The recipient of the inaugural Jesse Cox Audio Fellowship has been revealed as award-winning journalist and broadcaster, Patrick Abboud.
The annual $20,000 fellowship, announced in June with founding sponsor, Audible Australia, and development partner, the ABC, will provide a career defining opportunity for an Australian storyteller to accelerate their career and create an innovative audio work.
Established in honour of award-winning radio producer and former head of original content at Audible Australia, the late Jesse Cox, the Jesse Cox Audio Fellowship (JCAF) is continuing Jesse’s determination to strengthen and build the Australian audio community, amplifying audio storytelling and supporting local and underrepresented voices.
In its inaugural year, the JCAF attracted more than 100 applications from around the country, with a strong representation from regional Australia. The diversity of applicants was also impressive, with 39 per cent identifying as LGBTQI+, 12 per cent as living with a disability, 41 per cent as culturally and linguistically diverse, and 7 per cent as Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander.
The JCAF selection panel were looking for proposals demonstrating a strong creative practice from people who will benefit from the support of the JCAF and its partners. The Fellow should show bravery and risk, push the audio form, and give visibility to new or underrepresented stories in the audio space. Five applicants were shortlisted:
- Patrick Abboud – Inaugural JCAF Fellow: Pat is an award-winning journalist and broadcaster, working across broadcast media and the arts for eight years, presenting and producing compelling documentary and audio-visual installations.
- Elmo Keep – Shortlisted: Elmo Keep is an award-winning multi-disciplinary journalist, writer and producer working with international and national publication credits across print, web and television.
- Shakthidharan Sivanathan – Shortlisted: Shakthi is a western Sydney storyteller with Sri Lankan heritage and Tamil ancestry. He’s a writer, director, producer of theatre and film and composer of original music as one half of the group Kurinji.
- Jennifer Wong – Shortlisted: Jennifer Wong is a writer and comedian who’s performed at comedy festivals in Australia, Edinburgh, and Shanghai since 2011.
- Bjorn Stewart and Charlie Garber – Shortlisted: Bjorn Stewart is a Sydney based actor, writer and director. Charlie Garber is an actor and writer across theatre, film, and TV.
Que Min Luu, Jesse Cox Audio Fellowship founding member, said: “Having to narrow down such a talented pool of applicants into one was a challenging, but great problem for us to have in this first year of the Jesse Cox Audio Fellowship. We’re thrilled to have selected Patrick as our inaugural fellow and to have a hand in bringing such a dynamic storyteller like him into the audio space. We’re excited about assisting him with his project and professional development over the coming year. I know Jesse would be proud.”
Abboud said: “Jesse was an incredible storyteller; sensitive, courageous, unique. He inspired so many to take risks, to create deeply moving work that changed lives. I never got the chance to collaborate with Jesse but I admired his genius from afar. It’s an absolute honour to be working in his name and I hope what I achieve with this wonderful fellowship does his legacy proud. I’m immensely grateful for this opportunity.”
Naparstek said: “Patrick Abboud has an excellent understanding of how to entertain and inspire audiences, together with a passion for stretching formats and ideas in new and interesting directions. The forensic rigor he applies to investigating underexplored aspects of Australian society and foregrounding marginalised voices made him an exceptional candidate for the fellowship.”
Founding Sponsor Audible Australia is joined by Development Partner ABC and supporting partners, Unison, Audiocraft, Hearsay and Third Coast International Audio Festival, who will work with fellows on production, mentoring and bringing their project to life. Audio content developed through the fellowship will be eligible for distribution by Audible and on ABC platforms.