Sidney Myer Creative Fellowships

Overview

First awarded in 2011, the Sidney Myer Creative Fellowships provide unrestricted grants of $160,000 tax free over two years to individual Australian artists, arts managers and thought leaders in the humanities. Specific outcomes for the Fellowships are not required.

The two criteria used to select Fellows are: outstanding talent and exceptional courage. Specifically, this talent and courage relates to the artistic practice of the Fellows and not to cases of personal hardship.

Nominations are welcome for artists and arts managers across the entire spectrum of the visual, performing, interdisciplinary, new media and literary arts. Consideration is also given to arts managers and thought leaders in the humanities. Applicants to the program may not self-nominate and must include two referees who are not the nominator.

The Fellowships are intended for artists in their ‘early mid-career’ – to be eligible, nominees must be in the first seven to fifteen years of their creative practice. They are also intended for artists who will primarily be resident in Australia for the two years of their Fellowship.

Selection Process

To qualify for a Sidney Myer Creative Fellowship, nominees must be an Australian citizen or permanent resident nominated by another individual (who is not a member of their family).

Nominations are reviewed by a national Peer Review Panel with consideration to two criteria: outstanding talent and exceptional courage. The Peer Review Panel will recommend the highest regarded nominations to the Trustees of the Sidney Myer Fund for endorsement.

Recent Awardees

2019 Sidney Myer Creative Fellows

The 2019 Sidney Myer Creative Fellowship Selection Panel: Andrew Myer AM (Chair), Clare Watson, Elizabeth Walsh, Genevieve Lacey, Jo Dyer, Tarun Nagesh and Amos Gebhardt.

In 2020, the COVID-19 emergency prompted the Sidney Myer Fund to redirect support from the 2020 Sidney Myer Creative Fellowship program to the National Assistance Program for the Arts in an effort to help support as many artists as possible through this difficult time. Hence, no Sidney Myer Creative Fellows were awarded in 2020.

Alisdair Macindoe

Alisdair Macindoe is an Australian dancer, sound designer and choreographer.

Angela Tiatia

Angela is a multidisciplinary artist working across moving image, performance, painting, photography, sculpture and installation. For the past 9 years, she has worked within multiple roles including: artist, director, producer, art director, activist and community educator. She is of Samoan and Australian heritage.

Ceridwen Dovey

Ceridwen Dovey is an award-winning Australian fiction writer and essayist. She is the author of several works of fiction (Blood Kin, Only the Animals, In the Garden of the Fugitives, and a forthcoming Audible Originals novel, Life After Truth), and two of non-fiction (On J.M. Coetzee: Writers on Writers and the forthcoming Inner Worlds Outer Spaces: The Working Lives of Others).

Emma Valente

Emma Valente is a freelance director, dramaturg, lighting designer and advocate for equity in the arts.

Lior Attar

Lior is one of Australia’s most treasured composer and performer, renowned for his beautiful voice and songs that radiate truth and sincerity.

Lydia Fairhall

Lydia is a festival curator, theatre and film producer, freelance writer, artistic director and singer/songwriter working across remote and urban communities.

Maxine Beneba Clarke

Maxine is a widely published Australian writer of Afro-Caribbean descent.

Natano Fa'anana

Natano has achieved international recognition through his work with the award-winning Polytoxic Theatre Company, as Co-creator and Performer in Briefs: All Male Review, and in his current role as Co-founder, Creative Director and Company Member of Casus.

Ramesh Mario Nithiyendran

Sri Lankan-born, Sydney-based contemporary artist Ramesh Mario Nithiyendran experiments with form and scale in the context of figurative sculpture to explore politics of sex, the monument, gender and religion.

FAQs

Fellows must be Australian Citizens or Permanent Residents of Australia.

The Fellowship grant is untied. Fellows can spend their grants as they see fit.

‘Years of practice’ relates to the work of an artist, arts manager or thought leader in their nominated form outside the context of tertiary training – this can be in a paid or unpaid capacity. Generally speaking, and for the purposes of this program, artistic or creative practice follows formal training. Where a nominee does not have formal training, the beginning of their practice is commonly marked by a significant recognition of the artist’s work and the artist’s vocational commitment to ongoing practice.

The Fellowships are intended to support the careers of originating artists and cultural leaders. Arts and cultural workers whose practice is primarily in education or therapy (for example, music therapy) are not deemed eligible for this program.

