Exploring Coburg. Image by Atalanti Dionysus

Disruptive Ideas for Revitalising Coburg | Part of The Coburg Conversation Past Event


Booked out
Tue 28 May 5:30pm - 7:30pm


Schoolhouse Studios
28 Victoria Street, Coburg VIC 3058, Australia


Accessible bathroom, All gender bathroom, Seating available, Wheelchair accessible

What is possible for Coburg if we look at its future from radically different angles?

Merri-bek City Council and RMIT PlaceLab present Disruptive Ideas for Revitalising Coburg, a discussion designed to provoke new thinking and hear new perspectives, as Council plans to transform some of the under-used spaces it owns in the heart of Coburg.

Join us at Schoolhouse Studios, alongside a panel of ‘urban provocateurs’ to think about public space and urban design from new and often hyper-local angles. The discussion will be hosted by Mayor of Merri-bek City Council Councillor Adam Pulford.

This event will mark the start of a participatory design project where we will interrogate the way we understand place and design through a collaboration between RMIT academics and Master of Architecture students, and community members; building an understanding of how a revitalised Coburg can better support and enhance diverse public life – today and into the future.

Lauren Garner and Jan van Schaik compose the RMIT team leading the research arm of this project.

Light refreshments provided, drinks available for purchase from the Schoolhouse Studios bar.


Mayor of Merri-bek City Council Councillor Adam Pulford

Adam Pulford (he/him), 34, is the Mayor of Merri-bek City Council. Adam rents in Brunswick East with his husband Niccolò. Adam is an experienced campaigner for social, economic and environmental justice. Previously Adam has worked for First Nations, human rights and climate non-profits. Adam loves our progressive, creative and diverse community, and is proud to have represented our community on Council since 2020.  He is committed to supporting more affordable housing so more people can call our community home, making our streets safer and greener for everybody, and wants Council to be part of a Treaty with local Traditional Owners.

Esther Anatolitis, Editor, Meanjin; Hon A/Prof, RMIT School of Art; Principal, Test Pattern

Writer and commentator Esther Anatolitis (she/her) is Editor of Meanjin and one of Australia’s leading advocates for arts and culture. Her strategic consultancy Test Pattern works with arts and government bodies on cultural policy, creative space and precinct frameworks, and advocacy consortia. With a background in media, arts and architecture, across two decades Esther has led creative organisations across all artforms, and is a member of the National Gallery of Australia Governing Council. 

Dr Simona Castricum, Architecture worker, musician, broadcaster

Simona (she/her) is a spatial designer through her practice D4TGD—Design for Trans and Gender Diverse, developing research-led design justice methodologies in gendered space. Simona’s PhD: ‘What if Safety Becomes Permanent? Architecture & Music as a Site of Transing’ received the University of Melbourne’s Chancellor’s Prize, and the Melbourne School of Design John Grice Award in 2023, as well as a two-time longist nominee for the Australian Music Prize in 2020 and 2023. Simona is a broadcaster on Melbourne community radio 3RRR FM.

Celeste Morgan, Australasia Integrated Water Management Lead, Arup

Celeste (she/her) is an explorer of the relationship between water and urban form. She has worked globally to reimagine cityscapes to harness and celebrate water, reframing what has historically been hidden, to instead be a shaper of place, building resilience, supporting greening and revitalising waterways. Celeste brings together a unique blend of skills and experience in environmental engineering, urban design and planning that gives her a unique appreciation of how water can shape livability. Celeste recently led the collaborative development of integrated water management plans for each of the five major catchments in the Melbourne Region. Celeste lives locally on the Coburg-Brunswick border.

Jan van Schaik

Jan is an artist and architect based in Melbourne. He is the director of MvS Architects, a creative-practice researcher and Senior Lecturer at RMIT Architecture & Urban Design, the founder of +Concepts, designer of Lost Tablets, and a creative sector activist at Future Tense.

Lauren Garner

Lauren is an architect and Associate Lecturer at RMIT Architecture & Urban Design. She brings design expertise from large-scale civic projects, most recently in urban renewal sites like Fisherman’s Bend. She is the cofounder of ExtraContextual, a design practice that explores design beyond physical boundaries, emphasizing lesser-known narratives of place.