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Otago set to host another amazing array of artists

Tuesday 27 September 2022 11:25am

artsmainThe University of Otago 2023 Arts Fellows (clockwise from top left) Kathryn van Beek, Ruth Paul, Daisy Sanders, Emily Hartley-Skudder and Sean Donnelly.

The arts have the power to inspire, heal, and even alarm, as the University of Otago’s 2023 Arts Fellows can all attest.

Division of Humanities Pro-Vice-Chancellor Professor Jessica Palmer is pleased to announce next year’s successful applicants:

The 2023 Robert Burns Fellow is Kathryn van Beek; Sean Donnelly is the Mozart Fellow for a second term; Daisy Sanders is the Caroline Plummer Fellow in Community Dance; Ruth Paul is the University of Otago College of Education Creative New Zealand Children’s Writer in Residence Fellow; and Emily Hartley-Skudder has received the Frances Hodgkins Fellowship.

Professor Palmer says each was selected from a very competitive field of applicants.

“The arts are an important tool to illuminate the world we live in. These fellowships are a vital link between the University and the arts community and I am thrilled we are able to support the exploration of important cultural and social issues and creative expression.

“I look forward to experiencing what each of these Fellows create over the coming year.”

The Fellows receive a stipend for between six months and one year and space at Otago’s Dunedin campus to pursue their creative projects. Past Fellows have created dance performances featuring local community members, orchestral compositions, poetry, novels and children’s books during their tenure.

kathrynportraitKathryn van Beek

The Robert Burns Fellow: Kathryn van Beek

The Dunedin-based multidisciplinary writer has published a collection of short stories, Pet, authored plays, written and illustrated children’s books, authored television and podcast series, and contributed to news media.

During the Fellowship she will work on a second collection of short stories, Delight.

“I hope to explore dark themes in fresh ways, drawing from the beauty and resilience of the natural world to leave readers with a sense of hope. Flawed human protagonists will share the pages with jewelled geckos, baby hedgehogs and mythical creatures.

“I’m looking forward to meeting the other Fellows, getting to know University staff and students, reading lots, and having ‘no required duties other than to write’. The Fellowship will give me the opportunity to experiment, dream, and play,” she says.

seanportraitSean Donnelly

Mozart Fellow: Sean Donnelly

Award-winning song writer, contemporary composer and studio producer, Sean Donnelly, has been appointed for a second term.

“Being the Mozart Fellow has been a very great privilege and I’m absolutely chuffed to be appointed again – it puts me in such a strong position to go out on a limb with some new and weird musical directions,” he says.

Under the nom-de-plume SJD he has released eight albums, frequently performs live, and has composed soundtracks for many of New Zealand’s leading film and television productions, across both traditional and experimental acoustic genres.

He will spend the year completing a new album, working in the electroacoustic medium, and further developing his already widely acknowledged profile as a songwriter.

“The year ahead looks incredibly exciting – firstly I’ll be finishing everything I didn’t complete in 2022, secondly I’ll be looking for some serious collabs for recording and live performances.”

daisyportraitDaisy Sanders

Caroline Plummer Fellowship in Community Dance: Daisy Sanders

The Perth-based dancer describes her style as uniquely rigorous and joyful. She works across disciplines and cities as an emerging arts leader, director, dramaturg, choreographer and performer in sensory theatre and dance.

“I feel warmly kindred to Caroline Plummer’s story due to my own experience of healing from illness through dance, and I aim to offer my utmost skill, deep community engagement and generosity of spirit in order to honour her legacy. I am deeply passionate about dance as a powerful connective force.

“I am most looking forward to meeting artists and students in Dunedin, and discovering how my somatic, choreographic and community building approach can offer them deep rest through dance. Community strength and rest are so urgent and deserved by us all in these challenging days.”

Her fellowship project – A Resting Mess – aims to bridge the gap between dance and health, with a focus on youth, mental wellbeing, and healing. The four-part series of research and community events will culminate in an interactive installation.

ruthportraitRuth Paul

University of Otago College of Education Creative New Zealand Children’s Writer in Residence: Ruth Paul

Ruth Paul is a published and award-winning children’s picture book author and illustrator of 30 titles.

The Wellington-based writer is “both thrilled and nervous” about the opportunity to come to Dunedin.

"For many years I’ve worked to deadline so I’m a bit wary of the creative ‘space’ the Fellowship will provide. I’m hoping I’ll love it – that perhaps my brain will be turned upside-down and something fresh will fall out. Fingers crossed," she says.

Her ambitious plan for the residency includes working on three picture book stories – The Farmer’s Pyjamas; You Can’t Pat a Fish; and Candy Rapper and the Flash Trash Crew – and developing a partially illustrated novel, informed by conservation areas in the Deep South.

emilyportraitEmily Hartley-Skudder

Frances Hodgkins Fellow: Emily Hartley-Skudder

In her short career, Emily Hartley-Skudder has established an impressive professional résumé of solo and group exhibitions in Aotearoa, China, Japan, Australia and throughout the United States.

Her artistic process begins with collecting objects and materials. The search for miniatures, toys and plastic receptacles has expanded into bathroom ceramics, carpets and snake-oil hygiene tools. She responds to these objects, arranging them as still lifes to be photographed and then translated into detailed oil paintings. These show-home installations explore the synthetic yet homely; the familiarly strange.

Currently residing in Wellington, she is “blown away” by the opportunity the Fellowship provides and is looking forward to exploring Ōtepoti, meeting local artists, and researching the city’s architecture – especially domestic dwellings – by delving into the Hocken Collections.

- - Kōrero by Ellie Rowley