Ten artists from across Australia have been announced as the 2017 Sidney Myer Creative Fellows. The Fellowships recognise ‘outstanding talent and exceptional courage in mid-career artists’. Each Fellow is to be awarded a grant of $160,000 over two-years so that they can develop their creative practice without financial pressure.
We had a chat with one of the artists, Genevieve Clay-Smith…
Genevieve, from Newtown in Sydney, is a filmmaker, social entrepreneur and pioneer of inclusive filmmaking practices. Her films have been played all over the world and have won awards at Oscar qualifying film festivals. She and was named 2015 NSW young Australian of the year and is co-founder and CEO of Bus Stop Films, a charity that gives people from marginalised communities the chance to be a part of film making.
Why did you apply for the Fellowship?
A very amazing woman put me forward, she orchestrated the nomination with some other incredibly supportive and beautiful women. They knew about the journey I was on with Bus Stop and my inclusive films, and they wanted to support me, so I owe everything to them.
What will this mean in terms of where you take your filmmaking over the next few years?
I’ll be put in the position to scale my artistic work, scale the reach of Bus Stop Films’ accessible film studies program, as well as develop other filmmaking projects that I’ve been passionate about bringing to life. I’m also very passionate about developing and mentoring talent and this grant will enable me to invest time in helping to grow the careers of others.
What did you do when you found out you had been granted the Fellowship?
I received a phone call letting me know and I was a blubbering mess, I don’t think my response very comprehensive, but it was filled with grattitude! Then I told my husband and those who are nearest and dearest to me.
What are some of the barriers that independent artists face, and how might Fellowships like this help?
The cost of living is a big hurdle to overcome for any artist. A grant like this enables artists to practice and develop their work without financial pressures. It’s an amazing and very generous grant that is designed to invest in and develop Australia’s arts and culture. I’m extremely proud and honoured to have received it.
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