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Otago Announces 2007 Arts Fellowships

Tuesday 14 November 2006

Otago Announces 2007 Arts Fellowships

A Dunedin composer of award-winning soundtracks, a North Island photographer who experiments with Victorian-era techniques, a local writer and an Australian choreographer are the recipients of 2007 Arts Fellowships at the University of Otago.

University Vice-Chancellor Professor David Skegg announced the Fellows at this afternoon’s University Council meeting.

Dunedin writer and freelance curator Laurence Fearnley is the 2007 Robert Burns Fellow. She will use her tenure to complete the final book in her trilogy of novels set in Southland and Central Otago. The book, set in Invercargill, will deal with issues of solo motherhood and poverty.

Laurence says she is delighted to receive the Fellowship.

“To join the amazing list of New Zealand writers who have held the fellowship is a fantastic honour,” she says.

Earlier this year, she was selected to spend a month at the Island of Residencies in Tasmania. In 2004, she was an Artists to the Antarctic Fellow where she gathered material for her most recently published novel, Degrees of Separation. Her second novel, Room, was shortlisted for the 2001 Montana New Zealand Book Awards.

The 2007 Frances Hodgkins Fellow is photographer Ben Cauchi. He was recently artist in residence at the Sarjeant Gallery’s Tylee Cottage in Wanganui. His distinctive body of work, using Victorian-era photographic processes, has established him as one of New Zealand’s most interesting photographic artists.

Ben plans to use the fellowship to create a new body of work continuing his experimentation with early techniques, such as the ambrotype. Ambrotype involves creating a glass negative, which appears as a positive when placed against a black background.

He says his work as a Fellow will draw on Dunedin’s rich tradition of photographic history.

“I’m particularly looking forward to seeing what the Hocken Collection might have to offer in terms of my research and am excited about where things might lead in the year to come.”

The 2007 Mozart Fellow is Neville Copland. A MusB (Hons) graduate of the University, in 1988 Neville began composing soundtracks for a range of television programmes, including many natural history documentaries such as the Wild South and Wild ASIA series.

His work has earned a gold medal at the Prix Leonardo in Italy and top honours at four New Zealand Film and Television Awards.

Neville says he feels honoured to become a Mozart Fellow.

“It will allow me to compose work of a more personal nature. I'm really looking forward to being able to explore musical ideas without the usual confines found in composing for commercial purposes.”

The 2007 Caroline Plummer Fellow is Katrina Rank, an Australian choreographer who has been commissioned to produce a number of works for communities with special needs. Katrina has worked in community dance since 1994. She gained her PhD from Deakin University in 2001.

Her Fellowship project, “My Body is an Etching”, involves developing a solo dance work for untrained older performers from the community. The dances will express their individual life histories through their movements.

Katrina says she is thrilled to be offered the Fellowship.

“It’s clear that New Zealand is a creative country and Dunedin is a very special place where dance and community are very connected. I had read several papers written by Caroline Plummer and felt that she and I had similar goals and ways of engaging with people through dance.

“We both believe that dance is something that we all need to do in some way. My ambition is to make dance that is accessible, interesting and enjoyable. My project for the Fellowship is about creating a solo dance that anyone can do and do well – with pride.”

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 thereof 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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