Time Out launches Future Shapers

Time Out’s Editorial Director explains how Time Out is celebrating the individuals and organisations making lasting change in the city's arts, civics, sustainability, food and drink, and community and culture sectors.

This past year has been one of the most turbulent in recent memory, with restrictions, lockdowns, changes, innovation and a new way of living and working carving a path through our cities. Australia – 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 our 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 and Sydney 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 and boundary pushers who are making our cities 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 artistic 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. 

In Sydney, Mike Rodrigues, NSW’s inaugural 24-hour economy commissioner, who is leading plans to reinvigorate Sydney as a 24-hour city for the 21st century, joined our panel. Dr Edwina Throsby, head of talks and ideas at the Sydney Opera House and responsible for creating boundary-busting events and festivals for the world’s most famous building, lent her expertise. We asked Luke Briscoe, proud Kuku-Yalanji man and CEO and founder of First Nations STEM and environmental research organisation Indigi Lab. Celebrity chef, television presenter, cookbook author and restaurateur Kylie Kwong, whose new restaurant, Lucky Kwong, has just opened in Sydney’s exciting new South Eveleigh dining precinct, agreed to join us. And David Berthold, former artistic director of Griffin Theatre Company and director in residence at the National Institute of Dramatic Art (NIDA) in Kensington, also agreed.

Our expert panel discussed all five categories and deliberated which who best embodied the qualities of a Future Shaper: someone who is doing something new and innovative that will change our cities for the better. They discussed their choices, met up, 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.

Meet Time Out Sydney's Future Shapers.
Meet Time Out Melbourne's Future Shapers.

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