Artists in residence

The Faculty of Education and Social Work's Artist-in-Residence (AiR) program engages the expertise of a renowned and practising artist with the faculty's staff, students and alumni and friends, as well as faculty partners and stakeholders, the University generally, and the wider community.

Each artist in residence is appointed from existing contacts and professional associates, including alumni and faculty honoraries. Each one excels in their chosen field, for example writing, painting, screenwriting, script writing, illustration or theatre production, and all are experienced communicators.

The AiR program attracts attention from media and creative industries, locally as well as nationally. In previous years, it has held events in partnership with the Sydney Writers’ Festival.

The program allows the faculty to foster a relationships with specialist artisans, providing a ‘space’ for creativity that engages the learning objectives of the faculty in an innovative way. It also showcases the work of the faculty's Arts and Creative Education Research Network and highlights the enormous potential in the work and partnerships of the research network.


2016 Semester Two Artist in Residence: Jeannie Baker

Jeannie BakerJeannie Baker is an artist, filmmaker, and author of a number of children's picture books, including Where the Forest meets the Sea and, most recently, Circle. Baker was born in Croydon, England and attended art college at Brighton Polytechnic before emigrating to Australia in 1975. Baker is known for her use of mixed media to create detailed and elaborate collages, she has developed a very individual style that is distinctly recognisable. These collages are considered works of art in themselves; a series of her collages created for each of her books have formed travelling exhibitions.

Baker's work focuses on a diverse range of issues including family, society, sustainability, the environment, car-free urban spaces, Australian outback and wildlife. Her most recent picture book, Circle, was published by Walker Books to great acclaim in 2016 and its illustrations form the basis of a touring exhibition, commencing its run at the National Maritime Museum in Sydney.

  • Picture books: Polar (1975), Grandfather (1977), Grandmother (1978), Millicent (1980), One Hungry Spider (1882), Home in the Sky (1984), Where the Forest Meets the Sea (1988), Window (1991), The Story of Rosy Dock (1995), The Hidden Forest (2000), Belonging (2004), Mirror (2010), Circle (2016)
  • Animated films: Where the Forest Meets the Sea (1988), The Story of Rosy Dock (1995).

Schedule of AiR events featuring Jeannie Baker

Date and timeDetailsVenue

Thursday
September 8
5–7.30pm

In Conversation with Professor Robyn Ewing

5–6.30pm: In Conversation
6.30–7.30pm: Reception

In Conversation: LT 351

Reception: Staff Common Room

Education Building A35

Thursday
September 15
4–5.30pm

Workshop: "A walk – the thinking process in creating a picture book"

Room 612
Education Building A35

Thursday
October 6
4–5.30pm

Workshop: "Collage as a Medium – Methods and potential materials"

Room 612
Education Building A35

Thursday
October 20
4–5.30pm

Workshop: "Presentation of Ideas, Discussion and Reflection"

Room 604
Education Building A35



2014 Semester Two Artists in Residence:
Simon French and Donna Rawlins

Simon FrenchSimon French was born in Paddington in 1957 and grew up in Sydney's outer western suburbs. Always a reader and a writer, Simon began composing his first chaptered story at age 12 at the start of his high-school life. Inspired by his real-life peers, and the teachers they variously loved and loathed, his story became, in time, his first children's novel: Hey Phantom Singlet, which was published in 1975 when Simon was in his final high-school year.

Since then, Simon has continued to write realistic fiction for 9–13 year olds. His back catalogue includes Cannily Cannily (1982), All We Know (1986), Change The Locks (1991), Where in the World (2001) and Other Brother (2013). He has collaborated with fellow 2014 faculty Artist in Residence Donna Rawlins on two picture books, Guess the Baby (2001) and What Will You Be? (2007). Two of his short stories, "Peace & Quiet" and "Promise" have been published in anthologies.

Over the years, Simon’s work has garnered him a number of awards, including Australian Children's Book of the Year in 1987 and the NSW Premier's Literary Award in 2002. His books have been published in Spanish, Catalan, French, German, Danish, Korean, Chinese and Japanese. In tandem with his writing, Simon has worked full time as a primary school teacher for more than 30 years, as well as nearly five years in a children's refuge. Donna and Simon have a seven-year-old son and live in the Hawkesbury region north-west of Sydney.

