Waverley Council announces new Thinker In Residence pilot program at the Boot Factory

2 August 2023

Waverley Council is inviting Expressions of Interest from academics, non-for-profit organisations and change agents to join our very first Thinker In Residence program at the restored Boot Factory, Bondi Junction.

The aim of the Thinker In Residence 12-month pilot program is to innovate, support and engage with the Waverley community in actively addressing priority environmental issues in the areas of sustainability, climate resilience and circular economy.

Waverley Council is transforming the former shoemaking factory at the rear of Norman Lee Place at 27-33 Spring Street into a community facility that will include an Innovation and Knowledge Hub where the Council can nurture ideas to further transform Waverley into a ‘smart city’ of the future.

In June, Council signed a contract with Schiavello Constructions (NSW) Pty Ltd to complete the remainder of works at the Boot Factory in preparation for a grand opening next year.

Mayor of Waverley, Paula Masselos, said the Thinker in Residence program will focus on developing new ideas and implementing approaches that improve sustainability and resilience across the Waverley community through innovation, research and engagement.

“Our new Thinker In Residence program is integral to positioning the Boot Factory as a centre for knowledge, arts, innovation, and excellence in Sydney where ideas can flourish and translate into practical actions,” Mayor Masselos said.

“It will help us deliver the goals outlined in Waverley’s 2022-2032 Environmental Action Plan and the Waverley Community Strategic Plan 2022-2032 which encourages innovation, resilience, sustainability, and partnerships to drive Council’s objectives and strategies.

“In 2019, Waverley Council was one of the first organisations in Australia to declare a target of net zero carbon emissions by 2030 for our organisation and a 2035 net zero target for our community, and we are committed to furthering this goal through this innovative Thinker program”

The Thinker In Residence will commence next year and has several objectives including:

1. Delivering a curated program of initiatives, that link subject matter experts with local

changemakers, to enable the exchange of knowledge, ideas, and creativity, and inspire

solutions in the local and broader community.

2. Creating a dynamic environment with dedicated physical and digital spaces, that attract

and connect a diversity of people and activities.

3. Establishing an identity for the Boot Factory and precinct as a place of innovation and

excellence, shared between government, academia, industry, and the community.

Industry experts and leaders, including those based locally, who can demonstrate knowledge and experience in sustainability, climate resilience, urbanism and/or circular economy are strongly encouraged to apply.

Waverley Council will support the successful applicant to take an active role in delivering the proposed Program of initiatives, which may include:

  • Up to $50,000 funding to support program delivery (over 12 months). Additional grant and other funding sources can be contributed subject to agreement with Waverley Council.
  • Use of various spaces in The Boot Factory – including exhibition space and configurable meeting rooms fitted with latest communication infrastructure, audio and visual equipment (use is non-exclusive). Not intended to be used as an office space.
  • Access to the Waverley residential and business community through Council communication channels.
  • Access to available datasets for research purposes – subject to confidentiality agreements.
  • some administrative support and promotion (including marketing and ticketing services)
  • Subsidised or discounted access to a range of other venue spaces

Deadlines for submissions close midnight, Friday 29 September through haveyoursay.waverley.nsw.gov.au.

For EOI inquiries, contact Sam McGuinness, Executive Manager, Environmental Sustainability

Waverley Council, sam.mcguinness@waverley.nsw.gov.au


Media inquiries: media@waverley.nsw.gov.au or 0416 075 532.