Applause: Latest funding and awards announced

Good Design Awards honour innovators, recipient of 2020 John Mulvaney Fellowship announced, playwright Ang Collins awarded Incubator Fellowship, and more.
Applause: Latest funding and awards announced The Balarinji studio has picked up a 2020 Sydney Design Award for public sculptural artwork completed by Nadeena Dixon on the Cleveland Street Bridge. Image supplied.

Staff writer

Wednesday 16 September, 2020

Shortlist for Booker Prize announced

This year's Booker Prize shortlist has been announced with a list that favours women and writers from diverse backgrounds.

One of this year's judges, Sameet Rahim, said the panel judged books on a number of criteria but he was also looking for technical aspects of writing: 'We were looking for books that really told a story and grabbed us, we were looking for originality as well. And personally I was also looking for technical mastery and at the level of the sentence it needed to be really, really superb.'

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The shortlisted titles are:

For more information visit The Booker Prize. The winner will be announced 17 November 2020.

Innovators honoured at Good Design Awards

Light Soy Lamp has won the Gold Accolade at the Good Design Awards. Image supplied.

This year's Good Design Awards represented a diverse spectrum of design, across 11 specific design disciplines spanning 28 categories.

Sydney design studio Heliograf has taken the familiar fish-shaped soy sauce packaging and transformed it into the Light Soy lamp. The iconic design has received a prestigious Good Design Award Gold Accolade in the Product Design Furniture and Lighting category in recognition for outstanding design and innovation.

The designers, Angus Ware and Jeffrey Simpson, were inspired to create the lamps after eating sushi and thinking about how much disposable plastic they had used.

More than 55 Good Design Awards Jurors evaluated each entry according to a strict set of design criteria which covered ‘good design’, ‘design innovation’ and ‘design impact’. Projects recognised with a GoodDesign Award must demonstrate excellence in good design and convince the Jury they are worthy of recognition at this level.

Indigenous design studio Balarinji also picked up awards for their innovative designs both in the Good Design Awards and the Sydney Design Awards.

  • 2020 Good Design Award winner for Aboriginal mural and outer facade artwork in Burwood Brickworks Shopping Centre with Wurundjeri-willam artist, Mandy Nicholson.
  • 2020 Sydney Design Awards Silver winner for Aboriginal sculptural public artwork for safety screens on the Cleveland Street Bridge, Redfern with Gadigal artist Nadeena Dixon.

Ros Moriarty, Managing Director of Balarinji said:' Australia needs innovative opportunities like the Burwood Brickworks mural and Cleveland Street Bridge artwork to make local Aboriginal narratives visible in our public places. We’re thrilled thousands of people will experience these installations every day, and that their social value and design merit have been recognised by these awards.'

Visit Good Design Award for more information on this year's winners.

Artist focusing on tradition receives the 2020 John Mulvaney Fellowship

The award-winning Brisbane based artist Dr Carol McGregor has won the Australian Academy of the Humanities’ 2020 John Mulvaney Fellowship, presented to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander early career researchers and PhD students to support them with their field work.

An award winning artist specialising in painting, printmaking and sculpture, McGregor's recent practice focuses on reviving possum skin cloaks, which she has been researching as a way to connect to her Wathaurung great-grandmother. ‘After making my family possum cloak I understood the powerful cultural significance of the skin cloaks,’ she said. 

‘Traditionally, a small possum skin cloak was created for an individual at birth and skins were added to the cloak throughout the wearer’s lifetime. A person’s cloak was unique to them being an important form of personal identity.’ 

McGregor's research trip, funded by the Academy, will further her work on possum cloaks. She will meet with Elders in the Bidjara community and visit the Gunggari people who are the Native Title holders of Mt Moffat (gained September 2019) where she plans to conduct workshops to create contemporary cloaks while educating the community and starting new conversations about their importance and tradition. 

Climate change the subject of inaugural Incubator Fellowship

Playwright Ang Collins has been selected as the first recipient of the inaugural Incubator Fellowship and will use the $30,000 funding to write a play combining comedy and crisis about climate change in Australia.

Established through a new partnership between Create NSW and Griffin Theatre Company, the fellowship aims to support an emerging playwright in a self-directed program of professional development. 

Collins said of receiving the fellowship: 'I'm over the moon with gratitude and excitement right now. To be the recipient of the Incubator Fellowship as a young playwright is so heartening and artistically affirming – it feels like the past few years of writing, staging work, and working very hard has been leading up to this incredible opportunity. I can't wait to write what I'm most passionate about: comedy, our rapidly changing climate, and detailed portraits of contemporary Australia.'

