T he 2023 UKARIA residency has been awarded to accomplished composer Kevin March. His work will develop a re-imagined fusion of art song and modern multi-media (photography) and (video/lighting) evoking the power of individual and collective transformations we have undergone to find meaning.

The UKARIA residency is delivered by the Australia Council in partnership with UKARIA, and this year will support the development of March’s award-winning project, The Unknown Swimmer.

The Unknown Swimmer will be a 30-minute multi-media song-cycle/theatrical work for soprano/speaker, chamber ensemble and digital environments, based on selections from soprano/poet Judith Dodsworth’s anthology of the same name. The autobiographical work depicts Dodsworth’s own profound transformation as she ventures into cold-water swimming to recover from a serious mental health crisis experienced during Covid restrictions and reconnects to her creativity as a response to adversity.

March said the mix would be a unique and valuable addition to Australian art music, bringing together Dodsworth, flautist Laila Engle, cellist Campbell Banks and percussionist Dr Louise Devenish, with digital environments by award-winning photographer Jason Reekie, and video/lighting design by Justin Gardam.

"It is both an honor and a privilege to be awarded a UKARIA residency. The Unknown Swimmer is a project that is close to the hearts of the creative team, and I can’t wait for the time we’ll have together at UKARIA to experiment with and refine the piece,” Kevin March said.

“Ideas that result in successful collaborations need time and space to gestate and evolve and be tested, to grow into something beyond what any one of us may have been able to produce alone. The UKARIA residency gives my collaborators and me exactly that: time to think, space to experiment, and room to refine. My fellow artists and I are grateful for the opportunity this residency affords.”

Opened in 2015, UKARIA provides a unique regional setting, only 30 minutes from Adelaide, for exceptional musicians and composers to think, develop, collaborate and create. The opportunity supports residencies of up to ten days at the cultural centre and provides financial support for the creation of new work.

For further information, visit australiacouncil.gov.au


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