Copyright Agency’s Cultural Fund Awards a record $240,000 in Fellowships

November 29, 2018 | Cultural Fund

The Copyright Agency has awarded Australia’s richest Fellowships at its annual showcase celebrating Australian creativity.

Alongside its established Author Fellowship, this year the agency’s Cultural Fund introduced a Fellowship for Non-Fiction Writing and a Fellowship for a Visual Artist. Each are worth $80,000.

Copyright Agency CEO Adam Suckling says, “The Fellowships provide mid-career Australian authors and artists with pivotal financial support to help them to produce important new works.

“The calibre of applicants for this year’s Fellowships was exceptionally high and reflects the rich and diverse culture of Australia’s creative sector.”

The recipients of the three $80,000 fellowships are:

  • Author Fellowship: Melbourne writer Jeff Sparrow, for his compelling project Thinking Differently: Other minds and the challenge of climate change. Sparrow has published five books and regularly contributes to The Guardian. His new book aims to reframe discussions of humanity’s relationship with the natural world in the context of climate change.
  • Fellowship for Non-Fiction Writing: Literary critic and academic Bernadette Brennan, who will use the Fellowship to research and write a significant biography on award-winning Australian short-story writer Gillian Mears. This follows her recent critically-acclaimed biography A Writing Life: Helen Garner and Her Work.
  • Fellowship for a Visual Artist: Indigenous artist Karla Dickens, for a multimedia installation titled A Dickensian Circus that will celebrate the lives of Indigenous boxers and the famous Lismore acrobat Cornelius Sullivan. Aiming to reconnect Aboriginal communities with their heritage and introduce youth to vibrant Indigenous celebrities, Karla Dickens’ work will be exhibited at Lismore Art Gallery and Linden New Art Gallery in Melbourne in 2020.

Jeff Sparrow says he is happy to be receiving the Fellowship as it allows him the time to write and affirms to the public that writing and books are important.

“I am writing about such an obviously important subject, but it’s also one that’s very difficult to address, simply because the scale of the crisis overwhelms us. The bleakness of environmental news can foster despair and disengagement; we need desperately a new way to frame the topic without minimising the problems we face. It’s such an honour to be acknowledged by industry peers and I’m looking forward to getting to work on this project,” Mr Sparrow says.

The recipient of the Fellowship for Non-Fiction Writing, Bernadette Brennan, says it’s a vote of confidence in her intellectual endeavour to establish the author Gillian Mears as one of the great writers of the late 20th century.

“I am honoured to be the inaugural recipient of the Copyright Agency’s Fellowship for Non-Fiction Writing. This Fellowship is an exciting and vital initiative – yet another way that the Copyright Agency’s Cultural Fund strives to support writers and foster excellence in Australian writing,” Ms Brennan says.

Recipient of the Fellowship for a Visual Artist, Karla Dickens, says the Fellowship will enable her to create work to the highest of standards, without the financial limitations and restrictions that artists frequently juggle.

“An artist’s life is built on sweat and sacrifice that walks on a slippery financial highwire without any safety nets. To have a period of time where you are able to create your work on solid ground is a blessing and offers security that can only enhance an artist’s practice and sense of self-worth.

“The project ‘A Dickensian Circus’ will engage and connect with a range of communities with broad minds, from boxers to circus, artists and Aboriginals and anyone else who is open to new ideas,” Ms Dickens says. “Any positive story that speaks on behalf of individual Aboriginal legends is important and worthy of retelling and showcasing.”

The Copyright Agency’s Cultural Fund Fellowships provide financial support to authors and visual artists in recognition of their creative endeavours that enrich and promote Australia’s literary and arts communities. This is in addition to the payment of more than $100 million in copyright licence fees to publishers, writers, visual artists and surveyors every year.

“The Copyright Agency would like to thank the judges for their time and careful consideration of the large number of very strong entries this year,” added Mr Suckling.

Artist Karla Dickens has been awarded the $80,000 2018 Copyright Agency Fellowship for a Visual Artist. Photo: Mick Richards.

Tags: ,