Metro Tunnel Creative Program - CODAworx

Metro Tunnel Creative Program

Submitted by Mary Parker

Client: Rail Projects Victoria

Location: Melbourne, Australia

Completion date: 2021

Project Team

Director Communications & Creative

Mary Parker

Cross Yarra Partnership Project Co

Creative Engagement Manager

Sarah Robins

Cross Yarra Partnership Project Co

Project Manager

Nick Swanton

The Place Agency

Consultant Curator

Lisa Warrener

Global Arts Projects

Senior Creative Strategy Advisor

Dr Luke Diggins

Rail Projects Victoria

Director Corporate Affairs

Peter De Luca

Rail Projects Victoria

Deputy Director Communications & Stakeholder Engagement

Janette Sato

Rail Projects Victoria

Manager - Landowner and Business Support Services

Barry McGuren

Rail Projects Victoria

Communications and Stakeholder Engagement

Kate Walshe

Cross Yarra Partnership D&C


The Metro Tunnel Project is due to be completed in 2025 and will include two nine-kilometre train tunnels and five new underground train stations, which will enrich the public place of Melbourne, Australia.

During construction, there have been significant changes and temporary disruptions to the urban landscape in and around the designated building sites. This program of temporary creative works contributes to offsetting the disruption across our worksites, ensuring Melbourne remains a vibrant and attractive destination as we build this city-shaping project.

The focus of the program is to encourage positive and creative community interaction with construction sites and support local businesses at the coalface between site boundaries and where city life begins.

Unlike any other major infrastructure project, the Metro Tunnel Creative Program not only helps keep the city an attractive destination but provides work for hundreds of local artists and creative practitioners. For many, it was a lifeline during the pandemic with many institutions closed. The creative program, as Victoria’s largest outdoor gallery, was able to keep commissioning artists during 2020.

Since its inception, the program has commissioned new artworks from over 100 artists and displayed more than 5 kilomet


The objectives of the Metro Tunnel Creative Program respond to Creative Strategy developed by the client.
The program’s objectives are to:
• keep the city vibrant and moving
• think laterally about space and place
• remain quintessentially ‘Melbourne’ in our approach
• stay true to local character
• keep Melbourne liveable.

These objectives are measured using a customised evaluation toolkit designed by international public space experts, Gehl. Through documentation, collection of data and thorough surveying, the creative program measures its success against its objectives, as well as monitors public sentiment towards the public art and activations it delivers. These insights help shape the program to ensure it remains effective in its role of mitigating construction disruption.


The Metro Tunnel Creative Program puts stakeholder and community engagement first to ensure a human-centred design approach to its temporary public realm activation.

Two successful examples of this are the Parkville Storytelling Project and the ‘Thank You’ photo essay. These projects were the results of intense consultation with the organisations impacted by the construction of the new Parkville Station. The resulting artworks and online stories were high quality illustrative storytelling pieces of the people and achievements of the area.

During Covid in 2020, the Creative Program also moved quickly to establish an ‘Artist Pool’ – calling for all Victoria’s creative practitioners to register in order to be able to apply for a large number of new commissions.

From this, seven musicians were invited to submit works for Melbourne Music Week through the ‘Home Made Sound’ project. Thirty one creatives submitted visual depictions of them in their home studios for ‘Home / Work’. Four artists were invited to submit paid concepts for artwork to adorn the projects City Square acoustic shed and recently eleven writers have been invited to write stories, essays, or poems about Melbourne for the Melbourne Writer’s Festival.

Additional Information

The program has been received with resounding positivity from the community, client, and stakeholders alike. In the words of our stakeholders: "It brings heart back to the city, reinstates what community means and why and how we love cities - that even though there is the necessity of infrastructure projects, there is something to celebrate and enjoy and experience." "It is a huge support to the arts community. It takes space that could be left blank or sold for advertising revenue and instead supports and showcases artists, promotes the arts in Melbourne and uses the walls to tell local stories." “This is a vital way to bring art to people who may not experience otherwise. It's also a fantastic way to brighten up the city and create diversions from construction sites.” “This project has greatly benefited our artists not just by raising their profile and promoting their work but the association with a large infrastructure project that is moving Melbourne forward and future planning for the city, is a great fit with the arts.” Watch the video about the program here: