VU in the Community (VUiC) creates and enables opportunities for VU and its surrounding communities by building trusted partnerships with Local Government Areas (LGAs) and community organisations in Melbourne’s west. 

VU’s partnership with Maribyrnong City Council is the longest standing VU x LGA partnership, having been formed in 2013. Since this time the partnership has delivered significant outcomes for the university, the council, and the wider community. 



The partnership between VU and Maribyrnong City Council was established in 2013 through the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding. The aim was to revitalise Footscray as a hub of knowledge, learning, creativity and opportunity, with benefits for the whole community 

Just 5km from the CBD, Maribyrnong is one of the fastest-growing municipalities in Australia and a natural gateway to western Melbourne. Footscray is considered a priority business precinct for Melbourne, making it a focus of significant opportunity and investment.

Footscray has:  

  • two of VU’s campuses – Footscray Park & Footscray Nicholson 
  • one of the busiest railway stations outside Melbourne’s CBD 
  • an incredibly diverse population (over 150 different cultures are represented) 
  • a thriving arts and recreation scene. 

Since the inception of this partnership, Footscray has been the natural focus of VUiC’s efforts to connect VU to its local community. Through place-making, knowledge sharing, pathways and many other initiatives, VUiC has helped VU engage with and contribute to the vibrancy of Maribyrnong. 

Take a look at VUiC and Maribyrnong City Council's initiatives below.



Smart Cities

Maribyrnong City Council in partnership with Victoria University rolled out new smart technologies as part of the Footscray Smart City for Social Cohesion project throughout 2019 and 2020.  

Footscray has been placed in a league with other smart cities around the world thanks to a $400,000 Australian Government Smart Cities and Suburbs Program grant and boosted by funding from Council and VU. 

The project resulted in the installation of: 

  • air quality monitoring sensors 
  • energy efficient smart lighting 
  • expanded free public WiFi 
  • pedestrian, cyclist and vehicle counting technology 
  • interactive signage 
  • Footscray Park app 
  • integrated Smart City data platform developed by VU's College of Engineering and Science


Protecting Country Garden

As a part of VUiC’s continuing partnership with Footscray Learning Precinct (FLP), VU students will be a part of co-designing Caring for Country workshops and will help document the project.   

Working with the Wurundjeri Woi Wurrung Cultural Heritage Aboriginal Corporation and co-funded by VUiC, the project is currently seeking a name for the garden in language, and local elders will be joining the design process to share their knowledge and experience with the students.  

The garden will be built on Footscray High School’s Kinnear Campus and used as an educational space for students as well as a place of gathering and reflection by the community. It is hoped that the project will bring together students from across VU and FLP for more initiatives focussed on sharing and learning about local Aboriginal history, culture and language. 


A community garden at VU's Footscray Park campus.

Picturing Footscray Photography Prize

Picturing Footscray is a free open-entry photography prize that celebrates Melbourne's unique inner-west suburb of Footscray. It encourages photographers and photography enthusiasts to capture what is special and unique about the area, and the character and personality of its people.  

Picturing Footscray was established in 2016 as part of the BluScray centenary celebrations, marking 100 years of VU in Footscray. It was so popular it has become an annual prize and has visually documented a period of significant change in the area.  

"This is a great initiative to bring people to the suburb, stay and SEE the suburb and take photos. I commend VU for this."

“I had a blast shooting in Footscray, a beautiful way to get to know the neighbourhood.” 


Footscray Art Prize

The Footscray Art Prize is a biennial visual art prize for contemporary artworks across multiple platforms and disciplines. It is collaboratively delivered by Victoria University, Maribyrnong City Council, Footscray Community Arts, and the Rotary Club of Footscray, and is open to artists across the country. 

Established in 2016, it contributes to Footscray's reputation as a thriving cultural hub that supports and fosters the arts and provides an opportunity to celebrate this artistic vibrancy and creativity. 



