Many UNSW staff and alumni have been awarded competitive Australia Council grants across a number of categories through the first round of the Australia Council’s new grants program.

The Australia Council received more than 1,700 applications from arts organisations, individuals and groups for projects and development grants in this expanded round, and 273 were funded to the tune of $1.7 million.

Successful UNSW Art & Design staff include Indigenous Programs Director Tess Allas, Dr Gay McDonald, Dr Clare Milledge and Dr Paul Thomas while Tully Arnot, Gordon Hookey, Frances Belle Parker, Tim Bruniges, Shoufay Derz, Janet Laurence, Alex Seton, Brook Andrew, Khaled Sabsabi, and Joni Taylor (New Landscapes Institute) are among our alumni who have been acknowledged by their peers as leaders in their fields of endeavour. 

Tess Allas is working with Campbelltown Arts Centre on a multidisciplinary, international exhibition commemorating the 200th anniversary of the massacre of Aboriginal people in the Appin region of South West Sydney (the image above is Freddie Timms' response to the massacre and will be included in the final exhibition). 

Titled With Secrecy and Despatch Allas' project will bring together a range of community of survivors, academic historians, local oral history-tellers, UNSW art students, key local community workers, and nationally and internationally recognised visual artists such as Vernon Ah Kee, Tony Albert, Julie Gough, Genevieve Grieves, Dale Harding and Frances Belle Parker. 

As part of With Secrecy and Despatch’s commemoration program, residencies will be scheduled with Australian and Canadian artists at Campbelltown Arts Centre and the Art & Design faculty. An MOU has been signed between CAC and UNSW A&D to provide studio space, expert staff advice and access to the faculty’s cutting edge digital media facilities. 

Allas’ successful grant application is part of the first response to the Australia Council’s new streamlined grants model and peer assessment processes, both the result of a two-year reform process and extensive consultation with the sector.  Allas only had good things to say about the new process, "The new grants model was much clearer and provided confidence in the assessment and decision making process.”

Dr Gay McDonald is collaborating with Dr Laura Fisher (Postdoctoral Research Fellow, Sydney College of the Arts) on Offshore Encounters: Curating Australian Art in Cross-Cultural Contexts. This study charts four decades of Australian curatorial practice in the international arena since the Whitlam era’s arts policy reforms. The study will cast fresh light on the way Australia embraced its multicultural composition and the creative and political vitality of its Indigenous cultures, and tempered its deference to Europe and the U.S. through engagement with its Asia-Pacific neighbours.