Top Arts achiever wins Prime Minister's Asia Award

12 November 2010

Indonesian studies PhD student, Siobhan Campbell, has received top honours as winner of the Prime Minister's Australia Asia Endeavour Award.

In recognition of the nation's 'best and brightest' university students, only 40 people are awarded the scholarship Australia-wide.

Nationally, twenty postgraduate and twenty undergraduates are awarded the scholarship, which funds their travel, tuition and living expenses at an institution overseas.

The award aims to shape the scholars and professionals of tomorrow through international study, research, and an internship or work placement.

Campbell will receive a scholarship of $63,500 to subsidise up to a year's research at Udayana Univeristy in Dempasar, Bali.

The scholarship will give Campbell the chance to conduct field research in Kamasan in Southeast Bali while completing her PhD project, 'Collecting Balinese Art: the Forge Collection of Balinese Art at the Australian Museum'.

Campbell will interview Balinese artists and unearth how their paintings were collected in the hopes of documenting Indonesian artistic heritage and its impacts today.

"Bali is familiar to most Australians, but many are unaware of the breadth of cultural practice or see beyond media representations," she said.

She hopes her research will "stimulate a greater interest in the culture of Indonesia" through engaging people with Balinese art and its journey from village artist to museum.

"The collection is not simply a historical repository but is part of the living culture of Bali.

"This [project] will demonstrate the potential of a collection in an Australian institution to explore contemporary Balinese views of an important tradition and show how collecting art has contributed to ongoing cultural exchange between the two countries."

The outcomes of this research will be incorporated into a web database of the paintings and information surveyed, created with the help of the University of Sydney's Archaeological Computing Laboratory (ACL).

Campbell looks forward to her year abroad as a chance to gain specialist ethnographic research skills and first-hand cultural knowledge to assist in her teaching role as tutor of Indonesian Studies at the University of Sydney.

She also hopes the contacts and skills gained during her scholarship will allow her to propose a new exhibition of the celebrated Anthony Forge Collection of Balinese paintings to the Australian Museum.

"Naturally I am very honoured to receive the award," she said.

This is the second year in a row that a PhD student from Indonesian studies has received the Prime Minister's Australia Asia Endeavour award.

Fellow University of Sydney Arts/Law undergraduate, Glenn Kembrey, also achieved an undergraduate Prime Minister's Australia Asia Endeavour Award, and will travel to Kobe University in Japan.

Winners of the Endeavour Award will attend an Awards presentation dinner in Canberra from 22-23 November in preparation for their departure.

For more information about the "Collecting Balinese Art: the Forge Collection of Balinese Paintings at the Australian Museum" project, visit the Australian Museum website.

Contact: Emily Jones

Phone: 02 9351 2209

Email: 352f0e1a1c6c2c17340716181252350257357e340a46462f2c