Western graduate recognised for creative leadership in Blue Mountains

Justin Morrissey receiving his Churchill Fellowship

Western Sydney University alumnus Justin Morrissey is using his talents as an established multiplatform producer, curator and writer to support and reshape the creative industries of the Blue Mountains.

The Blackheath resident recently joined the Blue Mountains Economic Enterprise — the peak regional economic development agency for the region — as a brand manager, and was awarded a prestigious Churchill Fellowship to research successful creative industry models abroad.

“In the same week as receiving my Master of Creative Industries with Distinction from Western Sydney University, I was offered the role of Creative Industries Cluster and MTNS Made Brand Manager with the Blue Mountains Economic Enterprise,” said Justin.

Formally a curator for Sculpture at Scenic World – a world-class attraction in the World Heritage-Listed area, Justin is well versed in the challenges and opportunities connected to local tourism and exhibitions.

“Through my work and research, I hope to create exciting opportunities and economic growth in the Blue Mountains.”

“Drawing from a decade of producing and creating, and my enthusiasm for the community, my time is spent working with creatives, building networks with supporters, and finding better ways of connecting and doing business.”

Justin has recently worked with Australian Creative Cities to establish independent, local and community-led ‘Tool Libraries’ which have been an important resource during the pandemic.

“These libraries form part of our sharing economy with a focus on reducing waste and providing educational opportunities,” he said.

“We have seen the initiative bolster social innovation and inform creative direction in the community. It’s a great example of civic engagement and importantly, it can identify the needs of emerging creatives.”

Receiving a Churchill Fellowship, Justin has been recognised for his passion and drive and will have the opportunity to identify strategies that foster socio-economic development in the creative industries when he travels to China, UK, Germany and the US in the future.

One of Justin’s teacher, Dr Tanya Notley from School of Humanities and Communication Arts and Institute for Culture and Society, said despite only graduating last year, he has already given so much back to Western.

“A few weeks back, while on his Churchill Fellowship, he beamed in from the Northern Territory to deliver a brilliant and inspiring keynote presentation at our school’s annual Research Creations symposium,” said Dr Notley.

“We are in discussions with Justin about students interning on the many projects he is supporting in the Blue Mountains. He is contributing so much to support sustainable creative industries in our region. We are all thrilled to continue working with him post-graduation.”

With a background in film production, programming and production, Justin has worked for the Brisbane International Film Festival, Asia Pacific Screen Awards, the Sydney Film Festival, and the Antenna International Documentary Film Festival. He is also a member of the External Advisory Committee for Western Sydney University’s Bachelor of Creative Industries.

“My advice to students getting into the industry is to be prepared to try new things and to take on opportunities as they come your way.”

“Connect with industry groups, and build your networks — it doesn’t happen overnight, but it will happen for you.”


22 January 2021

Ali Sardyga, Media Officer