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Coveted University of Otago 2014 Arts Fellowships announced


Tuesday 10 September 2013 3:25pm

The University of Otago’s support of New Zealand’s multi-faceted arts community continues with today’s announcement of its 2014 Fellowships in literature, art, music, dance and children’s writing.

The Mozart Fellowship goes to Hamilton-based composer Jeremy Mayall; the Robert Burns Fellowship to Kapiti Coast poet Majella Cullinane; the Frances Hodgkins Fellowship to Auckland artist Patrick Lundberg; the Caroline Plummer Fellowship in Community Dance to West Auckland choreographer Louise Bryant; and Auckland novelist Melinda Szymanik will take up the position of University of Otago College of Education Creative New Zealand Children’s Writer in Residence.

In announcing the recipients of the coveted Fellowships, Vice-Chancellor Professor Harlene Hayne says, “Once again, it is the University’s privilege to offer a group of uniquely talented people the opportunity to immerse themselves in their work. By supporting these artists we enhance the University’s community and the nation’s cultural heritage.”

During their tenure, past holders of the Fellowships have not only produced stunning works within their own disciplines; they have also generously shared their abilities with the Dunedin public through exhibitions, performances, public workshops and guest appearances.

The Fellows receive a stipend for between six months and one year and space on campus to indulge in their creative projects.

Mozart Fellow

Mozart Fellow Jeremy Mayall says he is “completely thrilled” to be offered the one year position. “I am very honoured,” he says.

Jeremy-MayallJeremy Mayall

“As a composer with a young family, the benefits of having a full-time job for a year are great. Being able to focus on my composition and really spend some quality time working on my music, and still have time with my family, is such a great opportunity.”

Jeremy says his main interest lies in “writing music that exists between genres”. His compositions and performances include classical, jazz, blues, hip hop, funk, electronica styles, and more. He won first place in the Electroacoustic/Multimedia section of the 2012 Lilburn Composition Competition for ‘Tracking Forward’ for viola, electronics, video and backing track. His work has been released under a number of pseudonyms, most notably ‘One Fat Man’.

Currently finalising his PhD thesis in Music Composition at the University of Waikato, (supervised by the 1990 and 1991 Mozart Fellow Associate Professor Martin Lodge), Jeremy says he plans to use the 12 month Mozart Fellowship to write a new, larger scale orchestral work and a number of new chamber works continuing the cross-genre compositional focus he has been refining as part of his PhD studies.

“I would also like to explore possibilities of new multi-media collaborations with other members of the University of Otago,” he says.

Robert Burns Fellowship

Robert Burns Fellow Majella Cullinane couldn’t believe it when she took the phone call informing her of her success.

Majella-CullinaneMajella Cullinane

“I asked if she was sure she had the right person,” Majella says.

“It’s one of New Zealand’s most renowned writing residencies so it was a real surprise.”

Born and raised in Ireland, Majella became a New Zealand resident in 2008. She completed an MLitt. in Creative Writing at the University of St Andrews, Scotland, in 2006, and has won several awards for her poetry. She has also held Fellowship and Writer-in-Residence positions in Ireland and Scotland. In 2011, her first poetry collection Guarding The Flame was published in Ireland by Salmon Poetry, and in 2012 she was runner-up in the Landfall essay competition.

“I have two projects I’d like to work on next year,” Majella says.

“A second poetry collection and my first novel, set around the First World War and slightly after. The novel begins in Scotland, moves to Ireland and to the battle fields of Europe and features Dunedin as well. I’ll need the whole year to work on something so ambitious. I’m really looking forward to having so much time to write,” she says.

She will be travelling from Paekakariki to Dunedin with her partner Andrew and three year- old son Robbie to take up the Fellowship in February 2014.

Frances Hodgkins Fellow

Frances Hodgkins Fellow Patrick Lundberg says he was surprised to be offered the fellowship and delighted to accept.

Patrick-LundbergPatrick Lundberg

“It’s a prestigious Fellowship; I didn’t have any presumption I would get it,” he says.

“At the moment I work four days a week, so I’m definitely looking forward to a year as an artist full-time. This will be the first ever year I’ve been able to do this.”

Born in Sweden, Patrick arrived in New Zealand at six years of age. He graduated with a Bachelor of Fine Arts from the University of Auckland’s Elam School of Fine Arts in 2005. He also took part in the Guest Student Programme at the Royal Institute of Art in Stockholm, Sweden, over its 2011-12 academic year.

