SMH and The Age expand culture coverage with five new critics

“The current crisis has shown just how fragile and important Australian writing and visual arts practice is”

The Sydney Morning Herald and The Age will be expanding their coverage of the culture sector with the appointment of five new critics covering literature, visual arts and theatre.

The appointment comes from funding from the Copyright Agency and the Judith Neilson Institute for Journalism and Ideas.

Matthew Burgess, culture editor at the Herald and The Age, said: “It is an exciting opportunity for our readers to gain fresh perspectives in visual arts, stage and book criticism, and for the critics to work on developing their voice and reach. Our thanks go to the Copyright Agency and the Judith Neilson Institute for supporting this project.”

Writing for both the Herald and The Age are book critics Bec Kavanagh and Jack Callil.

“I’m looking forward to sinking my teeth into some great new stories, and writing into a space that values the contributions of writers and the arts – particularly at this time,” Melbourne-based Kavanagh said.

Callil, a digital editor at the Australian Book Review and proofreader at Meanjin, said: “Having the opportunity to write about Australia’s vibrant and diverse literary community is an exceptional privilege.” 

Chloe Wolifson will review visual arts for Sydney and Tiarney Miekus for Melbourne.

Chloe Wolifson 

Wolifson, who has previously written for the Herald and The Guardian and has a monthly column in Art Monthly Australasia, said: “It’s always my hope that a review I’ve written encourages readers to go and view the exhibition themselves and engage with the work. I’m excited for this opportunity to start more conversations about Australian contemporary art.”

Tiarney Miekus

Melbourne-based writer Miekus, editor of Art Guide Australia, said: “It’s both humbling and exciting to be a contributing voice on visual arts, and to have the space, time and support to think intently and purposefully on visual art.”

Cassie Tongue, who has had regular theatre reviews published in Time Out and The Guardian, will cover theatre for the Herald.

Cassie Tongue

“I’m looking forward to writing about new Australian performance as it happens: exploring new trends, engaging deeply with what our artists have to say, and giving thoughtful responses to the work of theatre-makers and performers who might otherwise miss out on coverage,” she said.

Copyright Agency chief executive Adam Suckling said the five new critics will bring “important new voices to the landscape of arts criticism and review in Australia”.

“The current crisis has shown just how fragile and important Australian writing and visual arts practice is,” Mr Suckling said.

“While things are very grim for creators at the moment, the new critics will look at ways of covering Australian creativity during this terrible crisis. But they will also be in place for when, and I hope this is very soon, it is safe for Australian audiences to return to physical book launches, plays and shows at galleries.”

Top Photo: Jack Callil and Bec Kavanagh

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