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Kate Matairavula, Sofya Gollan (mentor) and Sue Jo Wright stand close together outside, smiling

Successful Deaf artists residency

Montage showing the brown building at Bundanon and Sue Jo, Kate and Darlene at work

One of the residency studios, Sue and Darlene at work, Kate reading.

Three Deaf artists, Kate Matairavula, a playwriter, Darlene Thornton, a writer, and Sue Jo Wright, a photographer, have just returned from a week-long artist residency hosted in partnership by Accessible Arts and Bundanon Trust.

They were all successful in their applications to spend a week developing their artforms in the beautiful surroundings of the residency complex at Bundanon Trust. Three mentors who are also Deaf or hard of hearing were on hand to support them and advise on topics such as professional practice to how to access funding opportunities.

This was the first time Accessible Arts has worked with Bundanon Trust on a residency for Deaf artists, and it was a big success, according to Dr Riona Tindal, Deaf Arts Officer at Accessible Arts.

“Each artist went into the program with their own projects to develop. They came out of it confident, having spent invaluable time developing their project with no distractions and the direction and support of creative mentors.”

“The fact that the three mentors are deaf and hard of hearing means that this was a fully Deaf inclusive project with interpreter access, which was fantastic, and something we hope to encourage more of. Kate, Darlene and Sue each came away from the week feeling focused, energetic and confident with their projects,” said Riona.

The mentors were Luke King, (print maker, visual artist), Sofya Gollan (ScreenNSW, director, producer, actress and playwriter) Kate Disher-Quill (professional photographer). They were able to share their expertise and knowledge.

About Bundanon

Bundanon Trust supports arts practice and engagement with the arts through its residency, education, exhibition and performance programs.

Arthur and Yvonne Boyd opened the Bundanon Artist in Residence complex in 1998 as a gift to the Australian people. Their vision was to provide an inspirational haven for artists of every discipline and at all stages in their careers. We are excited to be working with the Trust to provide Deaf artists with this opportunity to pursue their work.

The Artists

Kate Matairavula - Playwright, Writer and PerformerKate Matairavula – Playwright, Writer and Performer

Kate began her theatrical journey as a child, performing in community productions with her father, an amateur actor and director. She later became a professional actor with Australian Theatre of the Deaf touring Australia and New Zealand. A Master of Arts (Theatre Studies) at UNSW led to writing for theatre and culminated in performances of There and Back produced by Australian Theatre of the Deaf in 2004 and 2005. She likes to explore themes of Deafhood, deaf identity, culture and language. During the residency, she drafted the plot of a play I Never Knew Her, which will be written to be performed in in Auslan and English.

Darlene Thornton, Writer and Deaf HistorianDarlene Thornton – Writer, Deaf Historian

As a third generation Deaf Australian, Darlene has been involved with teaching, training, researching and writing on Auslan, Auslan linguistics, Sign Language interpreting and Australian Deaf History for over 20 years. Her passion lies in both Auslan linguistics and Australian Deaf History – She enjoys the hunt and likes to explain how languages work. Darlene developed her writing repertoire during the Bundanon Residency, working on a writing project that will bring to life Australian Deaf History.

_SUEWRIGHT[1]Sue Jo Wright – Photographer

Sue founded Sydney Deaf and Hard of Hearing Photographers (SDHP) to continue her passion in photography and to support members of the Deaf community. She provides practical demonstrations and offers feedback on each participant’s work. Sue is passionate about introducing new topics and interpreting the works of other artists and photographers. She also leads Auslan Tours at the Art Gallery of NSW.

During the residency Sue worked on a personal photography project called Refuge from the Frustrations of the Hearing World.

Main photo: Kate Matairavula, Sofya Gollan (mentor) and Sue Jo Wright at Bundanon.


Bundanon Trust Logo