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Jesse Austin-Stewart

Jesse Austin-Stewart’s Biography

Last Updated:
5/05/2022, 9:27 am
Sound Art
Arts Foundation Springboard 2022
I was born in Warkworth and spent most of my life growing up in Pirongia, in the rural Waikato, before moving to Te Whanganui-a-Tara. I am Pākehā, with my mum being a second-generation New Zealander. Her father immigrated from the Netherlands after the second world war. As with many Pākehā, I am fairly disconnected from my tūpuna and am in the early days of exploring my connection to the people and land that I whakapapa to.
“It’s a real honour to be recognised by the review panel and The Arts Foundation Te Tumu Toi through this award. To have my work seen as valuable beyond myself is always affirming. Upon completing my PhD, I am moving into an uncertain time financially, and this award not only will help to fund a range of artistic projects, but also aid my day-to-day living as an artist. I’m incredibly thankful to the donors of this award and want to express my immense gratitude. I also want to thank those who have supported and continue to support my art practice.”

This Springboard Award is gifted by the Todd Foundation

Jesse Austin-Stewart is a sound artist based in Te Whanganui a Tara, Aotearoa. He is an early-career emerging artist and is currently completing his PhD focusing on accessibility in spatial audio, looking particularly at barriers of finance, education, and disability and hearing.

As an active sound artist, Jesse has written works for contemporary dance and film, created performance art works and made installations, among other works which have been exhibited in New Zealand and abroad. As a producer and audio engineer, he has recorded work for short films, orchestra, solo artists and bands, small ensemble, opera, and various other configurations.

As a person with a disability, accessibility is core to Jesse’s work and artistic curation. His sound art practice sits primarily within spatial music, while often engaging in areas of performance art, dance composition, song writing, and music production. Throughout his practice inclusion is integral, particularly in relation to the financial and disability and hearing accessibility aspects of the projects he is a part of.

Jesse Austin-Stewart will be mentored by Pelenakeke Brown

Pelenakeke Brown: is an inter disciplinary artist, curator, and writer, Pelenakeke’s practice explores the intersections between disability cultural concepts and Sāmoan cultural concepts. Her work investigates sites of knowledge, and she uses technology, writing, poetry, and performance to explore these ideas. She has worked with The Metropolitan Museum of Art, Gibney Dance Center, The New York Library for the Performing Arts and other institutions globally. Selected residencies include Eyebeam, The Laundromat Project, and Dance/NYC.

Her work has been featured in Art in America and The New York Times. She was recognised in 2020 with a Creative New Zealand Pacific Toa award.

Statement from selection panel:

“Jesse Austin-Stewart brings a unique perspective to his work as a sound artist, composer and producer. His wide-ranging creative practice, currently focused on spatial audio, is inclusive and accessible, and reaches a broad audience, including d/Deaf and hard-of-hearing communities. As Jesse completes his doctoral study and begins life as a freelance artist, we are really excited to see what he will do with the support of a Springboard award."