A photographer, a radio producer, a musician, a children’s author and two artists are this year’s Australian Antarctic Arts Fellows.

Dr Tony Press, Director of the Australian Antarctic Division, today announced that Victorians David Neilson, Margot Foster, Frances Evans and Alison Lester, and James and Janet Luxton from New South Wales were the successful candidates from a field of almost 30 for the Fellowships.

Photographer David Neilson from Emerald owns and runs Snowgum Press, has produced several coffee-table books and contributed to a wide range of books, magazines and calendars. He will leave Hobart in November on board the Antarctic research and resupply vessel Aurora Australis and spend several weeks at Australian stations Davis and Mawson.

Margot Foster is executive producer of the ABC’s Bush Telegraph program. Her project will include segments for radio broadcast and soundscapes for the Macquarie Island house at the Royal Tasmanian Botanical Gardens in Hobart.

Frances Evans plays multiple instruments and works with contemporary acts Scouthall, Los Surenos and The Oculus Trio on double bass and guitar. She also works as a composer and instrumental teacher at Geelong Grammar School in Melbourne and will use her Antarctic Fellowship to produce an audio-visual installation of found sounds, images, photographs and new musical works.

Alison Lester of Victoria is a children’s author and illustrator with more than 25 books to her credit. Alison will gather material for a book that will become part of a travelling educative project for school children throughout Australia.

James and Janet Luxton own and run a small gallery in Sydney. They plan to photograph and sketch Southern Ocean and Antarctic birdlife, the Antarctic landscape and shipboard and station resupply activities for exhibition.

Ms Foster, Ms Evans, Ms Lester and Mr and Mrs Luxton will travel to Macquarie Island and Casey stations on the Australian Antarctic Division’s final voyage south in February 2005.

“Antarctica is out of reach for most people and it can be difficult to fully understand Australia’s important research role, the magnitude of our responsibility there and our priority to ensure minimal environmental impact from our activities there. That’s why we place great store in our Antarctic Fellowship program,” Dr Press said.

“The Arts Fellows are among our best communicators and able to spread the word of what we do to corners of the community that might otherwise not get that information.

“I offer my warm congratulations to this season’s Fellows. They have survived a rigorous selection process and were chosen from a group of excellent candidates,” said Dr Press.


Australia seeks to promote its Antarctic activities in several ways.

The Fellowship program is open to people involved in the broader arts community including visual artists, musicians, journalists, film makers, writers, historians, researchers and teachers.

The Australian Antarctic Arts Fellowships provide berths on appropriate voyages for people to visit Antarctica for the duration of a voyage, or sometimes to stay at a station between voyages.

The program began in 1984/85. Since then around 80 people have taken part.