An artist who has exercised a number of roles within an art form is deemed to have a continuous practice within that art form. That is, a nominee whose art form is the visual arts, and whose post-tertiary career began in art making and subsequently shifted to art curation will be regarded as having a continuous practice in the visual arts. In calculating their years of practice, the nominee should combine these two periods.

An artist whose career commenced as an actor and who subsequently shifted their focus exclusively to stage direction would be regarded as having a continuous theatre practice. A dancer who has moved into choreography will be regarded as having a continuous dance practice.

The Sidney Myer Fund recognises that many artists (with or without training in traditionally recognised art forms) are working in borderlands and new territories less clearly defined as a single arts practice. The Fund welcomes nominations for these artists provided they include a detailed biographic narrative clearly delineating the nature and duration of the practice which they are being nominated for.

Fellows will receive their grants in tax-free yearly instalments of $80,000. Refer to the Australian Taxation Office’s Class Ruling declaring the Fellowships tax free for details.

Nine Creative Fellowships will be awarded in 2021.

On submitting the form, the nominator will receive a confirmation notice that it has been received. After the conclusion of the selection process nominators will receive a letter from the Fund advising them of the outcome.

We ask our Fellows to provide a brief written report at the end of year one and year two of the Fellowship.

2021 nominations open on 29 April 2021 and close at midnight AEST 20 June 2021.

2021 Fellowships will be announced in September.

The words ‘talent’ and ‘courage’ will mean different things to nominators in relation to their nominees depending on the nature of their practice and the context for this work. The nominator will need to identify what it is in relation to the nominee’s creative practice that most strongly distinguishes their outstanding talent and exceptional courage.

Please note, in the context of the Sidney Myer Creative Fellowships, courage relates to the nominee’s arts practice (commonly illustrated through artistic challenges, daring innovation, breaking new ground and redefining the possible) and not to surmounting personal hardships. Personal sacrifice may indeed be formative but it does not, for the purposes of the selection process, equate to creative courage.

Employment or otherwise will not be considered in the selection process. The Fellowship is not means tested, that is, a nominee’s financial status (or employment) will not be considered when awarding the grants. A Fellow is free to earn other income during the Fellowship.

Artists’ careers are not always linear, and the Fund recognises that there may be periods of time when the nominee has withdrawn from artistic practice. For instance, an individual may have practiced as a fine arts painter for three years, then worked as a production designer or props maker for ten years, then returned to their visual arts practice as a curator for the following six years. The period of continuous practice in the art form for which the nominee is being nominated (the visual arts) is the cumulative total of nine years, being three (painting) plus six (curation) over a nineteen-year period.

The question about art form relates to the art form in which the individual is nominated. These artforms include visual, performing and literary arts, digital and interdisciplinary arts, arts management and thought leadership. Nominees might be painters, sculptors, curators, dancers, choreographers, playwrights, actors, circus and physical theatre performers, comedy artists, dramaturges, producers, directors, musicians, composers, conductors, multi art form practitioners, digital artists, designers, animators, editors, curators, publishers and leading voices in the humanities. If you are nominating an individual whose practice is in the humanities, please answer the question most closely relating to their humanities practice (for example, ‘writer’). Profiles of current and past Fellows can be found on the Sidney Myer Fund website.

No more than five items can be submitted, including audio and visual files, support letters, and an artist CV of no more than two pages. Please note, as above, the CV should clearly corroborate the nominee’s biographic narrative in determining their years of practise. One support letter counts as one item of support material. One file type (for example, images or video or music files) counts as one item of support material. One page of testimonials or extracts from peer review counts as one item of support material. Support material should be carefully chosen and, where possible, should illustrate the nominator’s case for the artist’s talent and courage. Please ensure that all support material is clearly labelled with the nominee’s name.

Hyperlinks to sites such as Vimeo or other password protected sites should where possible use the standardised password: Fellowship21

2021 Recipients will be announced in September. A media release will be distributed and posted on the program website. Nominators will be contacted as soon as possible after this time.

Individuals must be nominated by a third party for a Fellowship.

Referees should be well regarded individuals who can best speak to the nominee’s achievements and potential. Referees cannot also be nominators for the same nominee.

Preferably, the nominator will be the person who can best speak to the nominee’s artistic or cultural practice in the arts and/or humanities. A nominee cannot self-nominate and cannot be nominated by a member of their family.

The final decision about who receives the Fellowships is made by the Sidney Myer Fund Trustees on the recommendation of a national Peer Review Panel. Respected arts and cultural leaders from around the country are invited to join the Panel each year – the Panel’s membership is continually evolving. The Panel is only made public at the conclusion of each year’s judging.