Inspiring a culture of creativity

Greater Bendigo embraces the cultural and creative industries as fundamental to our City’s liveability, and to our future. We are a community that inspires a culture of creativity, activates our spaces, nurtures and supports talent, champions inclusiveness and showcases our stories to the world.

Our cultural and creative sector forms a significant part of our economy, supporting and generating jobs, investment and tourism. We acknowledge that creativity, artistic practice and our cultural heritage are also integral to the health and wellbeing of our community.

In July 2019 the City launched Greater CREATIVE Bendigo, a plan to better understand and celebrate the creativity and living culture of our Traditional Owners and First Nations communities, to recognise the unique role this culture plays in shaping Greater Bendigo today.

Our vibrant creative ecosystem

Greater Bendigo has a rich creative and cultural sector with the city supporting the Bendigo Art Gallery, Bendigo Venue & Events (which includes Creative Communities, The Capital, Ulumbarra Theatre and Major Events), TourismEconomic Development and the UNESCO Creative City of Gastronomy teams under the Strategy and Growth directorate.

$111.7 billion

is generated by the cultural and creative industries contributing 6.4%  of Australia’s GDP.


of Victorian GDP is from Creative Industries


employed in Creative Industries in Greater Bendigo

The term ‘cultural and creative industries’ encompasses traditional arts, cultural activities and heritage, innovative technologies, design, and the digital age. All these activities and industries are multifaceted and have social, environmental and economic aspects and impacts.

Using the terms ‘cultural and creative industries’ and ‘creativity’ reflects the expansive and shifting nature of creative activity in our city and the wider region, a broad approach which reflects what is happening around the world.

Our Creative Stories

Pest Control on a Plate
Pest Control on a Plate
Authors: Will Tait and Jodi Newcombe In early 2021 we gathered to begin developing what would become Djakitj Larr – the afternoon of storytelling and creative conversation that gathered stakeholders of the City of Bendigo’s UN Creative City of Gastronomy designation. Dja Dja Wurrung woman Bec Phillips had just joined the team, and one of […]
Pasture Cropping Field Day in Huntly
On Wednesday, July 13th, 2022, 42 landholders came together in Huntly Memorial Hall to hear from the venerated farming expert, Colin Seis, at the Managing Pastures: Multi – Species Cropping Field Day. Some of the key messages in the discussion were about improving soil health using grazing animals, utilising multiple plants in a pasture and […]
Breaking Bread
Breaking Bread
Authors: Will Tait and Jodi Newcombe There’s an area of grassland on Parkside Run Farm that’s never been treated with chemicals. Carly Noble cuts and bales what grows there, and feeds it to her animals. She notices that they don’t sniff at it suspiciously like they do with a bale that’s been grown in soil […]
Lifting Spirits Through Creativity
Lifting Spirits Through Creativity
Susie Marcroft is an inspiring artist who works across installation and ceramics. Her artworks explore the abstract notions of consciousness and empathy that reject reductionist paradigms. Through her work Susie shows us an alternative ethics, one that preferences our focus on care (tending to each other and holding space) rather than economics. Having moved back […]
What’s on the menu in 2072?
What’s on the menu in 2072?
Authors: Will Tait and Jodi Newcombe On 24th May 2021, the 100 attendees of Djakitj Larr were invited to place a stone in their hand, representing Djaara Country, and make a personal commitment to do something of benefit to the living land that sustains us all. Our collective – the Carbon Arts team in collaboration […]
Symposium of Gastronomy Day 4, The Future of Regenerative Food, the Importance of Food Relief & learning all Things Olive Oil.
Symposium of Gastronomy Day 4, The Future of Regenerative Food, the Importance of Food Relief & learning all Things Olive Oil.
Some might think that four days of gastronomy related learnings, paired with eating and drinking is excessive, to them I say not true. Four days seemed like just enough. Our morning took place at The Old Church on the Hill a beautiful old property that supports more than 30 local communities. The Hazara community from […]
Symposium of Gastronomy – Day 3, Annie Smithers, First Nations Agriculture and all the Cheese
Symposium of Gastronomy – Day 3, Annie Smithers, First Nations Agriculture and all the Cheese
Annie Smithers eased us into day three with visions of her farm Babbington Park on a cold crispy autumn morning “It’s hard to drag me out of the garden and into the kitchen on days like that”.  Annie reflected on her experience growing food on her small acreage in Lyonville. She discussed what it was […]
24th Symposium of Gastronomy
24th Symposium of Gastronomy
For many, the concept of gastronomy is a new one. The Oxford Dictionary defines gastronomy as ‘The practice or art of choosing, cooking, and eating good food’. For one cohort of Australians, this term has been in their vernacular for more than 20 years. In recognition of Bendigo’s UNESCO City of Gastronomy designation, the 24th […]
Foraging for Fresh in Strathfieldsaye
Foraging for Fresh in Strathfieldsaye
I sat down with Tim and Naomi, the owners of Forage, and immediately their passion for taking home grown food, from the paddock to the consumers plate shines through. I asked them why the name Forage? It turns out that the decision of how to name the business was a simple one. After both coming […]

