Footscray University Town (FUT) is founded on 6 key strengths with associated projects that will strive to deliver benefits for University staff and students, and for the communities of Footscray and Melbourne's west.

They are:

  • Smart Footscray

  • Creative Footscray

  • Healthy and Active Footscray

  • Sustainable Footscray

  • Great Places & Connections

  • Collaborative & Engaged.

We have already started on many of the projects, which are outlined below.

Refer to the  Footscray University Town Business Framework and Forward Program for more detailed information.

Footscray Art Prize

The Footscray Art Prize is a biennial non-acquisitive visual art prize for contemporary artworks across multiple platforms and disciplines, open to local and national artists. 

It was established in 2016 to coincide with the University's Centenary celebrations, in collaboration with:

The Art Prize has a $10,000 major prize, with special categories for street art, tertiary students and school children. Shortlisted artworked are display in exhibitions at Footscray Community Arts Centre and VU at MetroWest.  

The development of the Prize highlights a unique community collaboration that demonstrates and celebrates creative arts in Footscray. Local businesses can participate through sponsorship of prizes and exhibitions.

Entries for the 2019 Prize open in November 2018. 

For more information, visit the Footscray Art Prize webpage.

Footscray Art Prize 2019 logo

One Night in Footscray

One Night in Footscray highlights the work of local artists, makers, emerging practitioners and students. The annual event creates new opportunities to encounter art in public spaces and the ways in which people experience and interpret Footscray, its people and places.

An estimated 5,000 people attended the inaugural event in 2017, which had galleries and studios open until late, shopfronts activated with performances and bars transformed by art installations. More than 30 artists were involved across 17 locations, commissioned through an expression-of-interest process which contributed to an incredibly diverse program of events.

One Night in Footscray will next take place on Friday 23 November 2018. 

For more information, visit the One Night in Footscray website.

One Night in Footscray

Little Saigon precinct upgrade

Little Saigon, the name given to the area bound by Hopkins, Moore and Donald Streets in central Footscray, has undergone revitalisation through the Little Saigon Precinct Activation Plan. Improvements have included:

  • a new plaza/small park on the corner of Leeds and Byron Street
  • a new building with ground floor shops and four levels of car parking above
  • streetscape upgrades making the streets more pedestrian-friendly
  • 100 new on-road car spaces
  • new street trees.

A key element of the Little Saigon revitalisation is a Welcome Arch at the entrance of the precinct near the corner of Leeds and Hopkins Streets, which was completed in September 2016. The arch was funded by State Government, Council and community sources. The Welcome Arch was prepared with input from key community stakeholders and public consultation. 

In December 2016 Maribyrnong City Council and Victoria University was saddened to hear that the Little Saigon market was destroyed by a fire. We will continue to work with the local community and traders to ensure that the redevelopment of Little Saigon and the market has a positive outcome for everyone involved.

Picturing Footscray Photography Prize

Picturing Footscray was first established in 2016 as part of the BluScray project. It was so popular that we brought it back as an annual, open-entry photography prize that focuses on Footscray as the subject.

All entrants are exhibited in a major exhibition held at VU at MetroWest, providing an opportunity to have work displayed in a professional context. An experienced photographer selects a first, second and third prize winner and a People’s Choice award is presented at the end of the exhibition.

2018 winners

  • First prize: Footscray Embrace by Nathan Stolz
  • Second prize: Advance by Pier Carthew
  • Third prize: Caleb by the Bunbury Street Bridge by Shannon McDonald
  • People's choice: Giraffes on the Serengetti aka Sunset over the Dock by Elwyn Davies

2017 winners

  • First prize: Untitled by Christian Lukasik
  • Second prize: Roaming, Confident and Tall as the Sun by John Umina
  • Third prize: You are My Sunshine by Julia Wong
  • People's choice: Holiday in the West by Mikaela Foster

2016 winners

  • First prize: Local Footscray Music Icon by Wirut Khemnak
  • Second prize: Bunbury Blueprint by Rosie Howell
  • Third prize: The Heavenly Queen by Jaye Heraud
  • People's choice: Maribyrnong Reflections by Claudia Gonzalez Diaz

West Projections Festival

Victoria University proudly partners with Wynter Projects to co-produce West Projections Festival, with the support of Maribyrnong City Council.

The annual after-dark festival sees the entire suburb of Fooscray bathed in light as more than 20 unique spaces play host to specially commissioned projection and performance works. A series of guided walks is also included in the Festival, where the audience has the opportunity to hear directly from the artists.

For more information, visit the West Projections website.

