Mr Marcus Westbury is the founder of Renew Newcastle and Renew Australia.
His background is a broadcaster, writer, media maker and festival director who has been responsible for some of Australia’s more innovative, unconventional and successful cultural projects and events.
He has also worked across a range of media as a writer, producer, director and presenter covering fields as diverse as culture, art, media, urban planning, sport and politics.
In 2008 Mr Westbury founded Renew Newcastle with his own funds and energy. It is a low budget, not for profit, DIY urban renewal scheme that has brokered access to 60 empty buildings for more than 160 creative enterprises, artists and cultural projects in his home town of Newcastle, New South Wales.
Mr Westbury was named Newcastle’s Citizen of the Year in 2010 (despite living in Melbourne) and the Hunter Region’s first innovation champion in 2013. Renew Newcastle has led to the founding of Renew Australia which supports towns and cities from across Australia and around the world.
Mr Westbury has written and presented two award winning television series on ABC One, has been a columnist for The Age and his writing about media, culture and politics has been published in Griffith REVIEW, Meanjin, Crikey, The Sydney Morning Herald, The Australian, several anthologies, journals, and countless web sites.
Mr Westbury has been named one of the top 10 leaders in the Australian art world by Arts Hub, while Australian Art Collector named him as one of 10 leading “Agenda setters” in Australia.
As a festival director Mr Westbury was a founder of Newcastle’s This Is Not Art festival and was a former director of International Symposium of Electronic Art in Sydney, the founding co-director of Vivid Ideas as part of Vivid Sydney, and the former director of Melbourne’s Next Wave Festival and Festival Melbourne 2006, the Cultural Program of the Melbourne 2006 Commonwealth Games.
He also co-founded Free Play, Australia’s largest independent computer games developers’ conference now an independent annual event.
Mr Westbury has worked with the ARC Centre of Excellence for Creative Industries and Innovation, was a founding board member of Creative Industries Innovation Centre at the UTS, and is a fellow of The Centre for Policy Development. Mr Westbury was a member of Creating Australia National Cultural Policy Reference Group.
He has sat on Committees of The Australia Council, Arts Victoria, NSW Ministry for the Arts, The Australian Film Commission and numerous agencies and was a delegate to the 2020 Summit.