Artistic excellence defines 2017 Fellowships in NSW

Rhyan ClaphamMinister for the Arts Don Harwin has announced arts fellowships worth $510,000 for NSW artists to advance their careers. Twelve fellows have been awarded funding packages, each receiving between $30,000 and $50,000, as part of the Create NSW Arts Fellowships 2017.

Minister Harwin says the 2017 recipients are of the highest calibre. “The standard of competition for Fellowship applications across the state this year was fiercer than ever and I never envy the judging panel in making their decisions.” said the Minister.

“I am delighted to be able to reward such ambition to arts excellence in NSW and excited to see how their respective plans will inspire others, strengthen the reputation of arts in the state and give back to our wider cultural community.”

The following recipients of Priority Fellowships will each receive $50,000 to undertake self-directed programs of professional development:

Western Sydney Arts Fellowship:
Maria Tran is an exciting Australian-Vietnamese filmmaker from Western Sydney and one of many upcoming and innovative artists placing Western Sydney in an international context. Maria has had a significant career to date as an award-winning interdisciplinary performing artist, filmmaker and martial artist working across video, performance and action choreography.

Her work investigates Asian-Australian cultural identity, diaspora and gender roles in screen culture through action comedy in kung-fu suburban environments. She grew up in Western Sydney and her work is embedded within her community and in cultural development practice, solidified through her work with organisations Information and Cultural Exchange (ICE), Powerhouse Youth Theatre (PYT), C3 West and MCA.

She has worked as a Stunt Coordinator on the ABC series Tiger Cops and as Screen NSW Stunt Attachment for Jackie Chan’s Bleeding Steel among other roles.

NSW Artist with Disability Fellowship:
Sarah Houbolt is an international circus and physical theatre performer, arts manager and diversity advocate. She has worked in Accessing the Arts training development, on strategic projects and as an access consultant. Sarah competed at the 2000 Sydney Paralympic Games in swimming.

She is an accomplished international circus and physical theatre performer, specialising in aerials, acrobatics and hula hoops. In 2016 her freelance work included performing with Circus Oz, in Diverse City and Cirque Bijou and being invited to the Festival of Dangerous Ideas at Sydney Opera House with her presentation on the colonisation of disability art history.

The following recipients of Artform Fellowships will each receive $30,000 in funding:

NSW Performing Arts Fellowship (Emerging Artist):
Rhiannon Newton is a Sydney-based emerging choreographer with a focus on the ‘liveness’ of dance and processes of repetition, focusing on how a dancing spirit meets economies of production and authorship. Her work considers repetitions relation to the unpredictability of the body, its role in forming ‘dance’ and looks at how these formations might resist models that militarise, commercialise and capitalise the body and its dancing.

NSW Performing Arts/Music Fellowship (Mid-Career/Established Artist):
Cat Jones is an interdisciplinary artist, writer and researcher. She creates live, immersive, participatory artworks that manifest in diverse forms that are often accompanied by a body of research. Her works include live art, one-to-one performance, visual-tactile illusion, audio-visual installation, site-specific experiences, olfactive and edible art. Throughout her work, Cat collaborates and consults with interdisciplinary experts that have included neuroscientists, biologists, medical clinicians, perfumers, entomologists, psychologists and a molecular chef.

Peter Sculthorpe Music Fellowship (Emerging Composer):
Rhyan Clapham is a 23-year-old hip-hop artist and drummer with a Bachelor of Music from the University of NSW, and an Indigenous Studies Honours (focusing on Aboriginal hip-hop music). He proudly identifies as a Filipino and Aboriginal musician, and a member of the Murrawarri Republic in Brewarrina, NSW. From the age of seven, Rhyan studied classical piano and achieved AMEB Grade 6 and Grade 2 Musicianship before learning jazz drum kit from age 14.

To date he has performed as part of the Wollongong Conservatorium of Music in California, Nevada and San Francisco, for Kevin Hunt’s ‘Our Music’ concert at the Sydney Conservatorium, at the Yabun Festival, UNSW corporate and academic events, Koori Radio events and at numerous NAIDOC celebrations across Australia.

As a rapper and drummer for Sydney band Jackie Brown Jr, he has also performed at various events and festivals such as Wollombi Music Festival, Rabbits Eat Lettuce and Psyfari Festival. He currently facilitates hip-hop and drum workshops in Indigenous community centres such as NCIE Redfern, and at both primary and high schools throughout Sydney and rural NSW.

NSW Writer’s Fellowship:
Stephen Pham is a Vietnamese-Australian writer from Cabramatta. He is a member of the Sweatshop Writers Collective and has a Bachelor of Arts degree in English Literature and Creative Writing from the University of NSW. His work has appeared in Overland, The Lifted Brow, Seizure, The Vocal, and SBS Online and has also spoken on panels and performed readings at the Sydney Writers’ Festival, Sydney Festival, and the Melbourne Emerging Writers’ Festival.

NSW History Fellowship:
Minna Muhlen-Schulte has a background in museums, heritage and interpretation projects, and holds a Master of Public History from Monash University and a First-Class Honours degree from the University of NSW.

As a professional historian and project manager, she has developed substantial experience in consulting environments leading research, building interpretive frameworks and community engagement projects for government and private clients in NSW and Victoria.

Minna specialises in historical research and interpretive content development for a diverse range of formats including online heritage databases, websites, signage copywriting, ABC Radio National, exhibitions, landscape and architectural designs. In addition to her consulting experience Minna has authored and presented peer reviewed research as part of her Berry Family Fellowship into Victoria’s social history.

For more information, visit: for details.

Image: Recipient of the Peter Sculthorpe Music Fellowship – Rhyan Clapham