Re-building is a set of four case studies published in the Annual Grants Report 2022, highlighting the vital role of individual artists in the Australian arts and cultural landscape.
We caught up with several past Cultural Trust grantees, asking them to reflect on how the professional development experience gained through their grant has led to increasing knowledge, developing access and opportunities, and improving the workplace culture of their fellow artists, thereby further enriching the Australian arts ecosystem.
A glass artist and educator, Keith Dougall’s practice encompasses slumped, fused, cast, blown, hot-formed and woven glass techniques to create works for exhibition and the architectural environment.
Alongside his creative practice, his passion for the medium has seen him champion access to the often elusive and inaccessible art form.
In 2009, Keith established the Poatina Glass Studio in partnership with Fusion Australia, a facility for glass art in the village of Poatina, Tasmania. Following its establishment, Keith led efforts to secure support and funding for a new purpose-built facility where the Poatina Glass Studio now resides within the Alethea Mountain Retreat Arts Centre. A goal many years in the making, the purpose-built facility addresses a significant need for glass studio access within the state.
“I love sharing my experience and skills and helping glass become accessible to people of all ages and types – attempting to remove the barriers that people often feel. I’m passionate about supporting artists, including young and emerging artists, to work with glass by cultivating a sense of opportunity and support through the studio and the community that has formed around it.”
The Poatina Glass Studio is considered Tasmania’s premier hot glass teaching facility, offering studio access and workshops for glass artists, schools, and the public.
In 2013, Keith received a Cultural Trust grant to participate in the class ‘Liberation with a Ladle: Resin- Bonded Sandcasting, Sculpture’ at Pilchuck Glass School, USA.
“My experience of Pilchuck Glass School in general has been extremely formative in establishing the Poatina Glass Studio. The techniques, teaching methods and creative ethos I learned there continue to influence and inspire my artistic and educational practice today.”
Keith’s artistic practice is now focused on creating significant public or architectural glass works for specific settings, seeking to reflect and capture the dignity, meaning and purpose of the community and individuals who inhabit them.
Keith has recently completed a major suspended public artwork and community engagement project entitled ‘Catching Your Breath’ for the reception area of Royal Hobart Hospital.
“This work comprises seven large ‘bundles of breath’, each a stainless-steel net holding organically shaped blown glass bubbles containing the breath (and hopes) of over 300 individuals from the hospital community.”