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Talented young artists supported with Australia Council scholarships and awards, in partnership with Perpetual as Trustee

Today’s announcement includes the Marten Bequest Scholarships, each worth $50,000. The scholarships offer talented young artists the chance to explore, study and develop their artistic gifts through travelling interstate and/or overseas.

The Australia Council has also awarded the Dal Stivens Literary Award and the Kathleen Mitchell Literary Award – each worth $15,000 – to encourage advancement in recipients’ literary career.

Australia Council CEO Adrian Collette AM said: “We are delighted to support and help advance the careers of young artists, through life-changing scholarships and awards that not only recognise their exceptional talents but encourage ongoing growth and development in their chosen creative fields.”

These scholarships and literary awards can offer significant opportunities for young people to pursue education and training and develop their individual creative talents. We are pleased to continue to deliver these scholarships, made possible through our partnership with Perpetual.”

Marten Bequest Scholarship recipients:

Eliza Scott – Acting
Dylan Phillips – Ballet
Victor Arul – Instrumental Music
Jessie Nash – Painting
Emily Stewart – Poetry
Rafeif Ismail – Prose
Jeremy Boulton – Singing

Dal Stivens Literary Award recipient:

Jumaana Abdu, The Long Supper

Kathleen Mitchell Award recipient:

Dylin Hardcastle, A Language of Limbs


Recipient bios can be found below.

About The Marten Bequest Scholarships

The Marten Bequest Scholarships offer talented young artists the chance to explore, study and develop their artistic gifts through travelling either interstate and/or overseas.

The scholarships provide $50,000 under the categories acting, architecture, ballet, instrumental music, painting, poetry, prose, sculpture and singing to help talented Australian artists achieve their dreams.

The scholarships are administered by the Australia Council on behalf of Perpetual as Trustee.

John Chisholm Marten (1908) was born in Kent, England and moved to Australia at a young age, residing in Sydney for his adult life. John Marten was a theatrical artist and well known for his appreciation and support of the arts community.

A strong advocate for the artistic capabilities of young Australians, John understood the costs involved in study and training programs and established The Marten Bequest through a charitable trust.

About the Dal Stivens Literary Award

The Dal Stivens Literary Award is presented biennially to an author, aged 30 or under, for a short story or essay of the highest literary merit. The story or essay must be between 3,000 and 10,000 words and published – or accepted for publication – within the 12 months prior to the Award closing date.

The Dal Stivens Literary Award was established in the will of Juanita Cragen in 2007. Dal Stivens (1911 – 1997) was an Australian writer and founding President of the Australian Society of Authors in 1963. His written works include eight collections of short stories, from The Tramp and Other Stories (1936) to The Unicorn and Other Tales (1976).

Stivens published his first novel, Jimmy Brockett, in 1948. He won the Miles Franklin Literary Award in 1970 for best Australian novel with A Horse of Air, and in 1981 he won the Patrick White Literary Award for his contribution to Australian Literature.

He was instrumental in establishing the rights of Australian authors within the commercial sphere.

The Award is administered by the Australia Council on behalf of Perpetual as trustee.

About the Kathleen Mitchell Literary Award

The Kathleen Mitchell Literary Award is presented biennially to the author, aged 30 or under, of an outstanding novel or novella (either published or accepted for publication within the two years prior to the Award closing date) to encourage advancement in their literary career.

The recipient will receive $15,000.

Established in 1996 by the will of the late Kathleen Adele Mitchell, the Award aims to encourage the advancement, improvement and betterment of Australian literature, and to provide emerging writers with funding to further their practice.

The Award is administered by the Australia Council on behalf of Perpetual as trustee.

About Perpetual Philanthropic Services

Perpetual is one of Australia’s largest managers of philanthropic funds, with $3.5 billion in funds under advice for charitable trusts and endowment funds (as at 30 June 2022). Perpetual is trustee for over 1000 charitable trusts and endowments and provides individuals and families with advice on establishing charitable foundations and structured giving programs. Each year Perpetual distributes more than $100 million to community organisations on behalf of its clients. Perpetual also assists charities and not-for-profit organisations with investment advice and management.

Marten Bequest recipient biographies

Eliza Scott (NSW) – Acting

An actor, musician, movement artist and theatre maker, Eliza Scott has worked on key mainstages across Sydney, while also running their own vibrant practice as an independent creator.

Recently, Eliza worked with acclaimed dance company, Force Majeure, to create and develop one-person production, Eugene, which premiered at NIDA in October. Eliza also had their professional mainstage debut with Sydney Theatre Company as both an actor and composer in The Tenant of Wildfell Hall: ‘Scott particularly impresses not just as both Mary and Milicent Hattersley, but as a live musician and vocalist’, SMH.

The scholarship will activate an intensive two-year period of research, study and professional development. Throughout 2023-24, Eliza will undertake an MA in devised theatre and performance at, Germany.

Dylan Phillips (SA) – Ballet

Dylan Phillips is a 21-year-old Australian physical artist deemed “one of the country’s strongest emerging artists” by Neil Armfield, former Artistic Director of the Adelaide Festival.

Dylan has worked as a professional acrobat with Australian contemporary circus company, Gravity & Other Myths for four years. At 17, Dylan was a key creator in the company’s Helpmann award winning work, Out of Chaos, and has since played an integral role in the development of recent works, The Pulse (Best Production – International Circus Awards) and The Mirror.

Dylan has toured globally and his latest work, SISSY, will premiere in the Czech Republic in May 2023.

The Marten Bequest scholarship will allow Dylan to accept an offer to attend a two-year full-time foundation degree at the Rambert School of Ballet and Contemporary Dance in the UK.

