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Renew Newcastle - The Roost

3rd May, 2012
Jenny Butler
Thursday 3rd May 2012

Another fantastic Renew Newcastle project with Siobhan, today we meet Luke Oliver of The Roost. After reading the interviews from this week's Guest Blog, it's evident that Renew Newcastle really is a thriving program with many opportunities for those in the Newcastle area. If you have a bright idea, you can apply with your own project or check out the available positions within the Renew Newcastle group - there are some fantastic opportunities out there! - Jenny x

Luke Oliver of The Roost - and his rooster!

Luke Oliver is Director of The Roost, a studio space for graphic designers, illustrators, animators, photographers and others working in digital media to use as an affordable base for developing new work, collaborating with others, or meeting with clients. There’s wireless broadband and a large format printer, layout spaces, a PlayStation zone and a bike club.

The Roost also produces incredible themed exhibitions (the next, Versus, is kicking off this Saturday at Maitland Region Art Gallery) and plays host to demonstrations and workshops with the aim to bring together upcoming designers and established industry mentors together to share knowledge and experience. It’s like a digital design hothouse regional NSW.

Visit: L1, 152 – 160 Hunter St, Newcastle.
Mon-Fri 10am to 4pm, or by appointment.

Can you give us a super brief bio about yourself and your practice?

I got into design and I get excited about my work as a designer because I love the process of creating something that solves a problem or says something. I really enjoy seeing other people get the opportunity to find their way and develop their talents and interests. Before I took on The Roost I was working at The Family Action Centre at The University of Newcastle as their in-house graphic designer and my project manager, Lindee Hahn, put forward the idea of getting a Renew space and the brainstorming began. We wanted to create a space where people could share their creative passion and skills with one another. It’s something that’s evolved and developed and continues to evolve each week.

The Roost's Riders Club bike depository

How have things changed for you since being part of the Renew Newcastle?

Renew gave our idea the opportunity to fly. Collaboration is important. In our first year we’ve collaborated in various ways on projects within our group and then as The Roost, we’ve worked closely with other Renew entities and local creative enterprises and began to develop a real digital design hub in Newcastle.

We’ve had four different spaces through Renew and each has supported our ambitions and offered up possibilities in different ways. These new spaces have allowed us to undertake different projects and collaborations. From this process we’ve been able to see what works, take that information and direct our efforts to grown what we do.

One big lesson you've learnt from the whole experience?

It’s far more rewarding to be open with your ideas and share the experience. It’s easy to get bogged down in your own agenda.

What's your favourite local neighbourhood and why?

My love for Hunter Street Mall is growing; this is heavily due to Renew putting eager business owners into the space. It’s becoming a hive of activity. It's great being around all the other Renew spaces and talking with the business owners and seeing how excited they are about what they do.

Just around the corner from the Mall at a place called the Conroy Bradley Pistol Club (233 Hunter Street, Newcastle). We’ve created a nice little tradition where we have a coffee and a chorizo and poached egg muffin every Tuesday. The owner there, Nick, not only makes great food and coffee and puts on a show for us while we wait.

Newcastle's best kept secret?

If you leave you’ll always come back.

Finish this sentence - 'Newcastle is.... '

Where people base themselves for good reason, but you’ll have to come here to know why.

- Siobhan x

The Design Files acknowledge the Traditional Custodians of the lands on which we work, the Wurundjeri people of the Kulin Nation. We pay our respects to Elders past and present.

First Nations artists, designers, makers, and creative business owners are encouraged to submit their projects for coverage on The Design Files. Please email