Arts-in-education advocate wins major award

7 November 2012

The Faculty of Education and Social Work's Professor Robyn Ewing is the recipient of the highly prestigious Lady Cutler Award for 2012 from the Children's Book Council of Australia, New South Wales Branch (CBCA NSW).

The award commemorates the contribution to the CBCA NSW by Lady Helen Cutler, the organisation's inaugural patron, who accepted the appointment in 1966, when her husband Sir Roden Cutler became Governor of NSW. Lady Cutler had an abiding interest in children and children's literature and she served as patron for 34 years until her death in 1990. The current patron of CBCA NSW is Professor Marie Bashir AC CVO, Governor of NSW and the University's outgoing Chancellor.

Professor Ewing is an alumna of the Faculty of Education and Social Work and Professor of Teacher Education and the Arts. A passionate advocate of the role of arts in education and learning, she has been active in numerous projects including School Drama in partnership with the Sydney Theatre Company, a scheme enhancing professional learning of primary teachers and the use of drama with literature to enhance students' literacy development. She is national president of the Australian Literacy Educators Association (ALEA) and vice president of the board of Sydney Story Factory.

Presented annually since 1981, the award recognises distinguished service to children's literature in NSW with particular recognition of service that goes beyond the recipient's profession. Previous recipients include Donna Rawlins, Maurice Saxby and Libby Gleeson AM.

Gleeson, who is a board member of the Australian Society of Authors says, "Robyn has a passionate belief in the role that the arts can play in the lives of children. In her professional life she is constantly advocating for quality children's literature in the curriculum. Practising and experienced teachers have their pedagogy transformed by her example in the classroom."

Professor Ewing said she was delighted and humbled to be the recipient of the Lady Cutler Award 2012. "It is an honour to be included in the 'pantheon' of so many I admire," she said.

The Dean of the Faculty of Education and Social Work, Professor Rob Tierney said it was outstanding that Professor Ewing had been recognised in this way by her peers in the literary community.

"Robyn has assured a significant and unique leadership role in advancing children's literature in our schools, communities and, especially, the faculty," he said.

The Lady Cutler Award will be presented to Professor Ewing by Eddie Coffey CEO of Peribo, Distributors of Fine Books and sponsor of the prize, at a dinner on Tuesday, November 13.