Planning and designing night-time economies for night shift workers in Australian Cities
We need to talk about the night. If cities are now recognised as engines of an increasingly ‘24/7’ economy, little attention is paid to what happens in urban centres at night and even less so to those workers who keep cities functioning after-hours and support a $133bn Australian night-time economy (NTE). The Night Shift project delivers this needed step to night-time thinking in urban planning, design and policy, with a bespoke eye on those who produce, rather than consume the NTE. The Night Shift projected is hosted by the Melbourne Centre for Cities at the University of Melbourne. It has been funded by the Australian Research Council and will be delivered between 2022 and 2025.
The project engages with night work as it takes place in Australian cities. It aims to experiment with transferrable action-oriented, design-inspired and policy-ready methodologies to investigate conditions, contributions, voices and spaces that characterise night-time work in Australia, and learn from international peers as we speak to raise the profile and breath of attention to the NTE.
Bridging the Humanities and Social Sciences via Built Environment methods, the project collaborates explicitly with local governments in the delivery of its studies. It does so by also convening, in four Australian capitals (Canberra, Melbourne, Adelaide and Sydney) industry experts and academics to build research and policy capacity for 'night literacy'.
Key program activities
Night Shift involves a variety of academic outputs and engagements, not just in Australia but in collaboration with major centres of excellence for night time research overseas. Night Shift will seek to explicitly experiment with visual, audio and design methods beyond traditional outputs, with an explicit aim to foster greater night literacy not just for academics but amongst policymakers and key urban governance stakeholders.
The project's case study cities are Melbourne, Adelaide, Canberra and Sydney.
The Night Shift project engages Masters of Urban Planning students in the Studio N subject, learning about night work in Australian cities. More information about Studio N is avaliable here.
If cities are increasingly recognised as engines of an ‘24/7’ economy, little attention is paid to what happens in urban centres at night and even less so to those workers who keep cities functioning after-hours and support a $133bn Australian night-time economy. The Night Shift project aims to deliver this shift to night-time thinking in urban planning, design and policy. Working directly with local councils and industry experts and bridging humanities and social sciences across arts and the built environments, it will engage with night shifts and night-time economies in Australian cities, investigating conditions, contributions, voices and spaces that characterise night- time work.
Night Shift experiments with transferrable action-oriented, design-inspired and policy-ready methodologies and building capacity for ‘night literacy’ in cities and urban research. The project’s research program includes four Visiting Fellow positions for current ECR candidates, who will be based in Melbourne to work with the Night Shift team for 2-3 months. Visiting fellows will offer comparative, multidisciplinary perspectives to the Night Shift project by exploring intersections with their own research that can be directly or tangentially related to their current research. Visiting Fellows will experience first-hand how cities operate at night-time and how the experiences of night shift workers take place after dark.
What we are looking for?
Desired academic backgrounds include but are not limited to, urban studies, geography, policy, planning, labour economics or the design disciplines, including creative practices such as contemporary art, performance or music.
Applicants should have an interest and demonstrated experience in interrogating recent urban questions through either their research or creative practice and the willingness to work in a dynamic research group. Applicants should be internationally minded and curious about multiple perspectives informing cities at night as well as interested in pursuing creative approaches to thinking through the issues associated with night economies, workforces, or the design and occupation of spaces at night.
One ARUP-sponsored award will also support a candidate to also undertake a work experience with night-time design and planning experts at ARUP Melbourne to sharpen their industry engagement skills, whilst taking part in the overall Night shift program.
Successful applicants will be situated in the Melbourne Centre for Cities at the University of Melbourne and working across the University’s Faculty of Architecture, Building and Planning (ABP) and Faculty of Arts. Visiting Fellows will work closely with the Night Shift’s lead researchers, including the Centre Director Professor Michele Acuto (ABP) and Deputy Director Professor Alison Young (Arts). Visiting Fellows will have opportunities to engage and work with academic and professional networks, including Centre for Cities researchers and key industry and local government actors.
Further information about how to express your interest is avaliable here.
Lodge your Expression of Interest by emailing the documents below to email@example.com (subject "Night Shift Awards")
Acuto, M., Edwards, A., Bassett, S., Seijas, A. & Leon, L. (2023). Night Time Economy Commissions: a Review of International Case Studies. A Summary for Policymakers. Melbourne: Melbourne Centre for Cities, the University of Melbourne.
Acuto, M., Seijas, A., Edwards, A. & Bassett, S. (2023). Meeting afterhours: on the work that night commissions do. Urban Geography, online first (open access), pp.18-.
Media / News
A Committee of Experts to guide Melbourne's night - in BEAT 23 April 2021
Meet the Night Mayors - in Sundays with Lisa, ABC Radio 7 May 2023
Please reach out to any member of the project team if you'd like more information or would like to be involved in the research.