There are two prize categories for Arts Journalism Prizes in 2021: The June Andrews Award for Arts Journalism, supported by the Copyright Agency Cultural Fund and Facebook; and The Pascall Prize for Arts Criticism managed by The Walkley Foundation and supported by the Geraldine Pascall Foundation and the Copyright Agency Cultural Fund.
Entries for the 2021 Arts Journalism Prizes will open on Monday March 8.
Read all the winners of the 2020 Mid-Year Celebration of Journalism here.
All Media: The June Andrews Award for Arts Journalism
The 2020 winner of The June Andrews Award for Arts Journalism was Steve Dow.
This prize recognises a significant contribution in reporting, writing, news-breaking and analysis of arts issues. This may include profiles of artists, features and investigations, reporting on the structures and personalities involved in the creation of contemporary culture, and examination of the creative arena.
Entries in this category must be a single piece of work or a series of no more than three related reports. The prize is open to individuals or group entries up to three people.
- Winner: Steve Dow, Meanjin, The Saturday Paper and Guardian Australia “Stream Drama,” “Acts of Faith” and “A Buŋgul, a Procession, An Overnight Vigil”
Steve Dow is a Melbourne-born, Sydney-based arts writer, whose profiles, features, essays, previews and reviews appear in The Saturday Paper, Guardian Australia, Meanjin, The Monthly, Good Weekend, The Age and The Sydney Morning Herald Arts, Spectrum, Sunday Life, Limelight, Vault and Art Guide Australia. His career began with Syme Community Newspapers, and he has been a staff journalist with The Age, including long stints as a medical reporter and health editor. He believes the arts deserve a greater platform but are being willfully neglected by the Federal Government, and journalists have a role in demonstrating the arts are the stuff of life.
Judges’ comment: Steve Dow submitted an outstanding portfolio of arts journalism, showing impressive range and incisive investigative ability. Dow’s feature about the Australian screen industry in the age of streaming conveyed a complex policy dilemma with depth and precision, while his reportage of a G Yunupingu tribute concert explored sensitive cultural issues with tender, lyrical prose.
All Media: The Pascall Prize for Arts Criticism, managed by the Walkley Foundation
The Pascall Prize for Arts Criticism managed by The Walkley Foundation, supported by the Geraldine Pascall Foundation and the Copyright Agency, celebrates the unique contribution of critics to our cultural landscape, and the specialist, detailed knowledge they draw on to contextualise works of art.
The 2020 winner of The Pascall Prize for Arts Criticism was Mireille Juchau,
Criticism includes both reviews responding to the work itself, and deeper criticism placing work in the context of the artist’s oeuvre, specific genres and/or the current social/political/cultural landscape. Judges will consider critical thinking, balanced, rigorous argument and evaluation, depth of knowledge and ability to contextualise, and engaging, illuminating voices.
Entries in this category must be a single piece or up to three pieces of work showcasing a body of work. Open only to individual entrants
- Winner: Mireille Juchau, newyorker.com and The Monthly, “How Dreams Change Under Authoritarianism,” “Twilight Knowing: Jenny Offill’s Weather” and “Missing Witnesses: Valeria Luiselli’s Lost Children’s Archive”
Mireille Juchau is a novelist, essayist and critic. Her third novel, The World Without Us, was published internationally and won the 2016 Victorian Premier’s Literary Award. Her essays are widely published, most recently in newyorker.com, LA Review of Books, LitHub, The Monthly, Tablet and Best Australian Essays. She has a PhD in literature and has taught at universities and in the community. In 2018 Mireille was writer in residence at the Charles Perkins Centre, University of Sydney, researching her next novel on epigenetics and historical memory.
Judges’ comment: In a strong and diverse field of entries, Juchau stood out for her insightful contextualisation of the work, elegant storytelling and depth of research. The Sydney-based novelist and critic’s standout review revisited a 1966 book about dreaming in Nazi Germany and considered the ways authoritarian regimes – past and present – can impact the collective unconscious.
History of the Pascall Prize
The Pascall Prize for Arts Criticism has been Australia’s only major award for critical writing about the arts since 1988, when the inaugural prize was presented to David Malouf.
It celebrates the unique contribution of critics to our cultural landscape, and the specialist, detailed knowledge they draw upon to contextualise works of art. The award commemorates the flamboyant journalist and critic Geraldine Pascall, who worked for The Australian from 1970 until her sudden death in 1983.
The prize continues to reward engaging and illuminating voices, both new and established, whose work demonstrates critical thinking, eschews preconceptions, and which shows a balanced and considered treatment of the subject at hand.
The 2019 winner of the Pascall Prize for Arts Criticism was Jeff Sparrow, Sydney Review of Books, “A Place of Punishment: No Friend But the Mountains by Behrouz Boochani”.
The Pascall’s 26 past winners include Roger Covell, Andrew Ford, Bruce Elder and Robert Forster (music), Sandra Hall, Julie Rigg, Andrew Martin, Noel Purdon, Paul Byrnes and Evan Williams (film), Robert Nelson and Joanna Mendelssohn (art), Alison Croggon and John McCallum (theatre), Elizabeth Farrelly (built environment), Mark Mordue, James Bradley, Gerard Windsor, Geordie Williamson, Kerryn Goldsworthy, James Ley, Marion Halligan, Andrew Riemer and Peter Craven (books and literature), the late Alan Saunders (gastronomy) and Kate Hennessy.
Through the support of the Copyright Agency Cultural Fund we are thrilled to announce that in 2021, both the winner of the June Andrews Award for Arts Journalism and the winner of the Pascall Prize for Arts Criticism will receive $5000 in prize money.
The cost of entering for each category is $50 per submission, including GST. Entry is free for all MEAA members.
The judging criteria for both prize categories are as follows:
- Originality and insight
- Research and news-gathering skills
- Storytelling ability
- Accuracy and ethics
- Excellent use of the medium/media
- Knowledge of their given area
- Ability to convey a specialisation to a general audience and explore in-depth for a specialist audience
- Contextualisation of culture – both in terms of when/where works were created and when/where they’re being consumed (i.e. how does a work fit into a culture?)
Conditions of entry
Any person engaged in the practice of writing or broadcasting about the arts is eligible to enter the Arts Journalism Prizes. Entrants self-nominate and work must have been published or aired between April 27, 2020 through to April 26, 2021.
Work entered may relate to any aspect of the creative or performing arts. The word ‘arts’ is to be interpreted broadly so as to include, for example, journalism and criticism covering radio and television, photography, architecture, film, food and wine as well as literature, visual arts and performing arts.
All entrants must certify that the entry is their original work. Apart from standard sub-editorial/production treatment, submissions must adhere to the MEAA Code of Ethics in their preparation; undertake to abide by this Code of Ethics, and have complied with all copyright requirements.