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Otago Announces 2008 Arts Fellows

Tuesday 13 November 2007

Otago Announces 2008 Arts Fellows

University Vice-Chancellor Professor David Skegg today announced the University of Otago’s 2008 Arts Fellows.

Dunedin poet and fiction writer Sue Wootton is the 2008 Robert Burns Fellow. She will use her tenure to produce a third collection of her poetry and her first collection of short stories.

Born in Wellington and brought up in Wellington and Wanganui, Ms Wootton moved to Dunedin in 1980 to study physiotherapy. She worked in Dunedin and Central Otago as a physiotherapist and later as an acupuncturist, before completing a Bachelor of Arts degree in English Literature at the University of Otago in 2003.

Ms Wootton says that, while she is in residence, her works will be influenced by several themes including place and landscape.

Auckland painter Heather Straka is the 2008 Frances Hodgkins Fellow. Ms Straka has a Master of Fine Arts degree from the Canterbury School of Fine Arts and a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree from Auckland University’s Elam School of Fine Arts.

She plans to work with the University’s Dunedin School of Medicine to progress a project looking at the history of dissection and the human body in the Renaissance.

The 2008 Mozart Fellow is Christopher Watson. Mr Watson is currently working part-time at the Centre for New Zealand Music on its SOUNZ Online project and, in December, will receive his PhD.

He plans to use the Fellowship to compose several works, including a duo for percussion and violin that will premiere in the Netherlands next year, a chamber opera based on the Wairau Affray (in which his Ngai Tahu ancestor Puaka was involved), a major new work for orchestra and a duo for flute and piano.

Mr Watson has a Bachelor of Music (Hons) degree and Master of Music (composition) degree from Victoria University.

The 2008 Caroline Plummer Fellow is former Dunedin resident Barbara Snook. Ms Snook is an independent dance education consultant, with a background as a high school dance teacher. She graduated in 1988 with a diploma of secondary teaching in drama and dance from the Brisbane College of Advanced Education (now Queensland University of Technology) and completed a Master of Fine Arts degree in dance in 1995. She was nominated for the Ausdance Awards for services to dance and education in 2005.

Ms Snook is currently chair of the Brisbane North Dance Panel. She recently launched her second book Dance for Senior Students, which concentrates on dance appreciation and choreography.

Having lost a mother, daughter and husband to cancer, Ms Snook plans to work on a project focused on the community around cancer suffers. It will encompass cancer sufferers, carers, medical practitioners, family members, cancer societies and friends.

About the Fellowships:

The Robert Burns Fellowship is New Zealand's premier literary residency. It was established in 1958 to commemorate the bicentenary of the birth of Robert Burns. The Fellowship aims to encourage imaginative New Zealand literature and to associate writers with the University. Past fellows include Janet Frame, Roger Hall, Keri Hulme, James K. Baxter, Maurice Shadbolt, Michael King, Owen Marshall, Ruth Dallas and James Norcliffe.

The Frances Hodgkins Fellowship, named after one of New Zealand's most recognised 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 and Shane Cotton.

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 later in their Fellowship year. Successful applicants include all of New Zealand's significant composers, including John Rimmer, Anthony Ritchie and Gillian Whitehead.

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 outstanding scholarship at the University of Otago, her 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.


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