ACUADS Awards 2018

Posted on September 29, 2018

In 2018, ACUADS has continued to recognise and support early career academics, as well recognising the significant contributions made by distinguished academics in the sector. Awardees were announced as part of the 2018 ACUADS Conference held in Perth, Australia on the 27th and 28th of September.



  • Innovative Teaching Award, Ashley Burgess (Griffith)
  • Innovative Teaching Award, Prof. Paul Thomas (UNSW)
  • Innovative Teaching Award, Dr Jaime Tsai (NAS) 
  • Distinguished Teaching Award, Dr Leah King-Smith (QUT)
  • Distinguished Research Award, Prof. Barbara Bolt (VCA)


Innovative Teaching Award, Ashley Burgess, Griffith Film School, Griffith University

Mr Ashley Burgess has been awarded the 2018 ACUADS Innovative Teaching Award, for his outstanding innovation in the design, delivery and assessment strategy of his Outback Filmmaking Bootcamps (2203GFS/2721GFS). This course is an exceptional example of a student centred, practice-led approach to teaching where Ashley has developed, blended and advanced a number of sophisticated teaching methods to improve narrative storytelling, strengthen student capacity for cross-cultural appreciation and collaboration and increase students’ meaningful engagement with industry.

Innovative Teaching Award, Dr Jaime Tsai, Art History and Theory Department, The National Art School

The 2018 ACUADS Innovative Teaching Award is awarded to Dr Jaime Tsai, a lecturer in the Department of Art History and Theory at the National Art School (NAS). She has developed an innovative teaching methodology that links contemporary theory and practice by combining classroom learning with the curatorial and critical practice of an exhibition. This demonstrates how curatorial practice might unite the creative work of artists with the critical response of art writers. Furthermore, the exhibition provides material for student participation and assessment. Students are invited to engage with the logistic challenges of staging exhibitions, which contributes to their professional development. This method allows students to have an opportunity to test theoretical ideas in a real-world situation, and to engage directly with original works of art.

Innovative Teaching Award, Professor Paul Thomas, UNSW Art and Design

The Innovative Teaching Award has been awarded to Professor Paul Thomas. Paul arrived at UNSW Art & Design in 2010 where he designed a new course titled Experimental Arts (EA) 6101, showing innovation and leadership to align with UNSW’s Art & Design research centre the National Institute of Experimental Art (NIEA), which was new at the time. This was a strategic move to align Fine Arts pedagogical interests with NIEA and create a newly structured intensive course to become a model for future course development, affecting the current ethos of teaching.

Distinguished Teaching Award, Dr Leah King-Smith, School of Creative Practice, Visual Arts, QUT

Dr Leah King-Smith has been awarded the 2018 ACUADS Distinguished Teaching Award. Leah’s leadership in learning and teaching has been of immense benefit to both the Discipline of Visual Arts and the Creative Industries Faculty at QUT. Significantly, she has developed resources and lectures on Indigenous knowledges, creative practices and protocols for QUT’s innovative Cross-Faculty Indigenous Knowledges Minor through the unit OUB110 Am I Black Enough? Indigenous Australian Representations. Her work in the area of cultural competence has also had a formative influence on the recently redeveloped QUT Graduate Certificate in Academic Practice, which now has a focus on Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander knowledges and methodologies as its core curriculum, ensuring that indigenous perspectives and principles of cultural competence are introduced to all commencing academic staff.

Distinguished Research Award, Professor Barbara Bolt,VCA

The 2018 ACUADS Award for Distinguished Research has been awarded to Professor Barbara Bolt. Barbara is a practising artist and art theorist, who has twice been the Associate Dean Research at the Victorian College of the Arts and the Melbourne Conservatorium of Music (VCA & MCM), University of Melbourne. Prior to joining the University of Melbourne, she held academic positions at the University of Sunshine Coast, The Faculty of Architecture, Landscape Architecture and Fine Art at The University of Western Australia, and was Head of Art and Design at Kalgoorlie College in regional Western Australia. The extent of her reach is evident in the many invited and keynote lectures she has given. There would be few art and design students and academics that have not either attended one of these presentations or cited one of her publications, and many academics regularly refer research students to her written work for its relevance to emergent discourses – be it on ethics in the arts, or the new materialism, she is often the first to produce a publication that relates a complex topic with clarity and accessibility, as well as relevance to practice.