Prestigious University of Otago Arts Fellowships announced

Prestigious University of Otago Arts Fellowships announced

The University of Otago’s coveted Arts Fellowships for 2018 have been announced.

Otago's Pro-Vice-Chancellor Humanities, Professor Tony Ballantyne named the five Fellowship recipients yesterday.

The Frances Hodgkins Fellow is Louise Menzies from Auckland, the Robert Burns Fellow is Rhian Gallagher from Dunedin, the Mozart Fellow is Dylan Lardelli from Auckland, the Caroline Plummer Fellow in Community Dance is Matthew Smith from Auckland, and the Creative NZ University of Otago College of Education Children’s Writer in Residence is Raymond Huber from Dunedin. Professor Ballantyne is delighted with the outstanding calibre of this group of fellows who will take up their fellowships in 2018.

'These Fellows are working at the forefront of their respective creative fields; they have each been selected from a very strong group of applicants,' Professor Ballantyne says.

'Our Arts Fellowships are very important to the University because they are vital to our links with the arts community. Through their work and presence on campus they enable new conversations around the ways in which these creative disciplines illuminate the world that we live in.

'It is always exciting to look forward to the coming year and the music, words, images and performances that these Fellows create.'

The Fellows receive a stipend for between six months and one year, and space on campus to indulge in their creative projects. Past Fellows have created dance performances, orchestral compositions, poetry, novels and children’s books during this time.

The fellowships have produced many luminaries over the years, including writers Janet Frame, Keri Hulme, James K Baxter, Michael King and Maurice Shadbolt, artists Ralph Hotere and Grahame Sydney, and many of New Zealand's leading composers, dancers and children’s book writers.

Here are the bios of the two literary fellowships:

Robert Burns Fellow 2018

Rhian Gallagher

Rhian Gallagher’s work is a moving blend of unique perspectives and poetic craft that creates subtly haunting effects.

Her first book of poems Salt Water Creek, published in London, was shortlisted for the 2003 Forward Prize for First Collection.  In New Zealand, she won a Canterbury History Foundation Award in 2007, and wrote Feeling for Daylight: The Photographs of Jack Adamson, a non-fiction biography published by the South Canterbury Museum.  She won the New Zealand Post Book Award for Poetry in 2012 for her second poetry collection, Shift

In 2016, Gallagher collaborated with artist Lynn Taylor and Otakou Press printer-in-residence Sarah Smith to publish poems on the life and activities of Freda Du Faur (1882–1935), the first woman to climb Aoraki/Mount Cook. 

She described the Burns Fellowship as an expansive, generous opportunity and a real honour. 'In terms of creative space it is like moving from the backyard to a wide open plateau. Anything could happen! The Fellowship is also an opportunity for conversation and exchange within the humanities and, in this, it exudes possibility. It doesn’t involve a relocation for me but it is a completely new mindset.'

She will primarily be writing poetry. 'One aspect of the work is focussed on the early history of the Seacliff Asylum in relation to Irish migrants. I’m looking to develop a series of letter poems.'

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

Raymond Huber

Raymond Huber is an author and freelance editor, with a wealth of experience as a teacher, editor, and a writer of fiction and non-fiction. He has received numerous awards and shortlisting in prestigious Children’s Book Awards, nationally and internationally. He has a story in the Te Papa children’s book Curioseum (2014) and won the McGonagall poetry prize in 2005. 

At the core of his productivity is Raymond’s ability to merge a love of children’s literature with science. His children's novels, Sting and Wings, are science-based fantasy; his picture books, Flight of the Honey Bee and Gecko, are published internationally; and Peace Warriors is a YA book about non-violent resistance. Raymond has also written many educational workbooks, school readers and radio plays.

Raymond lives with author/publisher Penelope Todd on the Otago Peninsula; they have three children and two grandsons.

'I'm very grateful for this Fellowship – what a privilege to be able to devote six months to imagination and writing in a place where people value reading and literature. I’ll be working on a children's book about trees; celebrating the science of trees and telling the stories of people who loved trees.'