The 2017 Australia Council Award recipients are:
- Kate Grenville (NSW) – Australia Council Award for Lifetime Achievement in Literature
- Lyn Williams OAM (Qld) – Don Banks Music Award
- Stephen Page (NSW) – Australia Council Dance Award
- Madeleine Flynn (Vic)– Australia Council Emerging & Experimental Arts Award
- Susan Cohn (Vic) – Australia Council Visual Arts Award
- Rosemary Myers (SA) – Australia Council Theatre Award
- Steve Mayer-Miller (Qld) – Ros Bower Award (Community Arts and Cultural Development)
- Ali Kadhim (NSW) – Kirk Robson Award (Community Arts and Cultural Development)
Kate Grenville is one of Australia's most celebrated writers. Her most recent book, The Case Against Fragrance (2017), is an accessible and personal investigation into the science of scent and the power of the fragrance industry. She’s the author of the international best-seller The Secret River, which was shortlisted for the Booker Prize, adapted for stage and TV, and translated into some twenty languages. Her other books include One Life: My Mother's Story; The Idea of Perfection (winner of the Orange Prize); Sarah Thornhill and The Lieutenant. Kate lives in Sydney.
Lyn Williams OAM is Australia's leading director of choirs for young people. Her lifework as founder and Artistic Director of Gondwana Choirs begun 27 years ago with the creation of the Sydney Children’s Choir, aiming to be a world-class ensemble, capable of performing complex music at professional standard. The organisation now encompasses the Gondwana National Choirs and the Gondwana Indigenous Children’s Choir.
The choirs have toured national and internationally and have collaborated with many of the finest professional ensembles and performing artists in the country. Lyn is known for her ground breaking and innovative work. She has worked closely with many of Australia’s leading composers and has commissioned or premiered over 200 new works
Stephen Page is a descendant of the Nunukul people and the Munaldjali clan of the Yugambeh Nation from SE Queensland. In 1991 Stephen was appointed Artistic Director of Bangarra Dance Theatre and has developed a signature body of 23 works. Stephen continues to reinvent Indigenous story-telling both within Bangarra and through collaborations with other performing arts companies most notably directing the Indigenous sections for the 2000 Sydney Olympic Games Opening and Closing Ceremonies. In 2017 he celebrates his 26th year with the company, creating Bennelong – a work based on the life of Woollarawarre Bennelong, a senior man of the Eora Nation, from the Port Jackson area in Sydney.
Madeleine Flynn is an artist who creates unexpected situations for listening. She has a long term collaborative practice with Tim Humphrey. Her work is driven by a curiosity and questioning about listening in human culture and seeks to evolve and engage with new processes and audiences, through public and participative interventions. Her practice intertwines local, national and international relationships. Recently her work has been presented by ArtsHouse Melbourne; Substation Melbourne; Seoul Arts Festival, South Korea; New Vision Arts Festival, Hong Kong: AsiaTopa Melbourne; Brighton Festival UK; Theatre der Welt, Hamburg; Sonica Festival Glasgow. Her collaborative work, Weekly Ticket, which asks what if a public artwork was an artist? is now entering year two of a fifteen year run.
Susan Cohn is an artist jeweller, designer and curator based in Melbourne. She works across the art-craft-design divide using a variety of media from jewellery to installation, photography and video. Her work explores the typology of jewellery and the different terms on which it is valued. Cohn has exhibited extensively in Australia and internationally, and her work is held in major public and private collections. Cohn’s broad understanding of making and design has also enabled her to work as a designer for Alessi, as a curator for the Design Museum, London and as editor/writer for Rizzoli International Publications, New York. Cohn is the current artist trustee at the National Gallery of Victoria, Melbourne, and she is represented by Anna Schwartz Gallery, Melbourne.
Rosemary Myers is the Artistic Director at Windmill Theatre Co. Her productions with the company are regularly invited to theatres and festivals around Australia and the world. Previously she was the Artistic Director of the Out of the Box Festival, Melbourne University Union Theatre and Arena Theatre. She was a Creative Director for the opening ceremony of the 2006 Commonwealth Games. Recent career highlights include Pinocchio which won the Helpmann Award for Best New Australian Work, Windmill’s trilogy for teenagers: Fugitive, School Dance and Girl Asleep in the 2014 Adelaide Festival and her first feature film Girl Asleep for which she was nominated Best Director at the 2016 AACTA Awards.
Steve Mayer-Miller grew up in Manly in Sydney. He developed his passion for community arts working at the Cabramatta Migrant Centre in Sydney with newly arrived refugees. In 1988 he was awarded the National Sharing our Future multi cultural art award. He is currently the artistic director of Crossroad Arts in Mackay Queensland where for 20 years he has developed over 40 new works with the Indigenous and Australian South Sea Islander communities, seniors and people living with a disability.His international work has included the co-writing/directing of the play 'with Love' with Mallika Sarabhai which toured India in 2012. His play Melek mo Hani was published in 2014. For the past 5 years he has worked in Japan on a series of theatre, dance and film projects partnering with communities affected by the 2011 Great Earthquake and Tsunami.
Ali Kadhim is a movement coach, stunt performer and filmmaker. He grew up immersed in physical movement, learning martial arts from the age of 12 and discovering the existence of Parkour (the art of overcoming physical obstacles in one's environment) at age 15. He has been teaching the art to communities and students since 2006, and is the founder of ‘Team 9Lives’, a Fairfield based crew dedicated to movement and the growth of Parkour. Ali is also a self-taught filmmaker, what began as "just borrowing the high school camcorder to record himself and friends jumping and climbing" all eventually evolved into editing, writing and choreographing of all the movement, drama and action in his films. His short films have won awards and he is currently writing feature length screenplays while also continuing his movement training and coaching with students of all ages from across Sydney.