2021 Australia Council Awards

About the awards

The 2021 Australia Council Awards was showcased in a series of online presentations each day, from Tuesday 20 April to Friday 30 April 2021. We invite all Australians to celebrate and share the stories of these extraordinary artists with us and your families and friends. Each of these artists in their own way reflect the vibrancy of Australia’s diverse cultural life.

‘Arts and creativity reflect who we are as a nation, helping us to see different perspectives and understand and connect across different experiences and cultures. They are crucial in understanding and shaping our sense of national identity.’
Adrian Collette AM, CEO, Australia Council.

The recipients of the 2021 Australia Council Awards are:

Join the celebration with the recipients of the Australia Council Awards in these short videos that recognise their incredible impact on the arts and beyond.

Watch the video

Award recipients

Meet the award recipients

Click on the ‘+’ to read the facilitator bio.

William Barton

William Barton

William Barton is a proud Kalkadunga man, a distinguished artist of extraordinary musicality and a virtuoso performer of the didgeridoo. He is also a renowned composer of the highest acclaim.

Arnold Zable

Arnold Zable

Arnold has worked in the USA, Papua New Guinea, China, and across Europe and Southeast Asia. In 1998 he worked with curators to produce the script for Victoria’s Immigration Museum. He is a university lecturer and can often be found at writers’ festivals across the country. 

Sue Healey

Sue Healey

Sue Healey moves seamlessly between dance, film and installation. She is an acknowledged pioneer of dance on screen. Her films are widely acclaimed and have won many awards, screening in over 30 countries.

Vivienne Binns OAM

Vivienne Binns OAM

Vivienne’s illustrious career as an Australian artist spans over sixty years where she has worked primarily as a painter. She has also continually experimented and, alongside her painting practice, has also embraced the mediums of printmaking, performance, sculpture and drawing. Vivienne has made an outstanding contribution to Australian art, particularly in regard to feminist art and community art. 

Cat Jones

Cat Jones

Cat is an artist, writer, director and curator whose work spans performance, text, image making, responsive technology, body illusion, olfaction and edible art. She has a particular interest in creating immersive, participatory and site-responsive works resulting in transformative experiences for audiences.

Mama Alto

Mama Alto

Mama Alto provides space for the trans community to tell stories with a focus on providing support and nurturing artists. She amplifies, celebrates and advocates for artists of colour to ensure the stages she works on are truly reflective.

Marianne Wobcke

Marianne Wobcke

Marianne speaks at national conferences and writes about this work in science and industry journals, sharing the role arts in community plays in holistic wellbeing.  Marianne Wobcke is the 2021 recipient of the Australia Council Ros Bower Award for Community Arts and Cultural Development.

Chelsea Mcguffin

Chelsea Mcguffin

Chelsea worked with Sally Forth (from Australian Dance Theatre and Circus Oz) and with Extra Bimbo, Tony’s Imaginary Circus, the Queensland Theatre Company and Rock N Roll Circus where she spent nine years working with Director Yaron Lifschitz. Together they recreated the company as CIRCA Contemporary Circus.