Creating more activated spaces

Over 100 artists were supported to create new activations for the City over the pandemic period. The Creative Recovery Activation Fund with over $40,000 supported 14 creative projects which were included in our Love Your Local – Creatives campaign. More info

The City of Greater Bendigo is dedicated to activating spaces to enrich the experience of visiting, living and working across our city. Our team have been engaging artists and creatives to develop temporary public art projects across the city. Some of the most recent include, Murals for Mary , Bendigo’s Pop-up Secret Garden in Pennyweight Lane Open Air Gallery and Djaara Lights, aiming to highlight Dja Dja Wurrung culture in the Bendigo region through combining the display of Djaara artwork and augmented reality experiences.

Greater Bendigo has a thriving Street Art culture with many incredible murals to discover along our laneways and streetscapes. There are self-guided and guided walks and tours to help you navigate the rich fabric of public art and street culture.

Nurturing and supporting our creative talent

Greater Bendigo recognises the value that a strong creative economy can bring in attracting investment, visitors and new residents. We provide a broad range of initiatives and programs to develop pathways for our creatives, supporting their practice and businesses to flourish.

There are a number of grant opportunities depending on your organisation and project focus. For organistions and projects that are community focused delivering positive outcomes for Bendigo’s residents please access our Community grant programs. There are a number of Artist Subsidy programs and resources for artists delivered by our Creative Communities team, while our economic development team manage an innovative Start-up Central Victoria initiative and Business grants. This also includes creative recovery projects designed specifically for cultural and creative practitioners and businesses  across 2020 and 2021. There is a vibrant Co-working community in Greater Bendigo for those looking to connect with other artists, creatives, entrepreneurs and start-ups.

Championing Access and Inclusion

The City of Greater Bendigo runs regular networking events to help connect creatives. There are also many community groups and creative organisations that are part of our vibrant ecosystem that can help artists and creatives connect.

We are developing a Directory of Arts and Creative practitioners and organisations to help our creative community find and collaborate with each other.

Our Creative Communities newsletter is a great way to find out opportunities and events in the region that help creatives learn and build skills, meet up and develop their careers, businesses and practices.  Subscribe to the fortnightly Arts e-bulletin, and join the Facebook community.

Wartaka Group is a community of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander artists who meet regularly to connect. Find out more about this group.

Showcase to the world

Greater Bendigo has exceptional creative and cultural products, talent, organisations and stories that we want to celebrate and share more broadly nationally and internationally. Many of our artists and creatives are showcased across Australia and around the globe.

In October 2019, Bendigo was designated a UNESCO Creative City of Gastronomy – the first in Australia.  Joining 246 other cities across the world, the designation recognises the creativity and uniqueness of our city and region, and our commitment to working with cities around the world for a sustainable future.

Piinpi: Contemporary Indigenous Fashion is the first major survey of contemporary Indigenous Australian fashion to be undertaken in this country, Piinpi sheds light on a growing industry which is blossoming and set to become Australia’s major fashion movement. The exhibition is set on a world tour and will feature as part of Paris Fashion Week until April 2022.

Image: Grace Lillian Lee, Body Armour – A Weave of Reflection Pink and Orange 2018. Photography by Wade Lewis. Image courtesy of the artist.