23 May 2018

Below is a summary of the information in this document. To read the full document, open the PDF file. If you require an accessible version of this document, please request one via our contact us form.

To see this strategy in action, visit the Art of Metro Tunnel and the Metro Tunnel Creative Program.

Executive summary

Melbourne is a creative city with a rich culture of arts and design. The Metro Tunnel Project is an opportunity to celebrate and build on Melbourne’s creative culture – not only connecting people and places, but connecting with stories, ideas and experiences that reflect our past and engage with our future.

The Metro Tunnel Creative Strategy (Creative Strategy) will guide the delivery of creative interventions undertaken as part of the Metro Tunnel Project. The Creative Strategy has 6 key objectives:

  • Dynamic sites of creativity
  • Manage construction impacts
  • Line-wide identity
  • Welcoming and people focused places
  • Creative opportunities and engagement
  • Showcase Melbourne.

Operating across time and spatial scales – the Creative Strategy addresses construction phase, legacy, precincts-pecific and line-wide interventions.

Rail Projects Victoria (RPV) has worked with state and local government stakeholders to develop this strategy. The Creative Strategy acknowledges the role of the Metro Tunnel Project in contributing to Melbourne’s creative culture and ensuring the project delivers a positive civic legacy.


The Metro Tunnel Creative Strategy builds on research conducted by Professor David Cross, Dr Fiona Lee and Dr Cameron Bishop of Deakin University, and Clare Doherty of Situations. The strategy has been produced in consultation with Creative Victoria, Office of the Victorian Government Architect, City of Melbourne, City of Port Phillip and City of Stonnington.


Rail Projects Victoria (RPV) is committed to leaving a positive civic legacy for Victoria. This Creative Strategy seeks to:

  • Provide cultural and creative considerations to inform contractors delivering design and construction activities associated with the Metro Tunnel Project
  • Outline RPV’s expectations for integration of creative practice into the planning and delivery of the Metro Tunnel Project
  • Provide the curatorial framework to assist contractors and delivery partners in the preparation of strategies and management plans, and to ensure consistency across the whole creative program
  • Ensure that the design and delivery of both temporary and permanent interventions are of a quality consistent with Melbourne’s high standards for its built environment.

The Metro Tunnel Project will enrich urban amenity, and contribute to the culture of creativity and design excellence that is a hallmark of Melbourne. The construction phase will be a period of significant disruption for the city.

As such, this Creative Strategy addresses the temporary works undertaken as part of the project’s construction process as well as legacy outcomes.


The vision for the Creative Strategy is: A legacy of high quality experiences and places that put people first – contributing to Melbourne’s current and future liveability, international standing and reputation for creative excellence.

Creative approach

People will experience the Metro Tunnel Project in a variety of ways – some commuters will use the new underground stations on a daily basis, while visitors to the city may have only brief interactions.

This strategy emphasises the need for a two-tiered curatorial approach, which reflects and celebrates both the line-wide identity of Melbourne’s Metro Tunnel and the specific local identities of places it interacts with.

The line-wide identity supports good wayfinding and a sense of journey through a shared design and creative language. Each precinct offers the opportunity to tell individual stories of place and respond to local conditions.

Curational rationale

  • Prioritise people’s experience of journey in creative or artistic responses
  • Craft a coherent and integrated line-wide identity which communicates the cultural character of Melbourne and connects its individual precincts and communities
  • Support conceptual collaboration between artists and designers
  • Build and promote the profile of the Metro Tunnel Project as a showcase for integrated creative practices and place making through examining notions of identity in local, city-wide and network-wide contexts
  • Create a line-wide cultural space that shapes and informs the experience of passage, journey, and movement through the city
  • Commission physical and transient artworks and experiences, which reference themes of commuting, underground rail networks and the mass transit of travellers through public spaces.
  • Respond creatively to the cultural and built identity of each precinct through partnerships with local arts and community groups to develop place making, arts and cultural programming, and other community driven initiatives.
  • Reflect and meaningfully engage with diverse cultures and heritage – those of Aboriginal Australians, and subsequent waves of migration
  • Work with artists representative of Melbourne’s diversity – including artists of different cultures, genders, abilities, as well as both emerging and established creatives
  • Support works that are open and accessible, encouraging meaningful engagement across diverse audiences
  • Draw upon a diversity of arts practitioners working across a wide range of disciplines and media.


Creative Program

These principles apply to both construction phase and legacy creative interventions.

  • Inspire a positive experience of journey
  • An international benchmark of integrating creativity and transport infrastructure
  • Community and cultural programming of urban spaces
  • Celebrate the creative activity of our city
  • Provide opportunities to engage with world class arts and culture
  • Support and promote Melbourne’s reputation as a vibrant and creative city
  • Contribute to positive civic identity.

Construction phase interventions

Temporary interventions will occur during the construction phase of the Metro Tunnel Project. These interventions should be underpinned by the following principles:

  • Manage construction impacts – protecting what makes Melbourne great
  • Maintain the city’s activity and vibrancy – supporting Melbourne’s businesses and residents
  • Provide opportunities for local creative practitioners, artists and communities during the construction phase as we strive to minimise disruption from construction of the Metro Tunnel
  • Imagine the city as a laboratory – trialling new ideas and engaging with the project as it develops.

Legacy works

Legacy creative works will be embedded in the built environment of new stations and precincts. These works should be underpinned by the following principles:

  • Balance the cultural character of Melbourne with the distinct identities of each place
  • Celebrate new infrastructure and spaces that contribute to the civic fabric
  • Contribute to Melbourne’s reputation for arts and design excellence
  • Help orientate travellers as they navigate the transportation system.