Artists wanted for icy fellowship

John Kelly in Antarctica
John Kelly in Antarctica (Photo: Justin Chambers)

A rare opportunity to travel to the most remote and inspiring place on Earth is available through the 2015 Australian Antarctic Arts Fellowship.

The Australian Antarctic Division’s Fellowship opened today to applications from artists and humanities professionals.

The program aims to increase awareness and appreciation of the icy continent and the Australian Antarctic program.

For many previous participants it has been life changing, profoundly influencing their work for a number of years after the experience.

Author Jesse Blackadder used her Fellowship in 2011 to research an historical novel about Ingrid Christensen, the first woman to see Antarctica.

Ms Blackadder said the Fellowship opened a whole new professional pathway for her.

“I went to research my historical novel and returned with another identity as a writer of children’s fiction,” Ms Blackadder said.

During her Antarctic trip she collected wonderful material for a children’s book about Stay, the former guide dog coin collector which became the mascot of Australian Antarctic expeditioners after huskies were withdrawn from Australian research stations.

She has subsequently written other children’s stories about friendships between humans and animals.

Last year’s Arts Fellow, artist John Kelly, who also wrote a blog about his experiences in Antarctica, said the opportunity to write and create his art in Antarctica was a unique opportunity.

Since returning Mr Kelly, who lives in Ireland, has been preparing for a major exhibition of his Antarctic work in Tasmania next year.

The Fellowship, formerly known as the Antarctic Humanities program, has been running since 1985.

Previous Arts Fellows include writer Tom Griffiths, visual artist Stephen Eastaugh, sound artist Philip Samartzis, dancer Tina Evans and children’s authors Coral Tulloch and Alison Lester.

The Fellowship takes the form of either a ship voyage or flight to Antarctica and associated logistical support including food, accommodation and Antarctic clothing.

Applications, which close on 30 March 2015, can be submitted online.

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