Arts Council of Wales | Creative Wales Awards 2015/16
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Creative Wales Awards 2015/16

This evening (Thursday, 10 December), 15 professional artists from across the arts disciplines will receive a Creative Wales Award from the Arts Council of Wales. The awards, presented at an event held at The Depot, Cardiff recognise the very best talent and potential of individual Welsh artists applying annually for this development opportunity. 10 Dec 2015

Creative Wales Awards 2015/16

Also awarded this evening is the Creative Wales Ambassadors Award. This is awarded following a nomination process and recognises particularly significant individual achievement in the arts. The Ambassadors Award is built around a specific project aimed at raising the profile of Welsh culture inside and outside of Wales.

This year Arts Council of Wales is delighted to award Owen Griffiths, receiving £25,000. Owen Griffiths is an artist and curator working in Swansea both as an individual and as part of a collective. He is a multi-disciplinary artist who explores the ways in which contemporary arts practice can evolve in new and innovative ways. His project, "Land Use", is rooted in the artist’s sense people and place. It explores, questions and celebrates creative land use within communities. The fascinating partnership between Owen and The Retort Network will provide the stimulus and the emotional connection that an international perspective can bring to a subject that is very close to this artist’s philosophy and vision. Links are to be made between the Californian based group and Oriel Davies who have nominated Owen as an Artist they want to work with in the future.

Professor Dai Smith, Chair, Arts Council of Wales, said:

"The Creative Wales Awards are amongst the most important and well‑regarded of the Arts Council of Wales’ funding programmes. The focus of the awards is the established artist who can already point to a record of achievement. From this starting point we encourage boldness and innovation. We are looking for projects that challenge the artist to grow and develop, using the period of the Award to support the practical and aesthetic development of their work. It provides one of those rare opportunities in an artist’s career to enable them to find genuinely new ways of creating and presenting their work. We can never be entirely sure in advance what direction the artists’ exploration will take, but time and again Creative Wales has shown that nothing is more exciting than investing in the creativity of those individuals who make art that delights and inspires."

Creative Wales Awards of up to £25,000 enable artists to take time to experiment, innovate, and take forward their work. The aim is to develop excellence by offering a period of research and development to some of Wales’ most interesting artists.

The recipients of the Creative Wales Awards 2015/16 are:

Melissa Appleton - £20,000

Melissa currently teaches at the Ruskin School of Art as a Visiting Lecturer and has taught at a number of institutions including Chelsea College of Arts and The Bartlett School of Architecture. The Creative Wales Award will allow Melissa to establish a studio space, located at the edge of the Brecon Beacons, in which to bring together specialists, collaborators and arts practitioners to work together on the development of her work.

Robert Bowman - £20,000

Robert is co-director of Living Pictures Production and is an Acting Teacher, Actor and Director. Aspects of Robert’s previous work have explored trauma and emotion through classic texts. His Creative Wales Award will discuss the sciences of Neurology, Biology and Physiology and their relation to learning, creativity and how a trauma might interrupt development. He will explore this knowledge through the mediums of his current theatre practice, theatre games and magic.

Edwin Burdis - £21,700

Edwin’s practice encompasses a wide range of media, including sculpture, painting, performance, sound and video. He will use his Award to create an artistic laboratory in the Heads of the Valleys area of South Wales.

Vanessa Cutler - £25,000

Vanessa is an artist, academic and consultant. She will use her Award to develop new approaches and techniques for working with glass, including the use of advanced technology.

Jony Easterby - £24,700

Jony has been creating events and installations, sound, sculpture, composition architecture and landscape designs for over twenty-five years. Jony will be using his Creative Wales grant to focus on a new area of his work using word, text, song and performance to develop new mediums of communication.

Jo Fong - £20,000

Jo Fong is a director, choreographer and performer working in dance, film, theatre and visual arts. Working with artists from a wide range of disciplines, this Creative Wales Award will allow Jo to build a creative team and nurture creative relationships with people who can influence and contribute to work she wants to create both now and in the future.

