Media releases

Sydney’s bid to save its creative soul

Published 23 May 2024

Local and international arts experts will discuss ways to save Sydney’s creative soul at a public event, as soaring costs push artists out of the city.

Free tickets for the CityTalks panel discussion, Making space for culture – the future of Sydney’s creative economy, are available now.

City of Sydney research shows an alarming number of spaces where creatives once made and exhibited work in the last decade have been lost to a booming residential property market.

Like other rapidly urbanising global cities, a lack of affordable, suitable workspace for arts and creative industries is the primary issue facing Sydney’s cultural life, with the need for a solution now critically urgent.

“While Sydney is a powerhouse of culture for the nation, what makes that possible is at risk. Our creative workforce increasingly can’t afford to live or work in Sydney,” Lord Mayor of Sydney, Clover Moore AO said.

“Sydney’s rising property prices, the transformation of former industrial areas and the pandemic have savaged our cultural life – threatening the viability of live music venues, small theatres, galleries and rehearsal spaces, and the affordability of studios, workshops and warehouses.

“Culture and creativity are the soul of our cities and communities. They create a sense of belonging, revitalise neighbourhoods, build communities, drive innovation and contribute to local economies.

“Losing the people with the ideas and skills that make up the lifeblood of Sydney’s cultural life is not an option. Join us to discuss how solutions like precinct revitalisation and a creative lands trust could work for Sydney.”

Speakers from the worlds of film, fashion, urban planning, government and the performing arts include:

  • Clover Moore AO - Lord Mayor of Sydney
  • Claudia Karvan OAM - Australian actor and producer
  • The Hon John Graham MLC - Special Minister of State, Minister for Roads, Minister for the Arts, Minister for Music and the Night-Time Economy and Minister for Jobs and Tourism
  • Justine Simons OBE - Deputy Mayor of London for Culture and the Creative Industries and Founder and Chair of the World Cities Culture Forum
  • Darren Dale - Board Chair Sydney Film Festival, Producer Blackfella Films
  • Hellen Morgan-Harris - Director Tortuga Studios, Co-chair City of Sydney Cultural and Creative Sector Advisory Panel
  • Sara Mansour - Co-founder and Executive Director, Bankstown Poetry Slam, former Chair Artists Advisory Panel to the Minister of Arts on the NSW Arts, Culture and Creative Industries Policy
  • Alex Schuman – CEO Carla Zampatti
  • Marcus Westbury OAM - CEO and Co-founder

Visit Ticketmaster to get hold of a free ticket to the event.

CityTalks event details
What: Making space for culture - the future of Sydney's creative economy
When: 6:30pm-8:30pm, Wednesday 12 June
Where: Centennial Hall, Sydney Town Hall
Cost: Free. Bookings essential.

For media enquiries contact Roxanne Macara. Phone 0438 554 640 or email

For interviews with Lord Mayor of Sydney, Clover Moore AO, contact Zoe Delamare. Phone 0477 263 615 or email