Writer, researcher and playwright Graham Pitts has received the Australia Council for the Arts’ 2005 Ros Bower Award for his outstanding contribution to the arts and community cultural development.
Mr Pitts’ vision and tireless efforts have created scores of arts-based projects with marginalised groups from many cultures, particularly with non-English speaking background and disadvantaged communities, and people living with HIV/AIDS.
‘Over the past 25 years, Graham has been a driving force for community cultural development practice in every state and territory in Australia,’ said Australia Council Community Partnerships Committee Chair, Timothy O’Loughlin.
‘His outstanding work is the result of great skill and passion, and has enhanced the aspirations of Australia’s diverse communities,’ said Mr O’Loughlin.
Mr Pitts co-founded Sidetrack Theatre and became a professional writer, coordinator and director in 1978. Credited with writing more than 50 plays, Mr Pitts is best known for Emma — Celebrazione! which was produced Australia-wide in 1991.
Mr Pitts’ active advocacy for community cultural development includes prolific writing on the subject – much of it published – and presenting discussion papers and addressing conferences. He is the author of Tour of Duty, an account of a trip to East Timor, and Public Art, Public Housing, about CCD activities on housing estates across Victoria.
Mr Pitts is preparing a book of CCD case studies for the Victorian College of the Arts and is working on a commission for deckchair theatre, based on the lives of working-class women in Melbourne’s inner-city suburbs.
He is chair of the National Arts and Culture Alliance (NACA).
Mr Pitts joins fellow 2005 recipient Lockie McDonald on the honour roll of distinguished Ros Bower Award winners. This is the first time the Australia Council has given the award to two individuals in the same year.
The Australia Council created the $50,000 Ros Bower Award in 1981 and presents it annually to recognise distinguished effort in fostering and furthering the principles advocated by Rosalie (Ros) Bower, who was founding director of the Australia Council’s community arts board.