Marcus Westbury is the founder of Renew Newcastle and Renew Australia. His background is as an urbanist, broadcaster, writer, media maker and festival director who is responsible for some of Australia’s more innovative, unconventional and successful cultural projects and events. He has worked across a range of media as a writer, producer, director and presenter, covering fields as diverse as culture, art, urban planning, media, sport and politics. He is the author of the forthcoming Creating Cities -- a book about cities, culture and creativity that was produced after a record breaking Australian crowd funding campaign.
In 2008, Marcus founded Renew Newcastle, a low budget, not for profit, multi award winning DIY urban renewal scheme that has brokered access to more than 70 empty buildings for more than 170 creative enterprises, artists and cultural projects in his hometown of Newcastle, NSW. Since then he has worked with cities across Australia and around the world on innovative, low cost urban revitalisation strategies. His work with Renew Australia has seen him work with places like Docklands in central Melbourne, major companies, and local communities across the country develop local industries, ideas and economies in what would otherwise be wasted or vacant spaces.
As a festival director Marcus was a founder of Newcastle’s This Is Not Art festival, now Newcastle’s largest annual tourism event and 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 a director of Festival Melbourne 2006, the Cultural Program of the Melbourne 2006 Commonwealth Games. He also co-founded Free Play, Australia’s largest computer games developers’ event and was lead advisor, co-curator and programming consultant to establishment of Vivid Ideas -- part of the Vivid Sydney festival.
Marcus is an Honorary Fellow of Monash University and has worked with The ARC Centre of Excellence for Creative Industries and Innovation and is a former Fellow of The Centre for Policy Development. He previously wrote a regular column for The Age in Melbourne. His writing about media, culture, community and politics has been published in Volume, Griffith REVIEW, Desktop, Meanjin, Crikey, The Sydney Morning Herald, The Australian, several anthologies, journals, and countless web sites. In 2007 and 2008 Marcus was the writer and presenter of the award winning Not Quite Art on ABC1. In 2015 he will return to ABC TV as the writer and presenter of Bespoke -- a series about the rise and return of makers and the handmade in local communities across Australia and around the world that will air in August.
Arts Hub named Marcus one the top 10 leaders in the Australian art world, while Australian Art Collector named him as one of 10 leading “Agenda setters” in Australia. He was a member of the Rudd and Gillard Governments’ Creative Australia Advisory Panel, a delegate to the 2020 Summit, is a member of the Victorian Government Creative Industries Expert Reference Group, an advisor to Pozible, the Australian crowd funding platform, and previously sat on Committees or boards of The Australia Council, Arts Victoria, NSW Ministry for the Arts, The Australian Film Commission, City of Melbourne, the University of Technology Sydney and numerous other agencies. Marcus is currently based in Melbourne and working on projects across Australia and around the world.