Transform your community at I R R E G U L A R

Transform your community at I R R E G U L A R
Jack Hayes

As Melbourne Design Week draws closer, so does I R R E G U L A R, a hyperlocal festival of ideas and actions with the chance to shape and change North and West Melbourne.

The event will be held over three days, from May 23 to 25, at the Cobblestone Pavilion in North Melbourne’s Meat Market.

The concept of I R R E G U L A R was born from North Melbourne local Dylan O’Donnell, who drew inspiration from the influential work of Ruth and Maurie Crow, two local urban activists from the 1970s.

The idea gained traction with the assistance and funding of the North and West Melbourne Precinct Association (NWMPA), which dedicated its hard-working team to helping bring the festival to fruition.

I R R E G U L A R will celebrate the wealth of talent and diverse viewpoints in our local community,” NWMPA president, Sylvia Hungria told North West City News. “Our goal is to foster connections and partnerships that might not otherwise occur while offering inclusive and engaging platforms for all business community members to engage.” 

“The NWMPA believes that change for a particular place can emerge quickly if it is a collective vision. Therefore, enabling a platform for showcasing ideas is paramount to us.”  

Along with the NWMPA, the festival received funding from the ScanlonFoundation and Our Community House, sponsorship from Lucas Mills Real

Estate and structural exhibition design by Dr John Doyle and a team of architecture students from RMIT.This helped realise over 35 ideas from passionate locals who submitted detailed, articulate, and considered entries to reimagine their neighbourhood.

I R R E G U L A R has always been about tapping into the expertise and creativity we knew was in our community,” Mr O’Donnell said.

“The best part of this process has been unearthing the people and skills in North and West Melbourne. Whether they were showcasing their work globally, nationally, or locally, it has been amazing to find these residents. That has played out exactly as we had hoped.”


We are really happy with the range of experts, perspectives and ages of those participating. I think it is a really good reflection of North and West Melbourne.


Opening night – May 23

Opening night of the I R R E G U L A R program, beginning at 6pm on May 23, will see a smoke ceremony, Welcome To Country and didgeridoo performance, words from Blue Lake author David Sornig; a discussion on the enduring legacy of Ruth and Maurie Crow from Rob Adams and Jane Homewood in conversation with Andy Fergus, and a panel talk facilitated by The Age’s Jane Rocca with Courtney Holm, David Sequeria and professor Melanie Davern.


A render of the exhibition design and layout at the Meat Market in North Melbourne.


Exhibition program – May 24 to 25

Over two days, May 24 and 25, I R R E G U L A R will then exhibit the ideas of the local community and feature Desired Lines led by Laura Martires; Design Your Own Arden … in Minecraft from the creator of Mini-Melbourne in Minecraft, Stephen Elford; presentations and workshops for entrants to make a case for their idea to be implemented, or participate in a workshop; and a presentation from Elio Sarpi, curator of Houses of North and West Melbourne.

“There are a lot of ideas that have had a tremendous amount of thought behind them and in the last weeks before the event,” Mr O’Donnell said. “We will be helping submissions source supporting documents and imagery to visualise their ideas.”

One of those ideas comes from Dr Emma Lynas, a local resident and lecturer at RMIT’s School of Fashion and Textiles.

Along with three academics, she is part of a collaborative research group called Textiles for The Care Economy, which has imagined a ‘Sensory Salon,’ which provides a comfortable retail experience for occupational therapists (OTs) and their clients.

“The sensory salon is a blue sky idea - where clients can come with their OTs and try on a range of clothes; we would liaise with a charity service to work specifically with second-hand clothes, There would be an alteration service on site,” Dr Lynas said.

“This [I R R E G U L A R]is a really unique model where everyone is invited, and it’s not overly dictated by academics or research. It enables everyone to have their ideas shared, and I think that’s amazing.”

“I want to commend the I R R E G U L A R team for providing the structure and resourcing. For me, it’s very rare for a project to be this well resourced. We come with the idea and the rest is handled by the festival team.”

Tickets for the opening night of I R R E G U L A R are $10 for general admission and $5 for concession card holders and include a free festival tote bag. 

The event is presented as part of Melbourne Design Week. Use of the Meat Market is thanks to the City of Melbourne’s Community use of town halls scheme. •

The Bridal Lament opens at Arts House

The Bridal Lament opens at Arts House

May 15th, 2024 - Georgie Atkins
Like us on Facebook