Scot MacDonald
11th Oct 2017

Minister for the Arts Don Harwin and Parliamentary Secretary for the Hunter Scot MacDonald MLC today announced that young Hunter artist Sophie Aked will receive $10,000 to undertake a professional development program.

Ms Aked of Cooks Hill received the money from the first of two funding rounds from the NSW Government’s 2017/2018 Create NSW Young Regional Artist Scholarship initiative.

Ms Aked will develop her songwriting skills by travelling to London to undertake poetry tuition and attend world-class music industry festivals and conference events in the UK and Europe.

Each year, the Young Regional Artist Scholarship initiative rewards 25 artists aged 18-25 across the state, with the initiative covering all art forms – from dance, design, digital arts, history, Aboriginal arts, literature, music, theatre, screen and curatorial to the visual arts.

Mr MacDonald said that this fund goes a great way to professionalising young Hunter artists.

“I congratulate Miss Aked on this honour and look forward to seeing what exciting creative work it leads to.”

The selected nine artists from the first round span a diverse range of artforms including circus, music, film, theatre and the visual arts.

Minister for the Arts Don Harwin said that supporting young talent is a priority as part of the NSW Arts and Cultural Policy Framework, Create in NSW, which guides strategy, investment and partnerships to grow a thriving, globally-connected arts and cultural sector.

“Supporting our young emerging artists is vital step in building a stronger, richer and more diverse arts and cultural offering both here in the Hunter and across NSW, and we are always delighted to find such an incredible group of artists that we can help at the start of their artistic journey.

“This Scholarship offers truly once-in-a-lifetime professional development opportunities that cross both international and national boundaries. We’ve seen from previous recipients just what is possible from the funding, so I’m excited and confident that we will hear much more from our artists for years to come.”

For further information on arts, screen and cultural funding, including targeted support opportunities, visit or email

Scot MacDonald | 02 9230 2393