over 13 years experience recruiting in multiple environments, Ty Brennock is a specialised recruitment professional with the ability to offer sound advice on not only recruiting, but local labour markets and trends, staffing issues and general HR matters. As the Accounting & Finance Consultant at Forsythes Recruitment, Ty is provided with the opportunity to develop strong, professional relationships with both clients and candidates. Whilst he is not an accountant; he is a professional, experienced and specialised recruiter with the objective of consulting with his clients to confidently recommend talent, and to recognize and match opportunities to candidates.

Elected Board Member of Renew Newcastle in 2015, Ty is also the President of the Newcastle Business Club for 2015. Recently elected an Events Committee Member with the Newcastle Club, Ty is a passionate Novocastrian, forever working towards promoting Newcastle as a progressive, exciting and lively city.

Before joining the Forsythes team in 2011, Ty was a Business Manager for a not-for-profit Government contracted recruitment organisation servicing clients across industries throughout the Newcastle, Lake Macquarie, Maitland and Port Stephens regions. Ty was also an active original artist in the city’s live music scene for at least the last decade, putting on shows as well as performing with a band. Ty enjoys seeing as much of the world as he can, and prefers to focus on a city’s lifeblood as opposed to the usual attractions.  He holds a Bachelor of Business degree with a double major in Industrial Relations & Human Resources and Marketing.

Board member, since October 2015

Richard has worked in engineering consultancy since 2002 and  managed local design house ACOR Consultants since 2011. He is a born and bred Novocastrian with a BE (Civil) degree from the University of Newcastle. Richard found his way to Renew via a passion for structural remediation and adaptive re-use.

Richard has a young family and loves spending time enjoying the city with them. He is also passionate about renewable energy, open source IP and homemade birthday cakes. He has a firm vision for a future Newcastle and sees locally made products, locally grown produce, sustainable business interactions and sense of community being central to our transition to a new economy and a bright future.

Board member, since May 2016

Kim moved to Newcastle 14 years ago to study at the University of Newcastle. Following the completion of her studies, she set off to travel the world but she knew she would return to Newcastle. During her time in Newcastle, Kim has seen Newcastle transform into an innovative, diverse and culturally enriched city – a place to raise her family without sacrificing lifestyle for opportunity.

Kim has extensive experience in government and advocacy, working at a federal government level since 2009. She holds an Honours degree in Communication from the University of Newcastle and is currently studying a Bachelor of Laws. Kim lives with her young family in Mayfield and loves our city’s unique heritage, beautiful beaches and lifestyle. Kim is passionate about the continued revitalisation of our City so that Newcastle continues to be a great place where people want to live and work.

Board member, since February 2018

Ben Mitchell is an illustrator and academic, based in Newcastle NSW. He is currently completing a PHD on Visual Narratives at the University of Newcastle, and has developed undergradudate courses in Design, Communications and Primary Teaching.

Ben has worked at The Roost Creative as a commercial illustrator for several years, working in animation, branding, graphic design and storyboarding for small businesses and the entertainment industry. Ben is an established cartoonist and feature creator in the Australian independent comic book database Ownaindi and his latest comic book, Ghost Beach, was nominated for a Ledger Award in 2017 and is distributed internationally by Birdcage Bottom Books.  Ben was also a Renew participant  from 2015 – 2017.


Petra Hilsen (November 2008 – July 2017)
Edwina Richards (June 13 – Feb 17)
Lance Swansbra (Oct 13 – April 16)
Rod Smith (Mar 10 – Feb 16)
Kate Murray (Mar 11 – May 14)
Martin Matthews (Mar 10 – Aug 13)
Zac Zavos (Mar 10 – Dec 12)
Craig Allchin (Nov 08 – Mar 12)
Peter Shinnick (Nov 08 – Mar 11)
Prof. Steffen Lehmann (Nov 08 – Jun 10)
Hannah Barry (Dec 16 – May 17)