The inaugural Design NSW: Travelling Scholarship is a new award presented by the Powerhouse Museum and British Council with Arts NSW.
The first winner ‘ Matthew Huynh – was announced on 7 August at the official launch of Sydney Design 08. Huynh picked up $18,000 in prize money, used to fund an overseas sabbatical and develop his professional career.
Huynh, a designer of graphic novels and literary comic books (see his profile below), was thrilled to take out the award. He plans to take up the scholarship in November, attending a creative course in London, run by writers and artists who work in the industry.
‘There’s no formal support for the professional development of people who work with comics and graphic novels in Australia,’ Huynh says. ‘This award means I can get to the UK where literary comics are more embedded in the culture.’
The scholarship is an initiative of Arts NSW and is funded through the Visual Arts and Crafts Strategy, a partnership between the Australian and New South Wales Governments aimed at building and supporting a strong, sustainable and dynamic contemporary visual art, craft and design sector.
NSW Arts Minister Frank Sartor said: ‘This scholarship is an example of how the Iemma Government is working to nurture the creative industries in NSW and it offers emerging designers a great opportunity to take that next step in their professional development.’
The scholarship will take the Huynh to the UK, where the British Council will facilitate introductions to up to eight leading practitioners relevant to his field. The scholarship funds can also be used for additional, approved, professional development activities.
The scholarship is open to NSW designers within their first five years of professional practice, and open to designers working in the broad areas of product and communication design (including for the home, industry and the body).
There were four finalists selected from 32 entries (with each entrant submitting three projects). The finalists were Trent Jansen, Brad Stebbing, Sarah Gibson & Nicholas Karlovasitis (joint) and the winner, Matthew Huynh.
Entries were judged by a committee of industry leaders with the decision based on the ability and suitability of the proposed program of study/professional development. Designs were assessed on key criteria including: authenticity and innovation, practicality and performance, ecological impact and social responsibility, and market potential.
The judges were Karen McCartney (Editor, Inside Out); Joel Gethin Lewis (United Visual Artists); Martin Kornberger (Assoc Prof. Faculty of Business and Faculty of Design, Architecture and Building, UTS); and Marcus Trimble (Super Colossal).
Architect, Marcus Trimble says the judges were very impressed with the overall quality of the competition. ‘The four finalists stood out through their consistency of approach,’ he says. ‘We identified a clear intention through each of the entrants works and that was particularly evident with the winner.’
‘Matthew Huynh is Incredibly driven in the pursuit of the medium he’s chosen,’ Trimble continues. ‘He was by far the most passionate about his discipline and what he wants to achieve. He talked about using the scholarship to learn about the industry overseas and bring that knowledge back to Australia to encourage the development of a fledgling comic book industry which questions the identity of what Australian comic books might be.’