Kate Challis RAKA Award

The Kate Challis RAKA Award supports Indigenous creative artists. In 2023, the award supports a visual artist who has held an exhibition in the last five years.

Applications open

17 Apr 2023

Applications closed

26 Jun 2023

Application type

Application required
How to apply

Benefit type

Single payment
Full benefit details

Citizenship requirements

Australian / domestic student

Total value

up to $20,000

Applicable study areas

All study areas

Number of scholarships awarded


  • Alexis Wright
    "As an Aboriginal author, I understand the enormous importance and influence of the Kate Challis (RAKA) Award. I believe it is the most prestigious national and international benchmark for the promotion of excellence in Aboriginal art. This is the reason that I feel both extremely humble and proud that my work was chosen this year for literature, and to know that my work can stand beside those of our most talented and highly recognised artists."
    - Alexis Wright
  • Eligibility & selection criteria


    To be eligible for this scholarship, you must:

    • have held an exhibition in the last five years, 2018 - 2023; and,
    • be an Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander.

    Selection criteria

    The award supports a visual artist who has held an exhibition in the last five years.

  • Application process

    Eligible applicants must complete an online application, including:

    • exhibition information and up to ten electronic copies of exhibited work/s; options for how to submit the work will be supplied during the application process;
    • a 500-word artist statement outlining current creative practices and development over the past five years;
    • a two-page resume; and,
    • any other information to support the application that may assist the committee in making its decision.
  • Variations of this award

    The award follows a five-year cycle with a different area of the arts supported each year – creative prose, drama, the visual arts, plays and poetry.

  • About the donor

    Professor Emeritius Bernard Smith

    This award for Indigenous creative artists has been made available through the generosity of Professor Emeritus Bernard Smith, eminent art and cultural historian. The award was established to honour the memory of his late wife, Kate Challis, who was known in her youth as Ruth Adeney (RAKA is an acronym for the Ruth Adeney Koori Award).

    In the Pintupi language, 'raka' means 'five' and in the Warlpiri 'rdaka' means 'hand', and both meanings are particularly apt for an award to be awarded in a cycle of five years to individual artists – novelists, poets, script writers, visual artists and playwrights – whose 'hands' are the basic means of creativity.

What are the benefits?

A single payment of up to $20,000.

The recipient is required to:

  • accept the award online within 21 days;  and,
  • acknowledge the Faculty of Arts and the name of the award in any promotional material produced as a result of the award money and where possible, assist the Faculty of Arts in promoting the award.

A full list of past winners can be found here.



The information listed here is subject to change without notice. Where we have listed information about jointly run scholarships programs, please also see our partners' websites. Information describing the number and value of scholarships awarded is indicative.