Churchill Fellowship

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Local artist gets the Gilbert Spottiswood Churchill Fellowship

A new cohort of passionate and motivated Australians will travel throughout the world in 2018 in search of new ideas, innovation and excellence as recipients of a prestigious Churchill Fellowship.   

With projects that disrupt and challenge the status quo, Gwen Knox is one of 109 passionate and motivated Australians who were announced on 28 September as the 2017 Churchill Fellows.

Gwen from Broome, Western Australia, is one of Australia’s leading Community artists and her passion for creating arts projects with post conflict communities is taking her global to explore new possibilities for Australia.

As a Churchill Fellow, Gwen hopes to find new and interesting ways to design and manage projects that give people from post conflict communities a voice.

Gwen will investigate best practice internationally, by travelling to Indonesia, Northern Ireland and England with the aim of bringing back knowledge for the benefit of Australia.

“My goal is to study the processes of a variety of theatre companies who specialise in telling community stories with a focus of puppetry.” Gwen said.

“I hope to apply what I find to my work with remote Indigenous communities in Australia.”

“I will be investigating new pathways and processes in making theatre works with post conflict communities that help open up opportunities to develop my practice and delivery in Australia.”

“Too many of people from remote Indigenous Australian communities still live under the poverty line and suffer the combined problems that come from such poverty. I will work with companies who work with people who are affected by the Increasing conflicts across the world that leads to increased numbers of refugees fleeing across borders. There are striking similarities in living conditions and social issues between refugee camps and those of remote Indigenous communities. “

“Increasing cuts to funding for organisations who work in the not for profit sector, makes theatre a more cost-effective way to give people in conflict communities a voice, helping articulate the issues that affect them, that will eventually help lead to improved opportunities in general.”

“My findings will help support advocacy for arts as a tool that helps people from conflict communities gain the tools that will help change their lot.”

“It is more than 52 years since the Churchill Fellowship was first awarded in honour of Sir Winston Churchill, however the projects that will be aided by his legacy are still, as he intended, firmly focussed on the future,” said CEO of the Churchill Trust, Mr Adam Davey.

“While our organisation and what it offers may be steeped in history, we are proud that it still remains extraordinarily relevant.

“This year, 109 people from a pool of 1140 applicants are being awarded Fellowships worth over
$2.8 million in total, fully funding their travel for up to 8 weeks,” said Mr Davey.

“We will be sending Fellows from all States and Territories of Australia around the world, to investigate everything from high energy batteries and milk pricing, to sustainable shoemaking and driverless cars.

“The key to becoming a Churchill Fellow is your passion and drive to make a difference in your community and a good project that will allow you to do just that.”

Churchill Fellowships have been awarded to 26 people from New South Wales, 21 from Victoria, 18 from Queensland, 13 from Western Australia, 8 from the Australian Capital Territory, 9 from South Australia, 7 from Tasmania and 7 from the Northern Territory.

“It has been very interesting to see the diversity of topics that have come through this year in the successful Fellowship applications. While some share similar topic areas no project is the same,” said Davey.

“It is an extremely exciting time for these deserving Australians, grasped the opportunity to apply for a Churchill Fellowship that will expand their knowledge for the benefit of our country,” Mr Davey said.

For more information about the Churchill Trust, including the work of Fellows, see www.churchilltrust.com.au

Background to The Winston Churchill Memorial Trust

The Winston Churchill Memorial Trust and the Churchill Fellowships were established after Sir Winston Churchill’s death in 1965, allowing Fellows to become his living legacy and inspire extraordinary thinking.

Since its inception over 52 years ago, the Churchill Trust has supported more than 4,200 Australians in identifying projects where overseas research will allow them to bring back vital networks and skills.

On 28 February 1965, just four weeks after the death of Sir Winston Churchill, the “Churchill Memorial Sunday” doorknock appeal was held across Australia.

The doorknock was to raise funds for an unusual type of memorial to Sir Winston – something like Rhodes Scholarships, but more egalitarian, and available to all people and on a much wider basis.

The concept, endorsed by Churchill before he died, was Fellowships, bearing his name, for ordinary people – providing a unique opportunity to travel, learn, and bring knowledge back to their country.

Such was the admiration and respect that Australian fighting men and women of World War II held for Churchill, that this became the greatest one-day doorknock in Australian history.

Funds collected from everyday Australians together with donations from Government and Australian companies totalled the princely sum of £2,206,000 P ($4,412,000).

That laid the foundation for an incredible opportunity – Fellowships offered annually, worth on average $26,000 each, made available to Australians who want to make a difference.