Centre for Stories is pleased to announce that Creative Director Robert Wood has won a Westpac Social Change Fellowship. Valued at $50,000 the national prize is awarded by the Westpac Foundation to 10 Scholars each year with 3 being awarded to residents of Western Australia for 2021. Robert will use his scholarship to improve his leadership and governance skills. This will be through mentoring with Noongar Elders, coaching with a number of corporate bodies, and a study tour of Singapore (subject to travel circumstances).
When asked to explain why the Fellowship was significant, Robert said:
This is a reflection of the Centre for Stories community and recent growth. It represents newfound respect for literature, the arts and beyond, especially with how we can have a social impact for our most vulnerable. That includes refugees, culturally and linguistically diverse people, those with disabilities, LGTBQIA+ youth, regional people, and many others who we have worked with. For me personally, it is an opportunity to learn from the best in our city, nation and region; and to grow in unexpected ways. As a Creative Director, I am hopeful I can bring new insights to my fellow recipients as well.
Westpac started the Social Change Fellowships to respond to pressing issues Australia faces, and in Robert’s cohort, people work in education, sustainability, trauma, health, and disability services. The aim is to provide support for individuals to lead their organisations as they scale up and make greater impact.
For Centre for Stories, it adds to a number of recent grants and prizes including from Australia Council, Lotterywest, DLGSCI from the WA State Government, in addition to private philanthropy. This year has already seen the launch of their backyard festival Backstories and a new journal from and for the Indian Ocean – Portside Review.
Working with Westpac will allow Robert to extend his networks, engage with social impact leaders, foster new relationships between the arts and education, set an example of how literature matters to the community at large, and provide nationally recognised benefits to Perth residents in particular. The Fellowship starts now and concludes in 2022.