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Metro Tunnel

About the Creative Program

The Metro Tunnel Creative Program features activities and events designed and led by a world-class team of designers, cultural curators, and place managers dedicated to enhancing city life alongside the construction of the Metro Tunnel.


The Metro Tunnel Project is committed to a program of temporary creative works that make a significant contribution to offsetting the disruption across the project’s worksites, keeping Melbourne a vibrant and attractive destination as we build this city-shaping project.

The Creative Program is designed to keep the city vibrant during construction, leaving a lasting legacy for major infrastructure projects worldwide.

It will enhance the reputation of Melbourne as a destination for culture, education, major events, not only after the Metro Tunnel opens but also while it is constructed.

The focus of the program is to encourage community interaction with construction sites and support local business - at the coalface between site boundaries and where city life begins. The program supports the objectives in the Creative Strategy.

Our Mission

To minimise the disruption to city life caused by the construction of the Metro Tunnel Project through tactical placemaking, cultural programming and attentive place management.

Our approach is to work collaboratively in order to deliver place outcomes that positively contribute to the character and identity of Melbourne’s unique places and precincts.

Specifically, we will be developing and implementing activities that address key challenges posed by the construction works. These solutions are intended to be flexible and adaptive in order to respond to the changing needs of each location.

An evaluation framework established early in the program will provide data and insights into what solutions resonate allowing the program shaped to respond what our community wants.


The following objectives are what we aim to achieve at each site:

  • Keep the city vibrant
  • Think laterally about space and place
  • Remain quintessentially ‘Melbourne’ in our approach
  • Stay true to local character
  • Keep the city’s areas active
  • Keep Melbourne liveable


People Focused

We will work in partnership with communities and organisations to deliver relevant activities which reflect the people it serves.

Adaptive and Responsive

We will employ short term ‘tactical-urbanism’ and placemaking in order to quickly address emerging problems and adapt to changing needs.

Creative and Collaborative

We will consult with working with Traditional Owners, local governments, state government agencies, higher-education bodies, as well as small businesses and cultural organisations.

Innovative and Sustainable

We will explore and employ new technologies and materials that enable us to better achieve project priorities while reducing our impact on the environment.


The following priorities are what we will do across all sites to deliver on objectives:

  • Mitigating the disruption on the city and public during the construction process.
  • Enabling residents, workers, students and visitors to seamlessly move around the project sites and interact with the city.
  • Establishing and managing temporary spaces for people to enjoy city life.
  • Enhancing the ‘Melbourne Experience’ through high-quality cultural commissioning, programming, activation and events.
  • Maintaining and enhancing the aesthetic and unique character at each station precinct.
  • Increasing activity around station precincts to support local businesses.
  • Growing and enhancing Melbourne’s reputation as one of the world’s most liveable cities.

Curatorial Themes


During a period of extensive change and transformation, storytelling is a natural and poignant curatorial theme, assisting us to consider the past, the present and the future, embracing disruption as a necessity for improvements for years to come.

As a creative theme, its purpose is to stimulate artists to consider people in place, to unlock the surprising or forgotten histories, to reveal and celebrate, access and uncover the contemporary stories of everyday Melburnian’s, look to new generations and the possible future stories.

The outcomes will be as varied as the partners, practitioners and art forms providing projects of interest to the widest possible audience.

Seven seasons – the environment

The seven seasons relates to climatic features, environmental events such as plant flowering, fruiting, animal behavioural patterns, celestial arrangements visible at various times of the year and the changing angles of the sun.

These natural changes in the landscape have been observed over centuries.

The Metro Tunnel Creative Program will shift this focus towards the built environment of the city and how it is shaped by impact of seasons and climate.

We will be asking artists and creative practitioners to consider these impacts and reflect this in the designs they create.

Movement, repetition and time

The temporary arts program heralds Metro Tunnel’s commitment to enhancing the passenger transit experience. Through purposeful engagement with the artists, creative organisations & local communities we have an opportunity to play a role in creating a city-wide cultural space that shapes, and informs, our experience of journey and movement through the city.

Proposals and ideas are actively welcomed that speak to the act of commuting, underground rail networks, urban transportation and the mass transit of travellers through shared spaces.

Ethical Commitment

All initiatives within the creative program will be undertaken with consideration of the social and environmental impacts that they will carry, and mitigate to the point that their impact or footprint is minimised as much as possible.

Traditional Owners

We acknowledge the first peoples and traditional owners of the land we now call Victoria. We also aim to work in collaboration with Traditional Owner representative groups to help shape this strategy and ongoing implementation.

Social Inclusiveness

We will ensure the ability for inclusion and engagement of all members of the community, at all times.


We will ensure the program does not preclude Heritage Implementation Strategies and that the heritage significance of each site is celebrated and respected.


All waste management will be carefully investigated to ensure maximum efforts to recycle waste is realised.

Material conscious

We will endeavour where able to utilise materials that minimise the environmental impact of the structure, artwork or installation.

Renewable Energy

Where possible, we will utilise renewable energy sources as service provision for water and power supplies.

Multi-Functional Infrastructure

Where able, infrastructure will be designed to be used for multiple purposes and have to ability to take multiple forms.

Sustainable Landscapes

We will provision landscaping works to include a portion of planting that includes, medicinal plants as well as food sources.

Frequently asked questions

What are the next steps?

After the announcement of program we will be reviewing the submissions received through the Open Call for artists to submit ideas for the City Square hoarding.

We will also be busy planning events and activities that will align with the program of construction works.

What can people expect to see?

The program isn't meant to be a one off major event, it is about helping build resilience at seven sites across the city during seven years of the major construction works.

For Melburnians going about their day, it is about discovering unexpected delights and surprises in the corners of the city affected by construction.

They will see pop-up parks and events as well as art on construction hoardings and around construction sites.

How will the Metro Tunnel Project select artists and collaborators?

We're mindful of broadening the opportunities for artists, city institutions and community groups to get involved in the Metro Tunnel creative program, as well as ensuring the construction sites reflect their location.

That is why we will use a number of ways to commission artworks, including an open call to community groups, individuals and cultural organisations, directly commission works through established artists, and work with some of our project stakeholders such as the arts faculties of local universities, the Royal Botanic Gardens and Federation Square to curate content.

How will the program ensure emerging artists and community groups have the opportunity to get involved?

We are actively seeking out ways to involve art students from nearby universities and art schools and local community groups who may be interested in a creative program.

We have included an open call for artists as part of our curation approach to ensure we give a broad range of people the opportunity to get involved.


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