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Applications for SAM’s 2017 Sidney Myer Fund Australian Ceramic Award (SMFACA) to Open

Entries for SAM’s (Shepparton Art Museum) 2017 Sidney Myer Fund Australian Ceramic Award (SMFACA) will open online Thursday 27 October 2016, with a $50,000 prize awarded to one of five shortlisted Australian artists.

The SMFACA has offered Australian audiences the opportunity to view the best contemporary ceramic art for over 12 years. With ceramics increasingly utilised by a number of emerging and established contemporary artists, as recent exhibitions such as the 2016 Adelaide Biennial reflected, the possibilities for the medium has significantly expanded. So too have the ideas and themes examined by the artists through this medium. 

SAM Director, Dr Rebecca Coates stated:

SAM is delighted to present the 2017 Sidney Myer Fund Australian Ceramic Award. Over the last few years, we have seen contemporary artists working with ceramics in new and exciting ways. We could even say there’s been a renaissance of sorts in the contemporary ceramics world – with artists taking risks, exploding perceptions of size and scale, challenging notions of the material, and all to engage with ideas that resonate with all of us living and making sense of our contemporary world. These artists are part of a long artistic tradition of Australian artists working in the ceramics medium. Each in their own way has explored the medium, extended and challenged our understanding of its possibilities, and along the way, created works that inspire, challenge, and intrigue.

We are extremely grateful for the ongoing support of the Sidney Myer Fund who have supported this significant national Award since its inception in 1991. Without such sustained philanthropic vision, contemporary artists working in the ceramics medium, our exhibition history, and SAM’s Collection would be the poorer.  

The 2017 Award will be judged by Jacqueline Doughty, Curatorial Manager, The Ian Potter Museum of Art The University of Melbourne; Jason Smith, Director, Geelong Art Gallery; and Dr Rebecca Coates, Director, Shepparton Art Museum.

The 2017 SMFACA exhibition will run from 17 June to 13 August 2017. Five shortlisted recipients will each receive a $2,000 stipend to produce a body of work for exhibition at SAM. Costs associated with the exhibition will be borne by the Art Museum, including freight and the production of a fully illustrated catalogue. Artists will work with the support of curatorial staff at SAM throughout the planning of their exhibitions.

There will be five months between the announcement of Award recipients and the delivery of works to SAM. One of the five shortlisted artists will be awarded a $50,000 acquisitive cash prize, and their work will enter the SAM Collection. The prize winning work will be announced at the official opening on Saturday 17 June 2017.

In 2015, Ramesh Mario Nithiyendran was awarded SAM’s 2015 SMFACA for his vibrant series of figures that explored identity, gender and various religious beliefs. Since then, he has continued to excite and challenge audiences in Australia and overseas with his exploration of global themes and expanded approach towards ceramics as a contemporary medium. Recent exhibitions have included Magic Object, 2016 Adelaide Biennial of Australian Art; Archipelago of Ramesh, 2016 Kuandu Biennale in Taipei, Taiwan; and Mud Men, National Gallery of Australia.

Hear about Ramesh Mario Nithiyendran’s SMFACA experience and his exhibition in 2015:


Applications open

Thursday 27 October 2016

Applications close

Wednesday 7 December 2016, 4pm (Eastern Daylight Savings Time)

Artists advised of selection

Friday 16 December 2016 (5 months to installation)

Exhibition Dates

Saturday 17 June to Sunday 13 August 2017

Exhibition Opening, prize announcement

Saturday 17 June 2017

Artworks despatched for return to artists

September 2017



For further information on how to apply, full terms and conditions and a history of the Award, please visit All applications for the Award are to be completed online by Wednesday 7 December 2016, 4pm (Eastern Daylight Savings Time).



Five architects shortlisted to develop Concept Designs for the new SAM Design competition

Five architectural teams have been chosen to develop concept designs for the new SAM design competition in Shepparton.

The architects are Denton Corker Marshall Pty Ltd, John Wardle Architects, Kerstin Thompson Architects, Lyons, and MvS Architects.

The architecture competition for a new SAM attracted 88 applications through Greater Shepparton City Council’s tendering process. The tender was the first stage of a two-stage competition endorsed by the Australian Institute of Architects to select an architectural design for the new museum.

A seven member jury assessed the applications and shortlisted to five. The seven member jury is a skills based board, with professionals drawn from the arts, architecture/design, academia, Indigenous architecture and related industries.

The judging was based on Design Approach (50%), Capability (30%) and Experience (20%). The Design Approach judged the quality and strength of the design team’s ideas, approach and strategy for the project.

The Experience criteria included the nominated design team’s skills, experience and qualifications and extent of involvement of the key personal.

