Academics recognised in Vice Chancellor Awards

Dr Clint Bracknell

Congratulations to two Con academics who will be recognised on 14 August 2017 with University of Sydney awards.

Senior Lecturer Dr Clint Bracknell has won the 2017 Wingara Mura Excellence Award. This Award seeks to promote, recognise and reward outstanding achievements and contributions to the Wingara Mura Integrated Strategy. Through his commitment to the Wingara Myra Bunga Barrabugu Summer and Winter Schools, Dr Bracknell demonstrated excellence in motivating and engaging with young people to access higher education. His tireless involvement has seen workshops and collaborations with Aboriginal communities across Australia, opening new pathways into music and the University for Indigenous students. Dr Bracknell is an advocate for cultural competence at the Sydney Conservatorium of Music, encouraging all staff to seek professional development.

Professor Linda Barwick, Associate Dean (Research and Indigenous Strategy) said: “In every dimension, Clint is a wonderful asset to the University of Sydney and the Sydney Conservatorium of Music. A brilliant and collaborative colleague, he has participated with enthusiasm in multiple new initiatives, including the Wingara Mura Summer School for secondary students, engaging with our Chinese colleagues through activities with Minzu University, and developing and running new courses in contemporary music and Australian music.

“Somehow he has also found time for award-winning activities as a performer and composer, as well as winning an Australian Research Council Discovery Indigenous award to investigate ways to mobilise song archives to support language maintenance and revitalisation activities amongst his own Wirlomin Noongar group from Albany in Western Australia. Congratulations Clint for your well-deserved award!”

Dr Paul Rickard-Ford

Senior Lecturer in Piano, Dr Paul Rickard-Ford has won the 2017 Vice-Chancellor’s Awards for Excellence, in the category of Outstanding Teaching. These awards form part of the University’s work under the 2016–20 Strategic Plan to provide an annual opportunity to publicly recognise and celebrate the exceptional contribution of colleagues.

Dr Rickard-Ford has achieved outstanding international recognition as one of Australia’s foremost piano teachers. He has achieved this through the exceptional results of his students’ performances at prestigious international piano competitions in 14 countries over the past five years. He has led the Conservatorium Piano Division for the past 10 years.

Professor Anna Reid, Head of School and Dean of the Sydney Conservatorium of Music, said: “He has consciously engaged in cultural empathy, particularly with the China region, and has been an ambassador for the Conservatorium during his frequent trips to China, and has learnt basic Chinese language skills. This has clearly assisted his students in nurturing their careers to their fullest potential.

“Paul has consistently had a studio of approximately 90 per cent Chinese students. He had realised that he needed to engage with cultural empathy to fully understand the motivations and aspirations of these students. Language barriers are often seen as barriers to learning so, together with his frequent trips to China, Paul has undertaken private weekly lessons in Mandarin for the past three years. The outcomes of these lessons were particularly useful in his recent trips to China where he was able to communicate politely on behalf of the Conservatorium at events given by host institutions.

“This cultural empathy extends to his teaching studio, when he is often able to make students feel more relaxed and realise their full potential by conversing with them in basic Chinese and by praising them in their native language. The level of appreciation shown by his students continues to have a snow ball effect and he receives many requests from China to take students and to give masterclasses in major Chinese conservatories. Many of his students’ outstanding results at international competitions reflect his appreciation and consideration of cultural empathy.”

From 2012-2016 Dr Rickard-Ford’s students and Conservatorium alumni have won major prizes in 14 countries including Australia, Belgium, China, Croatia, Denmark, France, Germany, Italy, New Zealand, Norway, Russia, South Korea, Spain and Thailand. His reputation as a global ambassador for the University is evidenced by his nomination to be a representative for the Conservatorium on the China Studies Regional Interest Group. He was asked to represent the University’s Vice-Chancellor and to give a speech at a dinner for International School Principals in Shanghai in 2015.

In 2010 Dr Rickard-Ford completed his PhD at the University of Adelaide while serving as Chair of the Conservatorium’s Piano Division. His PhD was nominated for the University Medal and since graduation he has been a frequent external examiner for research candidates from  University of Adelaide.