University of Melbourne

Kate Challis RAKA Award

Application is required. Check eligibility

Key scholarship details

Application status

Open for applications

Applications open

15 Apr 2024

Applications close

1 Jul 2024

Benefit amount

Up to $25,000

Eligible student type

Domestic students

Benefit duration



The Kate Challis RAKA Award supports Indigenous creative artists. In 2024, the award supports the best script for film or television screened in the preceding five years.

About the donor

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.


A one-off payment of up to $25,000.

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.



Up to $25,000





Eligibility and selection criteria


To be considered for this award, you must:

  • have had the script for film or television produced between 2019 and 2023; and
  • be an Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander.

Selection criteria

The award supports a screenwriter who has the best script for film or television performed in the past five years.

Student type:

Domestic students

Need help understanding the process?

Visit our scholarship guide


How to apply

Eligible applicants must complete an online application, including:

  • screenplay information, up to ten production stills and the film/television script;
  • 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.
Submit an application


Open for applications

Applications open:

15 Apr 2024

Applications close:

1 Jul 2024

image of recipient Alexis Wright

Recipient feedback

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
  • Related scholarships

    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.

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.

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