Free public wi-fi in central Footscray

Access to free Wifi is now available throughout key areas in Footscray’s city centre, further developing its attractiveness as a place to work, study and visit.

Funded by Maribyrnong City Council as part of FUT, the project was launched on Tuesday 12 July 2016, making free WiFi available along Nicholson Street, including the mall, between Hopkins and Irving Streets.

Victoria University students and staff can now connect to free WiFi as they travel between Footscray’s campuses – Footscray NicholsonVU at MetroWest and Footscray Park – providing easy access to information online.  The service is also available to local community, business customers and visitors to the area.

BluScray

Victoria University (VU) and blue have gone together for a long time. Blue is central to VU’s identity – both now and for our predecessors – and symbolises hope, aspiration and the future. BluScray celebrated this connection and Footscray’s thriving creative industries during VU’s Centenary year in 2016. Through blue-themed community events, lighting installations and public artwork, BluScray transformed central Footscray. 

BluScray was presented by Victoria University's Footscray University Town initiative in collaboration with:

Find out more about the projects and events that formed BluScray:

Renowned textile artist, Jessie Deane, led a number of community crafters to create a needlepoint artwork reflecting the blue threads that weave through the diverse landscapes of Footscray. The completed work was displayed at VU at MetroWest in December 2016, and at Highpoint Shopping Centre in January 2017 as a legacy of Victoria University’s Centenary celebration.

Life-size images of people squeezed into boxes were pasted onto blue facades throughout Footscray for Corps in Situ in Footscray, an Australian premiere paste-up project by French artist Aline Brugel. Over two months, this immersive experience took the passer-by on a unique journey of the streets and people of Footscray.

A series of video projections and sound pieces, presented by West Projections in collaboration with Victoria University and key partners. States of Blue illuminated over 20 unique sites in August and September 2016, including creative spaces, VU campuses, businesses and public places, each showing specially commissioned artwork.

An open-entry photography competition based on the theme ‘blue in Footscray’ where all of the entries were showcased in an exhibition at VU at MetroWest in July 2016.

Attracting over 300 entries, Picturing BluScray was a major success. As a result, Picturing Footscray was established as a separate project that celebrates Footscray through a salon-style photography competition and exhibition each year.

Community-based installations, resident and business engagements, and commissioned artwork transformed everyday objects such as shopfronts, fences, trees and windows, taking on shades of blue. A key focus was street lighting along the Nicholson Street spine between VU’s two Footscray campuses. This included the project 'Eclectic Blu', where five electrical boxes owned by Jemena were painted by renowned street artist Cezary Stulgis with a blue theme. The electrical boxes had previously been graffiti attractors.

Messages and stories of learning in Footscray were collected by local community artist Debbie Harman and inscribed onto the insides of 100 blue ceramic cups. The cups were placed throughout Footscray during BluScray events, waiting to be found and taken home.

Thanks to the following organisations for supporting the BluScray program:

Maribyrnong Boulevard & Mills Close staircase

Maribyrnong City Council is working on a number of major upgrades within Footscray Park to improve connections with the Maribyrnong River, Victoria University (Footscray Park Campus) and Ballarat Road.

A new staircase has been installed at Mills Close, improving access and providing a direct connection from Ballarat Road to the Maribyrnong River for community members, VU staff and students. The staircase includes balustrades, lighting and artwork referencing Footscray Park's history.

Along the river, Maribyrnong Boulevard has been upgraded to provide increased car parking and grassed areas, and improved shared pathways. A new playground is being designed for Footscray Park.

Staircase from Mills Close to Maribyrnong River, at the side of Footscray Park Campus.

Graduate to Employment Strategy

VU is synonymous with applied learning – in its history and current blend of TAFE and higher education courses. This strategy provides an opportunity to strengthen 'real world' learning outcomes through collaboration with industry, the community sector and FUT partners that create pathways for students to employment.

This strategy has already involved the recruitment of FUT Student Ambassadors - current and past VU students who are employed on a casual basis to assist with events. Maribyrnong City Council and other community organisations actively take on VU student interns, often leading to ongoing employment.

We will continue to initiate partnerships and develop opportunities for VU students, contributing skills and knowledge towards Footscray’s thriving workforce.

Student accommodation

A 500-bed student accommodation complex, UniLodge @ VU, opened in Tiernan Street Footscray in 2016 as part of the FUT initiative.

The new accommodation is across the road from VU's Footscray Park Campus and a short walk to Footscray Nicholson Campus, public transport and Footscray's shopping precinct. It features an onsite café, communal areas and expansive views of Melbourne.

One of the common areas at UniLodge.