Who will you nominate for 2020 Australia Council Awards?

Nominations are now open for a suite of awards offered by the Australia Council for the Arts, including the 2020 Australia Council Awards, the Red Ochre Awards and the inaugural National Arts and Disability Awards, recognising the contribution of a diverse range of Australian artists.
Who will you nominate for 2020 Australia Council Awards?

Joyce Hinterding, Square Logarithmic VLF Loop (Energy Scavenging Antennas) 2015. Image courtesy the artist and Sarah Cottier Gallery. Sydney Photograph: Christopher Snee

If you’re not sure who to nominate for an Australia Council Award, Jeremy Smith, the Australia Council’s Arts Practice Director for Emerging and Experimental Arts and Community Arts and Cultural Development, suggests using your instinct.

‘Go with your gut,’ Smith said. ‘If someone through their arts practice has really had an impact on your life, their sector or the lives of others, then put that person forward because it’s really great for our industry advisors to have a strong field to choose from to make the selection process as tough as possible to ensure they get a diverse collection of nominees.’


For the first time this year, the Australia Council is launching the National Arts and Disability Awards.  At the same time, nominations have opened for the Red Ochre Awards, which recognise the Lifetime Achievement of an outstanding senior male and female First Nations artist.

It’s the inclusive nature of the awards which gives artists across Australia the opportunity to further their practice and receive recognition for excellence in their field, said Smith.

‘We know that the Australian arts sector is made up of practitioners and communities from all backgrounds and all forms of experiences so it’s important that the awards are representative of the diverse nature of Australian society,’ he said. ‘Last year a lot of the recipients were First Nations artists which was a really significant and remarkable milestone for the Australia Council Awards given we also have dedicated awards for First Nations artists.’

Celebrating emerging and experimental artists

While some of the most recognised awards are the Australia Council Award for Visual Arts and the Australia Council Award for Lifetime Achievement in Literature, Smith said it was important to ensure the significant contribution of artists from other artforms and categories was recognised.

‘The emerging and experimental arts sector is extremely dynamic and diverse, it’s one of the newest awards that council has been offering,’ said Smith.

The Award for Emerging and Experimental Arts awards has previously been received by internationally acclaimed artists such as Stelarc and artist and co-founder of pvi collective Kelli McCluskey.

Smith said of the award, ‘Collectively they’re all crossover artists that demonstrate the public value of why Australia should continue to invest in the arts sector.’

In the category of Community Arts and Cultural Development there are two awards which acknowledge the achievements of an artist or arts worker who has made an outstanding and sustained contribution to community arts and cultural development.

The Ros Bower Award is for an outstanding artist or arts worker who has demonstrated a lifelong commitment to community arts and cultural development practice while the Kirk Robson Award recognises an emerging artist 30 years of age or under who demonstrates outstanding potential within the community arts and cultural development space.

The Don Banks Music Award, named in honour of the composer, performer and the first Chair of the Music Board,  acknowledges the achievements of a distinguished artist who has made an outstanding and sustained contribution to music in Australia. 

Smith said the 2020 Australia Council Awards are a pivotal part of the Australian arts landscape in recognising artistic talent.

‘Celebrating the work an artist has done throughout their career generates significant amounts of public value across the arts, cultural and creative sectors both nationally and internationally,’ Smith said.

‘The ripple effect is that it brings people together as either audience members or as direct participants, generating new narratives and senses of belonging, which has been a remarkable accomplishment of many of these artists.’

Nominations for the 2020 Australia Council Awards, the inaugural National Arts and Disability Awards and the 2020 Red Ochre Awards close on Tuesday October 1st. Nominees may not self-nominate.

For more info on the awards visit: australiacouncil.gov.au/funding

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Sabine Brix

Monday 26 August, 2019

About the author

Sabine Brix is a writer, editor, podcaster and electronic musician with a specific interest in personal storytelling that captures the essence of why people create. She was the former Online Content Producer at Archer Magazine and editor of the LGBTI website Gay News Network.

She has produced sound art for BBC's Radio4  and composed music for the web series Starting From Now, which screened on SBS. This year she released her debut EP on the French electronic music label Parfé Records.

Follow Sabine on Twitter @sabinebrix