Tuesday, September 13, 2016

University of Otago announces Arts Fellows for 2017

The University of Otago’s prestigious Arts fellowships for 2017 have been announced.

“I am delighted to announce the selection of these outstanding individuals to join us as Arts Fellows at Otago over the next year. As always, I look forward to seeing their creative ventures,” she told the September University Council meeting today.

Otago's Pro-Vice-Chancellor Humanities, Professor Tony Ballantyne, jointly announced the recipients with Professor Hayne. The Humanities Division makes the selection each year.

The Frances Hodgkins Fellow is Campbell Patterson, of Auckland, the Robert Burns Fellow is Craig Cliff of Dunedin, the Mozart Fellow is Chris Gendall of Wellington, the Caroline Plummer Fellow in Community Dance is Caroline Sutton Clark of Texas, USA, and the Creative NZ University of Otago College of Education Children’s Writer in Residence is Mere Whaanga of Wairoa.

“I am delighted with the new group of talented and creative individuals who will take up the Otago Arts Fellowships in 2017. These 2017 Fellows represent the forefront of their fields; they have each been selected from an extremely strong pool of applicants,” Professor Ballantyne says.

“Through the Otago Arts Fellowships we hope to strengthen our links with the arts community and to nurture conversations between these creative disciplines which illuminate our view of the world. I look forward to the music, words, images and performances that these Fellows will bring to us next year.”

The Fellows receive a stipend for between six months and one year and space on campus to indulge in their creative projects. Past Fellows have created dance performances, orchestral compositions, poetry, novels and children’s books during this time.

Former fellows include literary luminaries Janet Frame, Keri Hulme, James K Baxter, Michael King and Maurice Shadbolt, the artists Ralph Hotere and Grahame Sydney, not to mention many of New Zealand's significant composers, dancers and children’s book writers.

Frances Hodgkins Fellow 2017 - Campbell Patterson

Campbell Patterson is an artist who has been making and exhibiting work in various mediums, often interchanging them, including, writing, sculpture, photography, painting and video.

“I am very lucky to be given this opportunity. I am looking forward to quitting my job, leaving Auckland, and focusing on making and thinking for a whole year. It will be great to immerse myself deep into my practice and into a new environment; not since I was a student has it been possible to do this for such a generous amount of time so naturally I am thrilled and a little terrified.”

He plans to focus on making both film and sculptural works. For the film work he is interested, as a starting point, in making 'cinema' and figuring out what this means in the context of what he does. For the sculptural project he will start by searching for materials and spaces.

Robert Burns Fellow 2017 - Craig Cliff

Craig Cliff’s short story collection “A Man Melting” won the 2011 Commonwealth Writers Prize Best First Book, and his novel “The Mannequin Makers” has been translated into Romanian, with a US version forthcoming in 2017. He has also published poetry, columns, book reviews and essays, and presents at festivals and conferences about writing or his other specialty - the design of education facilities.

“Taking up the Burns Fellowship in 2017 will be the best kind of disruption for me, and an adventure for my young family. When writing my last book I spent a lot of time imagining Otago in the 19th and early 20th centuries and it's a blessing and an honour to be invited to spend a year there in the flesh, to write, but also to think, converse and explore.”

Craig will work on a novel about a location scout and a levitating saint — “another tilt at the margin between the weird and the routine, art and life, past and present.”

Mozart Fellow 2017 - Chris Gendall

Chris Gendall’s musical compositions have received performances in Europe, Asia, North and South America. He has participated in music festivals and conferences and was the Creative New Zealand/Jack C. Richards Composer-in-Residence at the New Zealand School of Music for 2010–11. His work Wax Lyrical was the winner of the SOUNZ Contemporary Award in 2008.

He was the Mozart Fellow for 2016, and is delighted to continue in the role for a second year. “Dunedin is kind to its artists, providing enough time and space to bite off more than you could normally chew, and in environs both charming and stimulating. I'll be working away at a few pieces; some solo, some orchestral music, and a new adventure in the world of brass bands.”

Caroline Plummer Fellow in Community Dance - Caroline Sutton Clark

Dr Caroline Sutton Clark has enjoyed a wide-ranging career in dance, studying dance forms, performing professionally with ballet, modern, and butoh companies, and been involved in many chorography projects. She has also created oral history archives and won awards for her research.

She says learning about Caroline Plummer and her vision for community dance has been an inspiration.

“I am thrilled and honoured to accept the research fellowship in her name. My oral history project, Dancing Our Stories, will assemble an archive of interviews with people who dance in diverse ways in the Otago region, offer workshops that explore sharing oral histories and how movement can enrich the process of rediscovering and reintegrating memories, and culminate in a community dance performance.”

Creative NZ UoO College of Education Children’s Writer in Residence - Mere Whaanga

Dr Mere Whaanga’s knowledge of Māori land lore complemented her studies into Māori land law; she has worked as a professional historian, researcher and project manager on the Treaty of Waitangi claims of the Wairoa area. Amongst her extensive list of publications are four children’s picture books, which she wrote and illustrated, with a fifth due for publication in early 2017.

Mere affiliates to Ngāti Rongomaiwahine, Ngāti Kahungunu and Ngāti Pahauwera iwi.

She is thrilled to be awarded the residency, and says she plans to write a fantasy novel for a young adult readership. 

“I am looking forward to the six months of dedicated writing time, especially as I will be based in the College of Education.  I am feeling challenged to have committed to so much time away from my home in Mahia, but the sense of being out of my comfort zone is well-balanced by the excited anticipation of being in an academic environment with access to superb facilities such as the University library.”

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