New Institute – New Venue – Next Event

This New Institute Forum aims to involve a range of stakeholders in:-

  • identifying the current intellectual, social and creative activity in the region,
  • understanding the factors which support or act as barriers to the development of increased innovation, social and creative activity in the region.
  • building a framework to increase the recognition, coordination, activity and linkages in the ‘ideas and creative’ sector of the region.


Date: Tuesday 11th October, 2011

Time: 7pm

Location: Hunter Room, Newcastle City Hall – (Please note that lift access for attendees with mobility issues is available by using the entry from the Wheeler Place end of the building)

Entry: A donation of $5 is much appreciated.


The New Institute has been meeting in a variety of locations since 2004, with a general aim of raising the standard and quality of non-partisan discussion of public interest issues in Newcastle.  Newcastle City Council has recently become a venue sponsor of the Institute’s public forums, which will now be held in Newcastle City Hall.

In recognition of this new phase in the New Institute’s activities, our next  meeting on October 11th, will bring together a range of contributors in a panel to address the topic of ‘Building an Ideas City” – the challenge of developing Newcastle’s intellectual, Social and creative infrastructure.


Across Australia, Newcastle is perceived as a working and sporting city, with an increasingly recognised good environment and a high quality of life. There is a need for better transport and other infrastructure to build capacity to support the region’s contribution to the national economy.  Every week the media is carrying stories building awareness of the need to invest in building this physical infrastructure for the future.

But strong and successful cities in the future will not be centres of mining and manufacturing:- they will centres of ideas, creativity and influence.  This requires a different type of infrastructure the ‘ideas infrastructure’ – networks of people stimulating each other’s creativity, sharing ideas, and building influence.

There is already a great of creative and ideas activity in Newcastle, but much of this is little-known or poorly recognised. Individuals and groups are not connecting with each other.  Myriad opportunities to build a vibrant dynamic community of new ideas are being lost.

The challenge is to improve both the recognition and the connectedness of the various diverse groups in Newcastle dealing with creativity and ideas – to build linkages and synergies between them, and thus increase the overall ‘ideas capacity’ in the city, and particularly to increase the national recognition and influence of Newcastle as a centre for ideas.


The forum will be chaired by Roger Pryor, a member of the New Institute committee, who will chair a panel, in a format loosely based on the ABC’s ‘Q&A’.   After introduction, panel members will each do a brief (2-3 min) presentation of their experiences or activities in intellectual, social and creative capital.

Panel members will then field questions like:

  • What are the major “structural” impediments to activity that they have encountered (i.e. other than “Lack of funding” etc)
  • How linkages with other groups could produce synergistic benefits in their areas of endeavour
  • What factors support or act as barriers to greater activity or investment (economic, social and creative) in these areas
  • How can the supporting factors be encouraged and the barriers overcome
  • What (affordable) strategies/structures could be developed in the short term to facilitate building up of capacity and capital in ideas/creativity/social innovation
  • Questions and comments from the audience will also  be interpolated into the discussion.
  • During the evening an opportunity will exist for any group or activity broadly addressing the issue of building an “ideas city” to promote their existence and activities, and to build greater awareness of this activity in the region.

A number of stakeholders from a broad range across the community have been invited to take part as either panellists or as designated audience contributors.

The planned outcomes of this forum should be:-

  • Facilitation of interaction between the various attendees
  • Improved public profile of the “Ideas Activity” in Newcastle.
  • Move to identify how best to build productive and stimulating synergies and networks between the various stakeholders in the “Ideas Community” of Newcastle
  • Fostering of initiatives to build the infrastructure to support the development of Newcastle as a recognised “Ideas City” in the future.

Next Steps

Based on the results of this event, next year there could be a follow-up event which focuses on people’s ideas of moving Newcastle forward to a liveable and sustainable city.

Click the logo to download a flyer for this event.


Management Committee

Martin Babakhan;   Felicity Biggins;   Victoria Carroll,  Robyn Considine;    Bernie Curran;   Angie Dilorenzo;    Micah Jenkins  Ross Kerridge;    John Miner;    Roger Pryor;  Amanda Shirley (McLean’s Bookshop),  Krysia Walker. I

Visit the website at or phone Victoria Carroll 0408588550, Angie diLorenzo on 0422401129, or Ross Kerridge on 0401522875





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