2021 Carstairs Prize increases to $10,000

Today NAVA announces the Carstairs Prize has been given a boost from $3,000 to $10,000 to support socially-engaged arts practice.

2020 Carstairs Prize recipient Shahmen Suku as Radha with guests Salvin Kumar, Geeta Nambiar and Bala Sugavanam at The Red Rattler for Episode 04 of Where You'd Radha Be. Photo by Chris Paraskevas.

Today NAVA announces the Carstairs Prize has been given a boost from $3,000 to $10,000 to support socially-engaged arts practice. We are delighted that the program for 2021 more than triples the award.

The Carstairs Prize aims to support socially-engaged art projects that embrace participatory and collaborative experiences, and bring participants into active dialogue with the artist(s) in order to involve audiences beyond the art community. The prize is intended to contribute to artwork production costs to assist the successful applicant(s) to develop and present new work. 

“We are thrilled to receive this generous increase in support from the Carstairs Prize donor,” said Penelope Benton, Executive Director of NAVA. “The ongoing necessary distancing measures have had a huge impact on the practices and incomes of many socially-engaged artists. At the same time, this crisis has highlighted just how fundamental and essential practices of connection, care and mutual exchange are for all of us.”

In recognition of the severe limitations in place due to public health orders and the challenges this poses, we welcome proposals that consider the digital and virtual space as a valid and essential arena for collaborative artistic endeavour. Proposals may, but are not required to, explore collaborative arts practice in a time of pandemic and physical distancing. 

Applications for the 2021 Carstairs Prize close on 17 October 2021. 1 x $10,000 scholarship will be awarded. To read the Terms and Conditions, view previous winners, and apply, visit visualarts.net.au/nava-grants

2020 Carstairs Prize winner and performance artist Shahmen Suku used the prize to develop and present a series of cooking show style videos featuring interviews with special guests from the New South Wales arts and culture scene. 

On receiving the prize Suku said, “I am absolutely honoured to be receiving the 2020 Carstairs Prize and grateful to NAVA and the Carstairs donor. This will allow me to push my ongoing work “Where You’d Radha Be” into a new iteration to include artists and creatives from diverse backgrounds. This will also allow me to support them while creating socially engaged videos as a platform for us to share our stories to create new connections through the art of making food.”

Named after the Carstairs, the prize drew its name from an intriguing and eccentric blend of writers, poets, painters, pianists, and illustrators who immigrated to Australia from Fife, Scotland in the 19th century.

The Carstairs Prize is funded by a private donor and administered by NAVA. Providing this kind of philanthropic support can be a source of great satisfaction in making a valuable contribution to supporting living Australian artists. For more information about how you can make a tax-exempt donation to set up a new program shaped to your ideas and named for your family, legacy or artistic focus, please contact NAVA via nava@visualarts.net.au.

Media enquiries:

Leya Reid
e: media@visualarts.net.au