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Tuesday 31 July 2018 8:53pm

Otago’s 2018 Arts Fellows (from left) Matthew Smith - Caroline Plummer Fellow in Community Dance, Rhian Gallagher - Robert Burns Fellow, Nicholas McBryde – Director, Arts Festival Dunedin, Louise Menzies - Frances Hodgkins Fellow, Dylan Lardelli - Mozart Fellow and Raymond Huber - University of Otago College of Education/Creative New Zealand Children's Writer in Residence. Photo: Graham Warman.

The annual "Meet the Fellows" event at the Dunedin Public Art Gallery over the weekend gave a record audience of 100 members of the public an opportunity to meet, and ask questions of, the five talented 2018 University of Otago Arts Fellows.

Arts Festival Dunedin Director Nicholas McBryde chaired a fascinating discussion ranging from exploring the Fellows’ early years and their creative inspirations, to knowing when a work was actually “finished”.

The Fellows were enthusiastic in their praise of the unique opportunity their University of Otago Fellowships give them to have both the time and space to develop their individual artistic pursuits.

Mozart Fellow Dylan Lardelli explained how an interest in things he didn’t understand, and languages he didn’t know, plus the influence of composer Jack Body and time spent in Japan, China and Korea, prompted his excitement of learning about the world and language.

Rhian Gallagher, Robert Burns Fellow, outlined some of her early challenges at school, then the excitement of learning to read and her first attempts at writing poetry. Her current project is focused on the history of Seacliff Asylum in relation to Irish migrants.

Louise Menzies, Frances Hodgkins Fellow, talked about the way images attach themselves to us, and the wide range of influences she has for her work including film, performances and even making her own paper.

When questioned, Children’s Writer in Residence Raymond Huber joked about the “10-year old boy inside him” that he still writes for. He added that from his teaching background, he also understood the power of books in the classroom.

Examining the “experiential and the unknown” was one of the joys of creating dance for the Caroline Plummer fellow in Community Dance, Matthew Smith.

Following the event attendees were able to continue their discussions as they mixed and mingled with the Fellows, enjoying an afternoon tea with cupcakes and macaroons.

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