IRREGULAR: a chance to shape North and West Melbourne

IRREGULAR: a chance to shape North and West Melbourne
Jack Hayes

Have you ever reimagined parts of your neighbourhood? How you’d like it to be used or how it connects members of the community?

Have you ever had an idea, big or small, you felt could transform your community, but had no way of bringing it to fruition? Well, now you can.

Designed to canvas the ideas of people who live, work, and play in North and West Melbourne, IRREGULAR, a new festival that’s part of 2024 Melbourne Design Week, is a hyperlocal event that encourages local to reimagine their community.

Presented by the North and West Melbourne Precinct Association (NWMPA), IRREGULAR will be held at Cobblestone Pavilion, North Melbourne Meat Market from Thursday, May 23 to Saturday, May 25.

It will exhibit the best ideas from the community in a variety of visual formats, with keynote speakers and presentations, panel discussions and workshops.



IRREGULAR is the brainchild of North Melbourne local, and NWMPA committee member, Dylan O’Donnell, who drew inspiration from the work of two prominent local urban activists, Ruth and Maurie Crow.

“The original concept came about from speaking with people in the community, whether that be people I’ve known for a long time, or only met recently … it just began with conversations around different ideas for North and West Melbourne and the built environment,” he said.


IRREGULAR takes its name from an influential newsletter that was started more than 50 years ago by two local urban activists, Ruth and Maurie Crow.


“They developed the Citizen Action Plan for North and West Melbourne which recommended strategies for the City of Melbourne to adopt. It is seen to have an influential role as to how Melbourne is today. It focused on the arts, sport, and culture as a lifeblood to draw people into the city, making the CBD a more attractive place to live.”

Mr O’Donnell said while there was an enormous breadth of talent and knowledge within North and West Melbourne, made up of architects, designers, health care experts and academics, their expertise was often channelled on a national or global scale.

IRREGULAR is designed to harness that talent and turn the lens inward, on our direct environment, the streets, services, and places that we interact with every day.

“One of the guiding principles of this festival is a placemaking philosophy of what makes a great place or precinct is not being about the physical end product, it’s about the community involvement in getting it done,” he said.

“It isn’t so much about the ideas that get presented, it’s about how they engage with that idea, get involved with the ones they want to see come to fruition, connect with new people or getting businesses to collaborate which they wouldn’t have otherwise.”

Mr O’Donnell and the NWMPA have recently secured the Scanlon Foundation, a philanthropic organisation focusing on enhancing, supporting, and measuring Australia’s social cohesion, as an event partner, along with additional support from Our Community House.

Submissions for the festival are now open. They can be sent to [email protected]. •

John Buncle

John Buncle

February 14th, 2024 - Felicity Jack
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