Since his first solo exhibition, A Cloud to the Back in 2006, Mr Lundberg has exhibited frequently in New Zealand, along with shows in Melbourne and Sweden.

“I usually work on several things at once – but in Dunedin I’m hoping to focus on one body of work, making paintings that I think of as games or instruments.

They consist of a set of objects, lacking in a guiding instruction or plan, which can be performed and re-performed both by myself and other people.

Patrick says he has been working on these pieces since early 2012.

His Points, planes, eddies, regresses exhibition at Wellington’s Robert Heald Gallery contained the first group of these works, while another more recent exhibition, Games at Ivan Anthony Gallery, Auckland, developed the work further.

Caroline Plummer Fellowship in Community Dance

Caroline Plummer Fellowship in Community Dance recipient Louise Potiki Bryant says she feels honoured and grateful to be chosen for the Fellowship.

Louise-Potiki-BryantLouise Potiki Bryant

“Caroline Plummer’s vision for this fellowship was very special, with a kaupapa that really resonates with me,” Louise says.

“It aims to ‘enable anyone with a talent and a passion for dance, to further develop their dance work; that it might inspire education, healing and peace in our community’.”
As an award-winning Māori choreographer, Louise has created works for the Atamira Dance Company, Curve and the Black Grace Dance Company and more. Of Ngāi Tahu descent, Louise grew up in Dunedin, obtained a degree in Māori Studies from the University of Otago, a degree in Performing and Screen Arts from Auckland’s Unitec, and in 2003 she was Ngāi Tahu Artist In Residence at the Otago Polytechnic.

“The dance project I’ve planned for the Fellowship is called ‘WHAKAAHUA – coming to form’. I aim to create and share resources about a dance practice I’ve developed, in collaboration with Te Ahukaramū Charles Royal, and inspired by the concept known as whakaahua.”

Louise adds that ‘Whakaahua’ is a central theme in the dance and haka of the traditional whare tapere – pre-European pā-based ‘houses’ of storytelling, dance, music, and games. It is the process by which a quality in the natural world emerges from deep within an individual dancer to eventually find its fullest expression in the performance of the haka or dance.

The project includes a series of wananga (workshops) at Ōtākou Marae on the Otago Peninsula, which will culminate in a whare tapere performance in June 2014, during the rising of the star Puaka and the star cluster Matariki. Louise also plans weekly Whakaahua and Nohopuku (meditation) classes, talks and workshops to be held at the University.

University of Otago College of Education/Creative New Zealand Children’s Writer in Residence

As the University of Otago College of Education/Creative New Zealand Children’s Writer in Residence, Melinda Szymanik wants to explore a slice of New Zealand history that has special personal relevance.

Melinda-SzymanikMelinda Szymanik

Melinda plans to develop an historical novel for nine to 13 year olds about the arrival of World War II Polish refugee children in Pahiatua in 1944.
“Next year is the 70th anniversary of the children’s arrival, so it’s a timely thing to write about,” she says.

The project follows publication of A Winter’s Day in 1939 (Scholastic 2013), Ms Szymanik’s fictionalised account of her father’s World War II experiences in eastern Europe after being displaced from his home in Poland as a 12 year old.

Melinda has been writing children’s fiction for some 14 years. She won the Children’s Choice Award at the 2009 NZ Post Children’s Book Awards with her picture book The Were-Nana (Scholastic 2008). She has twice been a finalist for the Joy Cowley Award (2003 and 2006) and was awarded a place on the New Zealand

Society of Author’s mentoring scheme in 2005/6, during which she completed her first novel Jack the Viking (Scholastic 2008).

“It will be quite a thrill to indulge just in the writing and the creativity,” she says.

“I normally work from home, run a business with my husband, and have three teenage children. So there is always something to distract me from my writing here.”

“It’s also very exciting to have the University recognise, acknowledge and support where I am in my writing career.” 

During her residency Melinda will utilise rent-free accommodation provided courtesy of the Robert Lord Trust.

For further information, contact:

Jeremy Mayall
Mozart Fellow 2014


Majella Cullinane
2014 Robert Burns Fellow


Patrick Lundberg
Frances Hodgkins Fellow 2014


Louise Potiki Bryant
Caroline Plummer Fellowship in Community Dance 2014


Melinda Szymanik
University of Otago College of Education/Creative New Zealand Children’s Writer in Residence 2014


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