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Seven of Australia’s most accomplished artists working across diverse art forms have been recognised with prestigious Australia Council Fellowships.

The highly sought after fellowships, worth $80,000 over two years, are awarded to outstanding, established artists with a significant track record in their chosen field to undertake creative activity, research and professional development.  This year’s recipients are:


  • Dave Brown – Theatre
  • Alison Croggon – Literature
  • Lucas Ihlein – Emerging and Experimental Arts
  • Debby Maziarz – Community Arts and Cultural Development
  • Kate Miller Heidke – Music
  • Andrew Morrish – Dance
  • Justene Williams – Visual Arts


Australia Council Chief Executive Officer Tony Grybowski congratulated the recipients of this year’s fellowships and paid tribute to the outstanding body of work each had already produced in their respective art forms.

“Fellowships are an important component of the Council’s grants program and for many artists they are life-changing to their career,” Mr Grybowski said.

“Our fellowships are only granted once in an artists’ lifetime. They go to artists who demonstrate outstanding achievement on the national and international stage, and the calibre of the recipients is incredibly impressive again this year.

“One of our strategic goals is to see Australia increasingly known for its great art and artists, and central to this is support for artists to make excellent work and push boundaries in their practice.

“Fellowships support artists to develop their arts practice, experiment, research and explore new ways to both pursue their artistic vision and share it with audiences.

“They play an important role in providing artists with the time and financial security needed to focus on their work and the freedom to reflect, innovate and collaborate.”

Fellowship applications are assessed and awarded by peers in the relevant art form areas.

Past Fellowship recipients include Gary Lang, Alana Valentine, Archie Roach, Tim Daly, Judith Wright, Tamara Saulwick and Geoffrey Gurrumul Yunupingu.

The Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Fellowship recipient will be announced along with the Red Ochre and Dreaming awards on 27 May 2016.

Australia Council Fellowships are offered once a year and will be offered again in 2016.

For more information on Australia Council Fellowships, go here.


Dave Brown

Dave Brown has been the Artistic Director of Patch Theatre in South Australia for 20 years.  He has received an Australia Council Fellowship in Theatre to establish an international partnership platform called The PaperBoats. Based on an investigation of seven theatre-making principles, the project will pioneer culturally ambitious theatre-making through collaboration, co-creation and participation in the context of evolving technologies.  Dave will draw on his award-winning leadership in Theatre for Young Audiences to build The PaperBoats community, which in the establishment phase will focus on theatre projects for children. The platform will be designed to support the way these projects shift, change and respond to each other, also creating a mechanism to feed Dave’s vast experience back into the sector.

Alison Croggon

Alison Croggon is a prominent Australian novelist, poet, literary critic, essayist, librettist and cultural commentator. Alison’s Australia Council Fellowship in Literature will see her working on three major projects: a new opera libretto, Love and Death; a new young adult book, The Stone Heart; and an edited selection of her best critical reviews and essays for publication as a book. Each of these projects represents the literary activities in which Alison has excelled for the past 15 years. The Fellowship will also enable Alison to undertake international opportunities for her future professional development and extend her market internationally in Europe and the UK.

Lucas Ihlein

Lucas Ihlein has used artistic practice over his 20 year career to explore social and ecological issues through direct engagement with real-world situations. He has produced significant works that map ecological systems and reveal social and material networks, through exploring art’s role in triggering cultural change. His Australia Council Fellowship in Emerging and Experimental Arts involves research, development and public presentation of four interconnected projects that examine the relationship between agriculture and changing environmental pressures in Australia and the Asia-Pacific. Lucas will also undertake a series of short residencies in the USA with practitioners working at the intersection of socially-engaged art and ecology.

Debby Maziarz

Debby Maziarz is an experienced director of performance, circus and engaging community and has used these skills as a social entrepreneur, business development manager, educator and fundraiser in the arts. She has received an Australia Council Fellowship in Community Arts and Cultural Development. Exploring trade, exchange and new ways of working in the arts, this innovative fellowship program will focus on global non-monetary networks that connect businesses through the exchange of products and services. The Fellowship will enable Debby to explore ways to establish systems to exchange resources, ranging from human, infrastructure to materials. The research will also create greater networks across arts sector borders and help lessen the environmental footprint of arts practice.

Kate Miller Heidke

Kate Miller Heidke successfully works across contemporary popular, opera and art music worlds. She has performed with the Metropolitan Opera and her albums have achieved multi-platinum sales. She most recently appeared in Opera Australia’s ABC TV opera The Divorce. For her Australia Council Fellowship in Music, Kate will undertake a number of projects including: recording a new album with the Tasmanian Symphony Orchestra; another with lyrics from playwright Lally Katz; collaborate with Dutch composer Michel van der Aa on a new song cycle; a new musical theatre work developed in collaboration with director Tom Morris, whom she worked with at the Metropolitan opera on The Death of Klinghoffer; and a new musical theatre piece developed in collaboration with composer Iain Grandage, whom she worked with on The Rabbits.

Andrew Morrish

Andrew Morrish is one of Australia’s leading improvisational dance artists. He teaches movement and performance improvisation workshops, mentors artists in Australia and Europe and was the key facilitator at the 2015 National Dance Forum. Andrew’s Australia Council Fellowship in Dance will develop solo Performance Improvisation practice. After 35 years of independent and sustained practice in solo improvisation in studios and theatres around the world, Andrew will challenge and deepen his artistic work into developing the form of the 50-55 minute solo. The Fellowship will see a program of exchanges and performances in both self-produced and invited/curated contexts in Australia and Europe. He will also collaborate on a book based on his dance practice.

Justene Williams

Justene Williams is one of Australia’s most significant artists working with video who examines gender and identity issues. With her Australia Council Fellowship in Visual Arts, Justene will create new significant projects, including recreating the Cubo-Futurist opera Victory Over The Sun for The 20th Biennale of Sydney with The Sydney Chamber Opera; develop and create a film The Loch & Key man with screenings accompanied by a live musical score and sound effects; and create a new video and sculpture for exhibition in Tasmania titled Cheese. Part of the Fellowship will also include creating work for a new photo-collage exhibition at Sarah Cottier Gallery in Sydney. Justene will also undertake several short courses to develop skills in video post-production and present a touring exhibition, The Curtain Breathed Deeply, to eight venues across Australia.



Brianna Roberts


(02) 9215 9030

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