The Capability criteria focused on the design team’s capacity and resources including their ability to deliver outstanding architecture and landscape design of similar scale and complexity; ability to achieve cost-effective solutions through excellent design; and the ability to work effectively with local government or similar clients and a range of stakeholders, and to coordinate consultant teams.

“In January 2017 we will put all five design concepts on public exhibition and will announce the winner of the competition in April 2017,” said Director Community Kaye Thomson.

“Each of the five architect teams will be provided with a more detailed brief and will be paid an honorarium of $7,000 to assist with the development of the concept design. The winning entry will receive a prize of $10,000.”


Denton Corker Marshall Pty Ltd

Denton Corker Marshall brings a wealth of experience and expertise and is an internationally recognised design practice earning its reputation for creative, distinctive and responsive design. It is a three times winner of the country’s most prestigious architectural award, the Sir Zelman Cowen Award for Public Buildings for Melbourne Exhibition Centre, Melbourne Museum and Anzac Hall Australian War Memorial Canberra.

Three times winner of the AIA International Architecture Award for Stonehenge Visitor Centre and Interpretative Museum, Australian Embassy Beijing and Manchester Civil Justice Centre UK. Also winner of multiple design awards for Brisbane South Bank Precinct and Grand Arbour and Webb Bridge in Melbourne. Other projects include Australian Pavillion, Venice Giardini della Biennale, Venice; redevelopment of the heritage Magill Estate buildings at Penfolds Magill Estate in South Australia and masterplanning concepts for Victoria’s Shipwreck Coast Interpretive Centre.

 John Wardle Architects

The John Wardle Architects (JWA) team is highly experienced and have twice been awarded the Sir Zelman Cowen Award for Public Building’s at the Royal Australian Institute of Architects National Architecture Awards. Many of projects have been for significant cultural institutions such as museums, botanic gardens, universities and national parks, while others have been part of urban developments.

Experience includes design for the Bruny Island Community Hall in Tasmania, Melbourne School of Design (creative hub for University of Melbourne), Australian Garden in Cranbourne, The Nigel Peck Centre for Melbourne Grammar School, The Hawke Building in Adelaide, Samstag Museum in Adelaide, Kaurna Building for UniSA and currently working for Major Projects Victoria to design and deliver the Tanderrum Bridge that will connect Birrarung Marr with Melbourne Park tennis precinct.

 Kerstin Thompson Architects

Kerstin Thompson Architects create immersive, restorative, innovative and meaningful places in which landscape, interior and architecture are uniquely integrated. Their work is defined by its clarity of approach and sensitivity to place. Most recent projects include redevelopment of Broadmeadows Town Hall, Victorian College of the Arts School of Art in Southbank, Marysville Police Station and Birralee Primary School.

Other projects include the Monash University Museum of Art and Ian Potter Sculpture Forecourt, Jewish Holocaust Centre, Sacred Heart Refurbishment Project at Abbotsford Convent, Sunbury Community Arts and Cultural Precinct Masterplan and Royal Botanic Gardens Cranbourne Visitor Centre.


A one team design alliance has been brought together comprising of Taylor Cullity Lethlean, Maudie Palmer and Greenaway Architects. This team has a wealth of skills, expertise and experience in the design of contemporary art galleries and museums, the design and delivery of local government and community projects and demonstrated capability to integrate art, architecture and landscape into a unique design response.

Lyons has current expertise in designing innovative multilevel building, including a new ‘vertical campus’ building for RMIT University in Melbourne and a recently completed ‘vertical community’ building for the City of Brimbank, The Housemuseum in Melbourne, Koori Heritage Trust in Federation Square, Yagan Square in Perth and a new Contemporary Art Museum in Melbourne’s East.

 MvS Architects

Lead by Jan van Schaik, MvS has experience in the designing of galleries and exhibition spaces including for diverse, valuable, sensitive and precious collections. They have designed and delivered projects with construction value of over $40million. They have a track record of designing unique and compelling award winning public buildings and public realm landscapes and have detailed and intimate knowledge of the ancestral and contemporary stories of the environs and diverse communities of the Greater Shepparton Area.

MvS Architects have designed Edithvale Wetlands Centre for Melbourne Water, Victorian College of Arts library and the central curriculum building, RMIT University Library at RMIT’s major Swanston Street building, redesigned Art Gallery of South Australia for “Parallel Collisions” in 2012 and redesigned Art Gallery of New South Wales of the “Franco and Amina Belgiorno-nettis and Family Contemporary Galleries.


25 October 2016 – Public announcement of five architect teams

28 October 2016 – Select design competition commences with five architect teams

14 December 2016 – Select design competition closes

16 January 2017 – Exhibition of five finalist designs for public comment

17 February 2017 – Exhibition closes

21 Feb – 18 April 2017 – Jury report, executive briefings, council briefings, council meeting

27 April 2017 – Public announcement of winner