Rabab Ghazoul - £19,641

Rabab is a visual artist interested in exploring how performing and conversational techniques affect the way we negotiate the political landscape that surrounds us as we try to make sense of contemporary life. She will use her Award to explore festivals, conferences and trans-disciplinary platforms towards the creation of a new kind of grassroots people’s symposium of politics and culture, based in Cardiff.

Sam Hasler – £12,500

Sam is an artist working with writing, prints, performance, and installations. This Creative Wales Award will create opportunities for Sam to experiment with new ideas in his work with mentoring from some of the UK’s most important Curators, Artists and Publishers.

Paul Henry - £17,570

Paul Henry is a poet and songwriter from Aberystwyth. He will use his Award to work with a sound recordist, a songwriter and a scriptwriter to develop the music idiom of his voice inspired by the wild-life and people who inhabit the Monmouthshire & Brecon Canal.

Rauni Higson - £15,353

Rauni Higson is a silversmith based in a converted chapel in Snowdonia, where the dramatic scenery informs her work. Rauni’s Creative Wales Award will be used on research and development which, she hopes, will enable a powerful leap forward in her creative development and practice.

Angharad Lee - £17,212

Angharad is a freelance Theatre/Opera and Film director with a passion for Creative Learning and empowering young people. Angharad’s Award will culminate in collaboration with deaf artists to create a 10 minute Opera using British Sign Language as its libretto.

Mathilde Lopez-Norton - £20,000

Mathilde Lopez-Norton is a Theatre Director and was a founding member of National Theatre Wales. Her Award will develop her directing skills towards new territory – opera – enriching her current theatre work but also giving her the tools and means to find her own voice in Opera and Operetta.

Bethan Marlow - £19,980

Bethan trained as an actress at Webber Douglas Academy before discovering her life as a playwright. She will use her Award to enhance her knowledge of immersive theatre by experiencing processes currently used, nationally and internationally, to create theatrical productions where the audience has a role to play.

Mike Perry - £18,000

Mike Perry is a British Contemporary Photographic artist. His Creative Wales Award will explore conflicting ideas on how we manage our land in the context of climate change.

Gavin Porter - £12,831

Gavin Porter is a theatre maker, filmmaker, digital artist and producer. He is interested in exploring the role of the artist within the framework of theory of ‘The Third Industrial Revolution’.

As a part of research and development Gavin will create an artistic response that will be a way of reflecting on what he has learnt and experienced and enable him to develop his arts practice.

The Arts Council will also be making further awards this evening.

Recipients Sian Rees Astley and Lukasz Kubicki share the Brian Ross Memorial Award, used to encourage and support two graduating Fine Art degree students to develop their work and to further their careers.

Arts Council of Wales is also delighted to announce two new awards for the visual arts –the Creative Wales British School at Rome Fellowship and the Eirian Llwyd Memorial Award.

The British School at Rome is a centre of interdisciplinary research excellence in Italy supporting the full range of arts, humanities and social sciences. It is respected internationally for its Fine Arts residency programme for visual artists.

This Creative Wales Fellowship will allow us to support individuals to develop their work in a specific field, in a specific place, with the support and guidance of mentors and experts already working in this arena. The award this year goes to Kelly Best, who will undertake the Fellowship in Rome during October–December 2016.

Eirian Llwyd was a distinguished printmaker and founder of Y Lle Print Gwreiddiol. Her family inaugurated a Memorial Fund in her name to provide financial awards for new and upcoming Welsh or Wales-based artists who specialise in the medium of printmaking.

The award is made to one artist on an annual basis, who will receive up to £2,500 for one year’s study. The successful recipient of this award is Lea Sautin.

And last, but by no means least, this year’s Creative Wales Hay International Fellowship Award goes to writer Jay Griffiths.

David Alston, Arts Director, Arts Council of Wales said:

"This is the Arts Council of Wales’ opportunity to recognise some of the incredible talent Wales has, and to encourage its development at significant junctures in the artists’ career. Awardees take the brave decision to explore new ways of making their art, and what they learn can have a fundamental impact on their future work. A creative Wales depends on the imagination and inspiration of its artists, and whether at home or abroad the arts project the vibrancy of Welsh creativity on the world stage. "


For further information please contact Sian James on 029 2044 1344 or email

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