We believe that arts and culture are integral to a healthy and connected community.


Octapod is the key arts and cultural development organisation servicing the arts, screen and cultural sector of the Lower Hunter region of NSW.  

Octapod stimulates arts and cultural development and participation in arts and culture through a distinctive blend of capacity building initiatives, resources and services.

Octapod collaborates with partners and community to stimulate and sustain arts and culture which reflects the region’s rich diversity. We collaborate with creative communities with a particular focus on emerging and mid career young artists, artists with disability, Aboriginal artists and artists from diverse cultural backgrounds.

Octapod supports creative communities to contribute to the social cultural and economic development of the region.  Octapod provides a one-stop shop for creative and broader communities to share information, networks and experiences. We advocate for arts and cultural development for our membership and educate the community about the sector.

Octapod’s initiatives and services are driven by local, state and federal policy and are reponsive to the unique environment, needs and capacity of creative communities in each of the five Local Government Areas of Newcastle, Maitland, Lake Macquarie, Port Stephens and Cessnock.

An independent not-for-profit organisation formed in 1997, we receive Service Organisation funding from Create NSW and support for capacity building and arts development programs from strategic partners and through our growing membership base. The Octapod board is comprised of representatives from community, the arts, business and local government bringing specialized skills and expertise.

Octapod’s services remain increasingly important in the changing landscape of Newcastle and as part of the Hunter region’s exponential growth. Octapod provides leadership for the region’s thriving arts, culture and creative sector which is expected to be a key driver of the NSW state’s economic growth, exports and innovation over the next decade.

Innovation and creativity through initiatives such as This is Not Art are critical to the development of Australia’s cultural life as well as Newcastle’s cultural, social and economic identity.

Octapod acknowledges arts and culture as key elements of a healthy, happy society. Over the past few years Octapod has secured a national reputation as a leader in inclusion in the arts and disability sector.  We advocate for participation in arts and culture at all levels; for creators, participants, audiences and leaders and work alongside the key arts organisations funded annually by Create NSW to provide critical professional and artistic development opportunities and supports for the creatives who make up the arts and cultural sector of the region in dance, literature, screen, performing arts and visual arts.

Our Vision
Our vision is of a diverse and thriving arts and cultural sector in the Lower Hunter region.

Our Mission
We provide leadership and cultural development initiatives to enhance the capacity of the region’s existing and emerging creative communities.

Our Values
The core values that underpin our work with community are: sustainability, inclusion, collaboration and innovation.

Our Impact
Through our partnerships and programs we seek to positively impact on the community’s health and connectedness across the Lower Hunter region. We assess our activities based on three types of outcomes:

Cultural outcomes
Aesthetic enrichment
New knowledge, insights and ideas
Diversity of cultural expression
Sense of belonging to shared heritage (or shared future)

Social outcomes
Good physical and mental health stimulated
Sense of safety and security increased
Social connectedness enhanced
Social differences bridged
Recognition from valued others experienced

Economic outcomes
Employment-enhancing skill development facilitated
Individual economic benefit obtained
Direct employment provided
Indirect employment stimulated
Local economy supported

Find out more about our Projects and Services, or Contact us for more information.

Photo: 2017 ‘The Real World’ panel presented at Critical Animals as part of This is Not Art. Photo: Justine Cogan