2002 Recipient - The University of Otago

The University of Otago was the first recipient of the Governors' Award, selected for its commitment to the Robert Burns, Frances Hodgkins and Mozart Fellowships.

Arts Foundation Governors acknowledge the significant impact the fellowships have on the arts community. The recipients of the fellowships are some of New Zealand's most notable and exciting artists. For many of the recipients the fellowships have been life changing.  In making the Award, the Governors also acknowledged the anonymous donors that established and have maintained the fellowships. This early example of patronage in New Zealand is highly admired by the Foundation.

Since receiving the Governors' Award, the University has established the Caroline Plummer Fellowship in Community Dance. It also offers the University of Otago College of Education/Creative New Zealand Children's Writer in Residence.The University of Otago contributes to the arts in a variety of ways, including providing support to the Southern Sinfonia, the Hocken Library, the weekly on-campus music and theatre performances, and the Otago University Press which publishes Landfall. The University of Otago also sponsors the Sheilah Winn Shakespeare Festival in secondary schools, organised by the Shakespeare Globe Centre New Zealand.

Otago University's award was presented by Arts Foundation Governor and playwright, Roger Hall in 2002.  Roger was awarded the Robert Burns Fellowship in 1977.  Roger told guests at the award ceremony that when he received the fellowship it was the only one offered in literature at a university in New Zealand.

"I was the 18th Fellow to have received the award, because the first Fellow had been appointed in 1959, Ian Cross. Also in 1977 Jeffrey Harris was the Frances Hodgkins Fellow for artists. Again, this was the only full-time fellowship for arts at this country's universities, and had been established in 1966, the first recipient being Michael Illingworth. That same year Gillian Bibby was the composer in residence as the university's Mozart Fellow. That particular fellowship had been running since 1970. 

"Whilst nowadays most universities support at least one fellowship, Otago was alone in doing so for many years, and it remains unique in that it is the only one to support music, art and literature. The funds for these fellowships were set up initially by a group of Dunedin citizens, who wished to remain anonymous. 

"For writers, artists and composers, those fellowships gave them recognition. It gave them the luxury of a decent salary for a year and in most cases a change in environment as they had to move to Dunedin to be able to accept it. Many moved to Dunedin for a year and then stayed on - one of the most notable being Ralph Hotere." 
- Roger Hall, Arts Foundation Governor and playwright.

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The Robert Burns Fellowship : Established in 1958 to commemorate the bicentenary of the birth of Robert Burns and to perpetuate appreciation of the valuable services rendered to the early settlement of Otago by the Burns family. The general purpose of the Fellowship is to encourage and promote the writings of imaginative New Zealand literature and to associate writers thereof with the University. (51 recipients to 2010). 
Recipients of Arts Foundation Awards who have benefited from the Robert Burns Fellowship are: Maurice Gee (1964); Janet Frame (1965); Ian Wedde (1972); Hone Tuwhare (1974); Witi Ihimaera (1975); Roger Hall (1977 and 1978) and Jo Randerson (2001).

The Frances Hodgkins Fellowship: Established in 1962 to encourage painters and sculptors in the practice and advancement of their art, to associate them with life in the University, and at the same time to foster an interest in the arts within the University. (43 recipients to 2010). 
Recipients of Arts Foundation Awards who have benefited from the Frances Hodgkins Fellowship are: Ralph Hotere (1969); Julia Morison (1988) and Shane Cotton (1998).

The Mozart Fellowship: Established in 1969 to aid and encourage composers of music in the practice and advancement of their art, to associate them with the life of the University, and at the same time to foster an interest in contemporary music within the University and in the community. (29 recipients to 2010).
A recipient of an Arts Foundation Award who has benefited from the Mozart Fellowship is Dame Gillian Whitehead (1992).

The Caroline Plummer Fellowship in Community Dance: The Caroline Plummer Fellowship in Community Dance was established in 2003 and honours Caroline Plummer (1978-2003). Caroline completed a Bachelor of Arts in Anthropology and a Diploma for Graduates in Dance, and was awarded the University of Otago Prestige Scholarship in Arts. What made her academic achievement most remarkable was she was diagnosed and treated for cancer during her study. The Fellowship acknowledges Caroline's outstanding scholarship at the University of Otago, her passion for dance, and her vision for community dance in New Zealand.

The University of Otago was founded in 1869, opening two years later with a staff of three professors. The University of Otago has now grown to a staff of around 4,000 with about 20,000 students. The University is renowned for its ground breaking research and the quality of its academic teaching.