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University of Otago announces Arts Fellows for 2017

Wednesday, 14 September 2016 12:40pm

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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,” University of Otago Vice-Chancellor Professor Harlene Hayne told the September University Council meeting.

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 Wellington, 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

Fellows Campbell Patterson image

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

Fellows Craig Cliff image

Craig’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

Fellows Chris Gendell image

Chris’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

Fellows Caroline Sutton-Clark image

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

Fellows Mere Whaanga image

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.”

About the Fellowships

Charles Brasch, the initiator of the Robert Burns Fellowship, once wrote, "Part of a university's proper business is to act as nurse to the arts, or, more exactly, to the imagination as it expresses itself in the arts and sciences. Imagination may flourish anywhere. But it should flourish as a matter of course in the University, for it is only through imaginative thinking that society grows, materially and intellectually,” (Landfall, March 1959).

The Robert Burns Fellowship is New Zealand's premier literary residency. The Fellowship was established in 1958 to commemorate the bi-centenary of the birth of Robert Burns, and it is designed to encourage imaginative New Zealand literature and to bring writers to the University. Past fellows include Janet Frame, Roger Hall, Keri Hulme, James K. Baxter, Maurice Shadbolt, Michael King, Ian Cross, Owen Marshall, Ruth Dallas, James Norcliffe, David Eggleton, Sarah Quigley and Sue Wootton.

The Frances Hodgkins Fellowship, named after one of New Zealand's most distinguished artists, was established in 1962 to aid and encourage painters, sculptors and other artists and to foster an interest in the arts in the University. Past winners include Ralph Hotere, Grahame Sydney, Marilynn Webb, Fiona Pardington, Shane Cotton and Heather Straka.

The Mozart Fellowship was established by the University of Otago in 1969. The purpose of the Fellowship is to aid and encourage composers and performers of music in the practice and advancement of their art, to associate them with the life of the University and to foster an interest in contemporary music. Mozart Fellows often produce a concert of their works during their Fellowship year. Successful applicants include many of New Zealand's significant composers, including John Rimmer, Anthony Ritchie, Gillian Whitehead and Christopher Watson.

The Caroline Plummer Fellowship in Community Dance was established in 2003 and honours Caroline Plummer (1978-2003). Caroline completed a Bachelor of Arts in Anthropology and a Diploma for Graduates in Dance, and was awarded the University of Otago Prestige Scholarship in Arts. The Fellowship acknowledges Caroline's passion for dance and her vision for community dance in New Zealand. It was made possible by a Memorial Trust set up by Caroline's parents.

The University of Otago College of Education/Creative New Zealand Children's Writer in Residence is the only residency for a children’s writer in New Zealand. Begun by the Dunedin College of Education in 1992, it allows writers to work full time in a compatible environment among colleagues who are concerned with the teaching of reading and literature to children. It is jointly funded by the University and Creative New Zealand. The annual residency is for a six month period between February and August, and includes an office within the College of Education. The residency is offered in association with the Robert Lord Writers’ Cottage Trust, which provides rent-free accommodation to writers in the historic Titan Street cottage bequeathed by the late playwright Robert Lord. Recent residents include Kyle Mewburn, Karen Trebilcock and Bill O’Brien.