Finding and selecting creative participants

'Renew'-type projects work best if there are a wide range of artists and creative people involved. It is important that an initiative about the community represents a good cross-section of the creative community and not simply a small clique and their friends. 

Reactivating a city or town works better if it gives a wide range people a reason to go there and not just a small group of people to have a place to hang out.

Renew Newcastle has experimented with and explored a range of approaches to finding the artists and creative people who have undertaken 'Renew' projects. 

The methods you use will inevitably impact upon the quality and success of the projects. Renew Newcastle has sought projects using strategies including:

  • Promoting the idea of Renew Newcastle, the calls for submissions and ultimately the projects themselves in the local and national media.
  • Holding several open public meetings and information nights for potential applicants and supporters to find out more and ask questions.
  • Using social networking sites such as Facebook (the Renew Newcastle Facebook group now has over 3,000 members) and tools such as Twitter to promote projects, deadlines, ideas and events.
  • Using the internet and websites such as to identify and directly contact artists and craftspeople in the local community who make and sell creative wares.
  • Visiting and/or talking to the organisers of local markets to identify suitable people and discuss proposed projects.
  • Directly contacting local artists, designers and craftspeople to promote the opportunity to be involved.
  • Holding regular public calls for submissions and promoting them through the web site.

The exact format of the call for submissions and the selection process for projects will depend on your needs. 

Renew Newcastle has at various times had both open calls and specific deadlines for applications depending on the availability of projects and the length of waiting lists. 

All applications are reviewed and prioritised by the management of Renew Newcastle. They are prioritised primarily depending on their suitability for spaces available based on the written applications and face-to-face discussions with a short list of project proponents. 

Final go-ahead is only given after meeting with the applicants and putting their proposals to interested property owners. 

Renew Newcastle's experience has been that projects need to be curated and carefully selected due to the sheer range of factors, interests and stakeholders involved.