Donna RawlinsDonna Rawlins has spent her entire working life specialising in the creation of children's books. She has worked in the publishing industry as a book packager, commissioning editor, designer and art director, and is currently a senior designer and art director at Walker Books Australia. She has also illustrated many picture books, written by some of Australia's most celebrated children's writers such as Simon French, Margaret Wild, Morag Loh and Nadia Wheatley, as well as writing her own texts.

Donna has taught children's book illustration independently in Melbourne and Sydney and also with illustrator, Wayne Harris, where they have team-taught for Sydney University's Centre for Continuing Education for more than two decades. Donna continues to visit schools, running workshops for children and their teachers.

In addition to her two picture books with Simon French, Donna is best known for her picture books My Place (with Nadia Wheatley), The Kinder Hat and Tucking Mummy In (with Morag Loh), My Dearest Dinosaur, Robber Girl, Babs the Baby and Fog the Dog, and Seven More Sleeps (with Margaret Wild), Jeremy's Tail (with Duncan Ball), The Firefighters (with Sue Whiting) and her own titles, Digging to China and Big and Little. Her books have won a variety of awards including Children's Book of the Year — Younger Readers for My Place.

Schedule of AiR events featuring Simon French and Donna Rawlins

Date and timeDetailsVenue

Thursday
October 16
noon–2pm

Workshop: Creative Writing

Room 612
Education Building A35

Wednesday
October 22
5.30–7pm

In Conversation with Professor Robyn Ewing

Staff Common Room
Level 4, Education Building A35

Thursday
October 23
noon–2pm

Workshop: Creative Writing

Room 612
Education Building A35



2014 Semester One Artist in Residence: Ali Cobby Eckermann

Ali Cobby EckermannAli Cobby Eckermann, poet and writer, was born on Kaurna Country, and grew up on Ngadjuri country South Australia. She has travelled extensively and lived most of her adult life on Arrernte country, Jawoyn country and Larrakia country in the Northern Territory. Eckermann met her birth mother, Audrey, when she was in her 30s and learnt that her mob was Yankunytjatjara from north-west South Australia. Eckermann’s first book of poetry Little Bit Long Time was published by the Australian Poetry Centre as part of the New Poets series in 2009. Her poetry reflects her journey to reconnect with her Yankunytjatjara/Kokatha family. In 2011, her first verse novel, His Father’s Eyes was published, but her second verse novel, Ruby Moonlight, won the Kuril Dhagun Indigenous Writing Fellowship, which is part of the "black&write!" Indigenous editing and writing project hosted by the State Library of Queensland. The novel was then published in 2012 by Magabala Books, and won the Kenneth Slessor Prize for Poetry and was awarded the Book of the Year at the NSW Premier’s Literary Awards in 2013.

Schedule of AiR events featuring Ali Cobby Eckermann

Date and timeDetailsVenue

Monday
May 26
5.30–7pm

Seminar: words from the frontline

Common Room
Woolley Building A20

Wednesday
May 28
5.30–7pm

In Conversation with Dr Jeff McMullen

General Lecture Theatre 1
The Quadrangle A14



2013 Artist in Residence: Andrew Upton




2012 Artists in Residence: Nadia Wheatley and Ken Searle


  • Artist in residence

       Into the landscape: a conversation

    9 August 2012

    Artists in Residence Nadia Wheatley and Ken Searle explore landscape as a gateway to the imagination as they discuss their work with Professor Robyn Ewing.

  • Artist in residence

       Book launch: Five times dizzy 30th Anniversary

    14 November 2012

    The Faculty of Education and Social Work is delighted to invite you to a celebration of the 30th anniversary of our Artist-in-Residence Nadia Wheatley’s groundbreaking book, Five Times Dizzy and the launch of the new edition that includes the sequel, Dancing in the Anzac Deli.



2011 Artist in Residence: Libby Gleeson AM


  • Artist in residence

       Libby Gleeson's writing workshop

    13 September 2011

    Follow artist in residence, Libby Gleeson AM through a creative writing workshop for students, staff, alumni and friends. It can also be used as a guide to begin your own writing practice.