PhD graduate Dr Susanna Castleden has scooped the Linden Art Prize with a series of cartography-inspired pieces developed during her doctoral research in RMIT's School of Art.
The Linden Art Prize is a non-acquisitive award open to artists who have recently completed postgraduate study at a Victorian university.
The accolade includes tailored mentoring and is designed to support the transition from study to professional practice for recent postgraduate art alumni.
Castleden was awarded the second annual prize by an expert panel of Victorian art gallery directors and curators.
Linden Art Gallery Director Melinda Martin said the prize was designed to celebrate and foster a new generation of artists.
“The prize provides the winners with unique access to opportunities, knowledge and experience from established arts industry experts and organisations through its tailored mentoring program,” Martin said.
Castleden’s research for her Doctor of Philosophy (Art), explored the ways in which people experience and come to understand the world through travel and mapping.
“My research looks at how an embodied experience of mobility can perhaps lead to new ways of visualising the world,” she said.
Inspired by materials, processes and the way things are made, Castleden’s work expresses themes surrounding wanderlust, travel and mobility.
She chose to do her PhD at RMIT’s School of Art because of the program’s focus on practice-led research.
“This meant that my project developed through a parallel unfolding of theoretical and studio-based research,” she said.
“The guidance of my supervisors Professor Lesley Duxbury and Professor William Cartwright kept me on track when I started to wander, and made me realise that art and cartography could do more than just coexist.”
Castleden received several awards during her PhD candidature, including the 2011 City of Joondalup Invitation Art Award and the 2013 Burnie Print Prize.
She was also the winner of the 2013 Bankwest Art Prize and runner up in the 2014 Fremantle Arts Centre Print Award.
Castelden was also the only Australian artist included in the book, The Map of Art: Contemporary Artists Explore Cartography, published by Princeton University Architecture Press in 2010.
She is currently working on a project that builds on her PhD research, set in an aircraft boneyard in the Arizona desert in the USA, funded by the Australia Council for the Arts.
Her award-winning art work will be on display at the Linden New Art gallery in Melbourne until Sunday 3 May.
Aside from the PhD (Art), RMIT also offers the Master of Fine Art, a research degree that provides a balance between studio practice and the conceptual and theoretical concerns that underpin the making of art.