Footscray Learning Precinct STEAM Mural 

Footscray Learning Precinct partners VU and Maribyrnong City Council joined with Footscray Primary School, Footscray City Primary School and Footscray High School to create a mural which took students on a design thinking journey.   

Students from the three schools attended a series of workshops with artists Chuck Mayfield, Julia Both and Heesco to learn about art practices. They also considered designs based around the themes of Science, Technology, Engineering, the Arts and Mathematics (STEAM) education and life-long learning.  

The mural was officially opened in mid-May 2021, attended by the students, artists, City of Maribyrnong Mayor Michael Clarke, Victoria University Vice-Chancellor Professor Adam Shoemaker, and local Member for Footscray Katie Hall.  

Called ‘Radiant Future’, the 40x10 metre mural features an astronaut in a colourfully decorated suit moving from the past into a bright future. The astronaut is led by Bunjil the eagle, as a welcome and optimistic symbol for our community moving forward. The prominent emblems embedded into the mural reflect the STEAM approach to learning and celebrate the local area. 

“It has been a privilege to work with professional artists and for the students to have the opportunity to engage in a learning experience that sees them leaving such an incredible legacy for the community in this beautiful and thought-provoking mural.”
– Footscray City Primary School principal, Jessie Hand

FOOTscray: Take a walk on the west side

Take a page out of the local's guide and explore Footscray on foot. You’ll find all you need when walking from Footscray train station to Victoria University’s Footscray Park Campus. 

Grab a coffee, pick up some lunch, do some op shopping, and shop for dinner. The options are endless. 



One Night in Footscray (ONIF) was delivered in partnership with Maribyrnong City Council and ran from 2017 to 2019. The event highlighted the work of local artists, makers, emerging practitioners and students, and was designed as a self-guided twilight journey, where visitors could view and engage in a variety of high-quality creative and artistic experiences, across different mediums and in unexpected locations – all on one night!. It created new and exciting opportunities to encounter art in public spaces, and ways for people to experience and interpret Footscray, its people and places. 

One Night in Footscray enabled VU students to gain invaluable experience and exposure, with each year’s event hosting the Graduate Exhibition for the Diploma of Visual Arts. By combining it with ONIF, the exhibition recorded the highest attendance and sales of works year after year.  VU Music students also had the opportunity to perform and be involved in sound production at ONIF through the VU Music Agency Stage, providing them with significant real-world experience.  

VUiC is incredibly proud of what was achieved through ONIF, however after COVID-19 restrictions and the wider impact of the pandemic delayed the event in 2020, the difficult decision was made to discontinue this collaborative initiative in 2021. 

Check out some of the highlights from ONIF 2019. 



VUiC proudly partnered with Wynter Projects to co-produce the West Projections Festival from 2016 to 2019, supported by Maribyrnong City Council. 

Supermarkets, abandoned shopfronts, bars, restaurants, laneways, VU campuses and train stations were some of the locations that were transformed by specially commissioned projections, sound installations, and performances. 

A public program of events was offered alongside a self-guided tour of the projection sites, which was tailored to families, local residents and visitors seeking out unique ways to discover Footscray and its surrounds. 

The West Projections Festival gave Melbourne's inner west its own little slice of ‘White Night’ and showcased Certificate IV in Screen and Media students’ work. 

West Projections guided walk, 2019 | Photographer: Shuttermain

The Game Changers Conversation Series presented pivotal concepts, personalities and moments in Australia’s evolving story for public discussion and debate. The free events regularly covered topics and ideas that shaped our world and looked at the people behind them. Running from 2015 to 2019, the series comprised monthly events jointly presented by Maribyrnong City Council and VU.  

A highlight in the annual program was a series of events with Footscray High School students, where they debated ABC TV personality Sami Shah. 

Sami Shah debating a student in 2018.


Enquiries about VUiC in Maribyrnong

For enquiries about VUiC in Maribyrnong please email [email protected].

Students/future students

If you are looking for information about studying at VU, visit the main contact us page.