IGNITE Recipients announced

July 11, 2018

A diverse group of Australian creatives will receive a share of $50,000 to develop their professional practice as the recipients of the Cultural Fund’s 2018 IGNITE Grant.

IGNITE funding aims to equip those working in the writing, publishing and visual arts sectors with world-class skills to grow Australia’s distinctive voice on the world stage. A panel of independent judges met recently and approved $50,000 for training and mentorship programs for 16 of the nation’s career-focused creators.

Chief executive of the Copyright Agency, Adam Suckling, says the IGNITE grants are essential to keeping the Australian creative industries dynamic, and ensuring our emerging creators can compete at a global standard.

“This year’s IGNITE grant round attracted more than 114 creators, all seeking to broaden their knowledge and skills via high-calibre international and national training programs and networks. The chosen recipients reflect Australia’s dynamic culture, ensuring that our creative sector continues to be vibrant, distinctive and globally recognisable,” Mr Suckling says.

Notable recipients of this year’s grant include: leading publisher Aviva Tuffield, founder of the Stella Prize, who plans to establish an advocacy organisation to nurture reading in Australia; poet and editor Omar Sakr, who will transition to fiction writing under the guidance of award-winning author Michael Mohammed Ahmad; and Julia Tsalis from the NSW Writers’ Centre, who will travel to Scotland on a literary exchange.

The grant also celebrates the contributions of Indigenous Australians with Indigenous author Tara June Winch to participate in the Writers-in-Residency Program at Nietzsche-Haus in Switzerland and the Indigenous publishing house Magabala Books in Broome to host a mentorship for Maryann Ballantyne from Black Dog Books.

The executive director of National Association for Visual Arts (NAVA), Esther Anatolitis, also received a grant to undertake international mentoring to guide Australian standards for protecting artists’ rights and incomes.

The recipients of the 2018 IGNITE Grant are:

  • CEO NAVA, Esther Anatolitis (NSW)
  • Writer, Jane Skelton (NSW)
  • Arts Administrator, Julia Tsalis (NSW)
  • Artist, Madeleine Preston (NSW)
  • Poet, Omar Sakr (NSW)
  • Artist, Spence Messih (NSW)
  • Writer, Tara June Winch (NSW)
  • Writer, Cher Tan (SA)
  • Writer & Theatre Maker, Emma Hall (SA)
  • Writer, Kylie Maslen (SA)
  • Publisher, Aviva Tuffield (VIC)
  • Curator, Jessica Clark (VIC)
  • Publisher, Maryann Ballantyne (VIC)
  • Artist, Susan Jacobs (VIC)
  • Writer, Ashleigh Hardcastle (WA)
  • Publisher, Terri-ann White (WA)


This year’s judging panel was drawn from several creative sectors. It consisted of Stephen Garrett, head of art and design at Southern Cross University; Lex Hirst, a literary publisher, festival director and arts programmer; and Bianca Nogrady, a freelance science journalist, author and broadcaster.

On behalf of the panel, Bianca Nogrady says, “The IGNITE Fund offers an exceptional opportunity for Australian artists to participate in world-class training and development. This not only helps them excel in their careers, it allows them to elevate Australia’s creative industries as they share their knowledge and skills.”

IGNITE Judges from left to right: Stephen Garrett, Bianca Nogrady and Lex Hirst.

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