Victor Arul (VIC) – Instrumental Music

Victor Arul is a composer of instrumental music, having had his music played both internationally (United States, the Netherlands and Portugal) and around Australia. His music focuses on using acoustic instruments.

He has worked with individual artists, and groups including Ensemble Recherche, Line Upon Line Percussion, the Perth Orchestra Project, Tenth Muse Initiative, the Australian Youth Orchestra, Piñata Percussion, the University of Western Australia’s Wind and Symphony Orchestra’s and New Music Ensemble, and the University of Melbourne’s Symphony Orchestra.

He is a doctoral student at Harvard University, completing a PhD focusing on instrumental music composition. Victor’s aims for the scholarship are to compose and write new music as part of his research at Harvard University, specifically through the Harvard Group for New Music’s Residencies.

Jessie Nash (NSW) – Painting

An emerging artist, Jessie Nash graduated with a Bachelor of Fine Art (Painting) from the Queensland College of Art in 2015, and went on to complete a year of Masters of Fine Art at the National Art School the following year. While her work is primarily rooted in painting, she also works in drawing and moving image.

Alongside her practice, Jessie has worked in galleries and museums in arts administration (Museum of Contemporary Art, Sydney, Institute of Modern Art, Brisbane, and Australian Centre for Contemporary Art, Melbourne).

Jessie will use the Marten Bequest Scholarship to undertake a series of residencies, mentorships and exhibitions in the UK and United States.

Emily Stewart (NSW) – Poetry

Emily Stewart is an award-winning poet and literary editor. Her book Running time won the prestigious Helen Anne Bell Poetry Bequest.

Emily’s first book Knocks won the Noel Rowe Poetry Award, received a stand-out review in Cordite and was one of SMH’s books of the year.

Her writing is frequently taught in university courses, she recently co-edited an edition of Cordite Poetry Review (with Eloise Grills) and is currently guest-editing Australian Poetry Journal. From 2017—2020, Emily was poetry editor at Giramondo Publishing, where she commissioned books from leading national and international writers.

The scholarship will help support research and writing time for her next book.

Rafeif Ismail (WA) – Prose

An emerging award-winning multilingual storyteller, Rafeif Ismail arrived in Australia in 2003 as a refugee fleeing Sudan. Her practice includes poetry, prose, creative non-fiction, theatre and screenwriting. She has published works of fiction, creative non-fiction and poetry in national journals and anthologies, of which two were award-winning, several shortlisted and more longlisted for major prizes.

Deeply committed to creating diverse works, spaces and ethical storytelling, Rafeif is the current managing director of Djed Press and co-editor of Unlimited Futures: Speculative, Visionary Blak+Black Fiction (Fremantle Press & Djed Press, 2022).

Rafeif will use the scholarship to pursue a two-year self-directed development program, including time at a writer’s desk at The Centre for Stories (WA); an application to the 2023 Clarion West Writers Workshop in the USA; a formal mentorship; research trips in Australia, the UK and Egypt.

Jeremy Boulton (NSW) – Singing

Jeremy is an emerging operatic baritone. Having recently graduated from Sydney Conservatorium of Music (2022) and having won several merit scholarships, he travelled to Europe to audition for places in prestigious opera studios.

Prizes to date include: 1st Prize & Nicole Car Prize IFAC Handa Australian Singing Competition, 1st Prize Sydney International Song Prize, 2nd Prize Sydney Eisteddfod Opera Scholarship and 2nd Prize Joan Sutherland & Richard Bonynge Foundation Bel Canto Award.

Jeremy enjoyed early encouragement in his attempts to secure a position in a European studio for the 2023-24 opera season, with many auditions completed.

The scholarship will support his secured two-year period of study at the Opera Studio of the Staatstheater am Gärtnerplatz (Munich).

Dal Stivens Literary Award recipient biography

Jumaana Abdu (NSW) – The Long Supper

Jumaana Abdu is currently working on her debut novel, which was a finalist for the 2022 Ray Koppe/ASA Young Writer’s Fellowship. A junior medical doctor at a hospital in Southwestern Sydney, her interests lie in transposing the sensibilities of Islamic art into English literature, the psychic reverberations of amnesia and lost inheritance of people in diaspora (particularly from North Africa and Palestine), and the reductiveness of having to define one’s identity or translate one’s inner realm.

As a current Wheeler Centre Next Chapter fellow, she completed a writer’s residency at Varuna Writers’ House. Her work has been published in Kill Your Darlings, The Griffith Review, Overland, and The Sydney Morning Herald.

Jumaana’s short fiction piece, The Long Supper, explores the myriad consumptions of woman, as well as the inviolable refuge of her soul.

Kathleen Mitchell Literary Award recipient biography

Dylin Hardcastle (NSW) – A Language of Limbs

Dylin Hardcastle (they/them) is a trans author, artist and screenwriter.

They are the author of three critically acclaimed books, whose most recent novel, Below Deck has been published to critical acclaim in ten territories and has been translated into eight languages.

Their previous novel for young adults, Breathing Under Water (2016), was longlisted for national book awards and made lists such as Dymocks’ Best Books of 2016. Their memoir, Running Like China (2015), which they wrote at 19, was editor’s pick in The Sydney Morning Herald the week of its publication.

Their pilot for TV dramedy series, Fruit has been optioned and is in development. They are the co-creator, co-writer and co-director of the SBS On Demand show, Cloudy River, premiered at Mardi Gras Film Festival in 2020, was later acquired by SBS and has since been screened at and been nominated for awards at numerous film festivals around the world.

Their forthcoming novel A Language of Limbs has been optioned for TV adaptation and is in development. It features two, moving and beautiful parallel storylines.

Media enquiries:
Matt Fisher, Director Communications
Australia Council for the Arts
Phone: (02) 9215 9137