Griffin Theatre Company Artistic Director Declan Greene said nurturing emerging Australian playwrights is what Griffin is all about.

'As the only theatre company in Australia devoted entirely to new Australian plays, we’re passionate about nurturing emerging writers who want to tell ambitious and urgent stories. Ang Collins is an incredible playwright and we can’t wait to watch her further develop her skills as she undertakes this next period of professional development.'

The three other shortlisted applicants – Justice Jones, Frieda Lee and Claudia Osbourne – will continue to receive creative and professional support from Griffin Theatre Company and its wider industry networks.

Triple biography examining Indigenous travels wins NSW's Premier's History Award

The Warrior, the Voyager, and the Artist by Professor Kate Fullagar has taken out this year's NSW Premier's Award for General History and been described by judges as 'global history [which] deserves global recognition'.

The triple biography tells the little known story of Ostenaco, a Cherokee warrior and diplomat, and Mai, a traveller from the Pacific Island of Raiatea, and their meeting with Joshua Reynolds, founder and first president of Britain’s Royal Academy of Arts. It examines how Ostenaco and Mai came to be in London mixing with 18th-century British metropolitans.

Among the first images of Indigenous peoples that Europeans ever saw were two significant portraits painted by the artist Sir Joshua Reynolds, better known for his society portraits of the grand ladies of the British aristocracy. Until now Ostenaco and Mai have been marginalised as exotic subjects while Reynolds is a highly acclaimed artist. 

The judging panel said of the work: 'The Warrior, the Voyager, and the Artist is a master work of accessible erudition. Voyaging across the intersecting worlds of the eighteenth century, Kate Fullagar achieves a triple balancing act. Her text invites us into the minds, rituals, societies and geographies of three figures united by art and empire. Through Fullagar’s fine prose, Cherokee diplomat Ostenaco, Ra’iatean exile Mai and British artist Joshua Reynolds develop both as individuals and as representatives of their rapidly transforming cultures,' reads the judges’ citation. 

Visit the State Library of NSW to learn more about the NSW Premier's History Awards and the winners in other categories.

Art music award recognises renowned musician from UWA

Musician James Ledger, who heads up the composition program at The University of Western Australia's Conservatorium of Music and who is also a mentor to young musicians, was recently honoured at the Art Music Awards and awarded Work of the Year: Large Ensemble.

Ledger's Viola Concerto helped him win the category, with the judges calling it a 'highly sophisticated work with innovative harmonic language and beautiful synergy between all its elements'.

Ledger was inspired to create the piece by friend and soloist Brett Dean. He created the piece motivated by the fact that there are not many viola concertos and also by his love of the instrument's rich and earthy sounds.

The Australian Art Music Awards are presented each year by the Australasian Performing Right Association and the Australian Music Centre, and acknowledge the achievements of composers, performers and educators in the genres of contemporary classical music, jazz, improvisation, sound art and experimental music.

The award recipients were chosen from a record number of 278 nominations this year across 13 categories. Visit APRA/AMCOS for more information on the Australian Art Music Awards and the full list of winners

Celebrated Australian musician Richard Letts receives Sir Bernard Heinze Memorial Award

Dr Richard Letts. Image supplied.

Australian musician, author and advocate Dr Richard Letts AM has been awarded the 2020 Sir Bernard Heinze Memorial Award for his outstanding contribution to Australian music. The award is presented annually by the University of Melbourne and the Melbourne Symphony Orchestra.

Among his accomplishments, Dr Letts has served as Director on the Music Board for the Australia Council for the Arts, been CEO of the Australian Music Centre, founded the Music Council of Australia and served as its Chair and then Executive Director for 19 years.

Ormond Professor of Music, Gary McPherson, of the Melbourne Conservatorium of Music said he was thrilled to see Dr Letts receive this year’s Award.

'Richard Letts has had a profound influence in reshaping the pattern of government support for music in Australia. From his early years as a classical pianist and jazz band leader to, in more recent times, his work as Founder and Director of The Music Trust, he has made a singularly impressive contribution to our understanding and appreciation of the importance and value of music within the Australian community,' McPherson said. 

Awarded annually since 1998, past recipients of The Sir Bernard Heinze Memorial Award have included: Yorta Yorta soprano, composer and Artistic Director of Short Black Opera Deborah Cheetham AO, conductor Richard Gill AO, composer Carl Vine AO, singer Yvonne Kenny AM, composer Peter Sculthorpe AO OBE, plus others.

More news and awards.

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