It’s that time of year again – Student Craft/Design Awards are open

Author: Sian Van Dyk, Curator, Programmes
The Friends of The Dowse Student Craft/Design Awards are up and running and this year the stakes are high with ECC Lighting and Furniture generously coming on board as our major sponsor.

Entries close on 4 August and you can find out more of the details here. We have already received our first wave of submissions, so don’t miss out.

Last year’s winner was Grace Kim with her work They Live in a Mirror (below) which went on to win the 2013 agIdeas NewStar prize (part of Melbourne’s agIdeas International Design Week). Grace won a two-week scholarship to be mentored by a leading international design master at a studio of her choice. Her work has also been exhibited in Melbourne.

2012 winner Grace Kim

2012 winner Grace Kim

This year, towards the end of August, The Dowse will be hosting a glitzy celebration of the 2013 winners, concurrent with the opening of the exhibition New Olds, which has come to us all the way from the Ifa in Germany, courtesy of The Goethe Institute. Like the Student Craft/Design Awards, New Olds celebrates excellence in creativity. To show just how excellent, we’ve asked a few of the former winners to share their stories. Over the coming months, I will be posting their profiles to show how the award can boost the careers of tertiary students, and recent graduates, in the creative arts.

First up, we have Genevieve Packer:

Genevieve Packer

Genevieve Packer

What is it that you do as a creative person?

I run my own business as a freelance textile designer-maker. This involves projects in galleries, my own product ranges including textiles, paper and jewellery, and services such as running workshops, freelance designing and commissions. I have even done the odd spot of textiles for film costumes, including a lengthy and fun stint on The Hobbit.

When did you receive your award?

I was honoured to receive the Student Craft/Design award in 2008 for a surface pattern design Aerial Antics I created as part of my masters. I had applied the pattern as an emboss to wallpaper, and through laser-cutting to acrylic canvas for light shades and blinds.

How did the Student Award help you as a designer?

The very generous award was a fantastic bonus, especially for a student whose work had already been created. With the award also came valuable recognition of the strength of my design outside of the course context, holding its own ground outside the confines of a brief and an institution. My wallpaper design subsequently went on to be picked up and commercially produced by Pacific Wall coverings as part of their Pasifika range.

What or has there been anything significant or important to you in being successful in pursuing your career in design up till today?

Being versatile, flexible, passionate and up for a challenge, being willing and able to apply my skills to a wide range of materials, processes and end outcomes.

Information that would be helpful for people considering applying for future Student Awards…

Do it! There are not many national awards (if any?) tailored specifically to students and recent graduates working in craft and design which allow for such broad interpretation. Especially if the work has already been created, not to enter is a huge wasted opportunity!

To see more of Genevieve’s work visit


Sian van Dyk, Curator Programmes & Events

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