In architectural competitions for public buildings, a shortlist of unsuccessful schemes is often made public, either ahead of a final decision or following its announcement. Highlighting the competition’s value as a public good in itself, the publication of competing visions for cultural futures is designed to guide critical discussion, as well as advocating for the profession as a collegial set of publicly-minded experts. International design competitions for Federation Square and Flinders Street Station, and the more recent competition for Shepparton Art Museum, have stimulated a great deal of new thinking on how design can foster the contemporary cultural practices that shape our lives.

In October 2016, three philanthropic trusts invited new thinking on “championing investment and return in arts and culture.” The Myer Foundation, the Tim Fairfax Family Foundation and the Keir Foundation called for an “expert, independent voice… which has the necessary resources and public authority to advance a coherent, comprehensive policy position from which we might build better political and institutional settings and allied public commentary.” Together, they offered $1.65 million over three years for the formation of such an entity, which they called “A new approach”.

The final outcome is a shift on what was originally proposed, with the trusts reframing their approach in response to learnings from the process itself. So what kinds of potential entities submitted a proposal, and what were some of these new approaches?

>> Read on in the Daily Review


IMAGE: Blue skies in Melbourne as seen through the opening atop Studio Mumbai’s 2016 MPavilion by Bijoy Jain. Photo by Esther Anatolitis.