Australia Council Awards Categories

Australia Council Award for Lifetime Achievement in Literature acknowledges the achievements of eminent literary writers who have made an outstanding and sustained contribution to Australian literature. 

Past award recipients include:

  • Margaret Wild (2021)
  • Helen Garner (2019) 
  • Bruce Pascoe (2018)
  • Kate Grenville (2017)
  • David Malouf AO (2016)
  • Thomas Keneally AO (2015)
  • Frank Moorhouse AM (2013)
  • Herb Wharton (2012)

Image credit: Hillary Finch

2021 Recipient
Arnold Zable

Australia Council Don Banks Music Award is named in honour of Don Banks, a composer, performer and the first Chair of the Music Board. The Award acknowledges the achievements of a distinguished artist who has made an outstanding and sustained contribution to music in Australia. 

Past award recipients include:

  • Deborah Conway AM (2020)
  • David Bridie (2019)
  • Liza Lima (2018)
  • Lyn Williams OAM (2017)
  • Brett Dean (2016)
  • Archie Roach AM (2015)
  • Mike Nock (2014) 
  • Kev Carmody (2013)

Image credit: Keith Saunders.

2021 Recipient
William Barton 


Australia Council Award for Visual Arts acknowledges the achievements of an artist who has made an outstanding and sustained contribution to Australian visual art. 

Past award recipients include:

  • Brook Andrew (2020)
  • Susan Norrie (2019)
  • Pat Brassington (2018)
  • Susan Cohn (2017)
  • Richard Bell (2016)
  • Judy Watson (2015)
  • Fiona Foley (2014)
  • Tracey Moffatt (2012).

Image credit: image courtesy of the artist.

2021 Recipient
Vivienne Binns OAM 

Australia Council Award for Emerging & Experimental Arts acknowledges the achievements of an artist who has made an outstanding and sustained contribution to the practice of emerging and experimental art.

Past award recipients include:

  • r e a (2020)
  • Joyce Hinterding (2019)
  • Nigel Helyer (2018)
  • Madeleine Flynn (2017)
  • Kelli McCluskey (2016) 
  • Stelarc (2015).

Image credit: image courtesy of the artist.

2021 Recipient
Cat Jones 

Australia Council Award for Dance acknowledges the achievements of an artist who has made an outstanding and sustained contribution to Australian dance.

Past award recipients include: 

  • Michelle Ryan
  • Vicki Van Hout (2019) 
  • Phillip Adams (2018)
  • Stephen Page (2017)
  • Lucy Guerin (2016) 
  • Garry Stewart (2015).

Image credit: Wendell Todoro

2021 Recipient
Sue Healey 

Australia Council Award for Theatre acknowledges the achievements of an artist who has made an outstanding and sustained contribution to Australian theatre.

Past award recipients include: 

  • Tommy Murphy (2020)
  • Rachael Maza (2019)
  • Liz Jones AO (2018)
  • Rosemary Myers (2017)
  • Yaron Lifschitz (2016)
  • Bruce Gladwin (2015).

Image credit: Rob Blackburn.

2021 Recipient
Chelsea McGuffin 

Australia Council Ros Bower Award for Community Arts and Cultural Development is named in honour of Ros Bower, a journalist, television producer, community arts pioneer and founding Director of Council’s first Community Arts Board. The Award acknowledges the achievements of an artist or arts worker who has made an outstanding and sustained contribution to community arts and cultural development. 

Past award recipients include: 

  • Kath Duncan (2020)
  • Rhoda Roberts AO (2019)
  • Christian (Bong) Ramilo (2018)
  • Steve Mayer-Miller (2017)
  • Lily Shearer
  • Lockie McDonald
  • Steve Payne
  • Alissar Chidiac.

2021 Recipient
Marianne Wobcke 

Australia Council Kirk Robson Award for Community Arts and Cultural Development recognises a young artist or arts worker demonstrating outstanding leadership in community arts and cultural development (CACD). The award was established in honour of Kirk Robson who tragically died in a car crash in 2005. Kirk received the Council’s Young and Emerging Artists Initiative and was the Artistic Director of The Torch Project. The Award acknowledges the achievements of an artist or art worker:

  • 30 years of age or under (at the time of nomination)
  • who demonstrates outstanding leadership within the CACD sector

Past award recipients include: 

  • Autumn Skuthorpe (2020)
  • Fablice Manirakiza (2019) 
  • Edwin Kemp-Attrill (2018)
  • Nathan Stoneham
  • Shakthi Shakthidharan
  • Jade Lillie
  • Alexandra Kelly.

Image credit: Alexis Desaulniers-Lea.

2021 Recipient
Mama Alto

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