NIDA acknowledges the Traditional Owners and Custodians of the lands on which we learn and tell stories, the Bidjigal, Gadigal, Dharawal and Dharug peoples, and we pay our respects to all Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Elders past and present.

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International Women's Day

Today is International Women’s Day and to celebrate we want to highlight four NIDA graduates who we consider to be women of influence both in their contribution to Australian culture and in their chosen fields.


To celebrate International Women's Day, we want to highlight four NIDA graduates who we consider to be women of influence both in their contribution to Australian culture and in their chosen fields.

She is considered one of Australia’s and the world’s most acclaimed actors, and winner of not one but two Oscars, we can’t go past NIDA graduate Cate Blanchett. In addition to her work on stage and on screen, Cate is committed to broader issues in the community from the recent cut to arts funding in Australia to environmental issues. While co-artistic director at the Sydney Theatre Company in 2010, Cate Blanchett alongside husband and fellow artistic director Andrew Upton, launched their long-term vision and project, Greening the Wharf, with the installation of 1,906 solar panels that provides up to 70% of the company’s power supply. 

Next up is recent graduate Miranda Tapsell who is already making waves in the arts and entertainment industry, having starred in projects such as The Sapphires, Love Child and Redfern Now among others. She is also an activist for gender equality and Indigenous rights in Australia, particularly in the performing arts. After winning two Logies for her role in Love Child (Most Popular New Talent and the Graham Kennedy Award For Most Outstanding Newcomer) Miranda used her acceptance speech to highlight the issue of colour-blind casting and the need to “put more beautiful people of colour on TV and connect viewers in ways which transcend race and unite us. That is the real team Australia.”

The under-representation of women at all levels of film and television production is an ongoing point of discussion in our community and it was also highlighted in a 2014 report released by British producer and writer Stephen Follows, based on his 20 years of research and observation of the industry.

Our next two graduates are fantastic examples of women who have bucked the trend and gone on to achieve staggering heights of success in Australia and internationally in what may have been traditionally male dominated industries:

NIDA graduate Catherine Martin is one of Australia’s most applauded designers for film and stage, having won four Oscars (the most won by an Australian), five BAFTAS and many more. Along with being honoured as one of Glamour Magazine’s 2013 Women of the Year for her production, set and costume designs, Catherine was also inducted into the Rodeo Drive Walk of Style for her work on The Great Gatsby. She is also a great business woman having established several successful collaborations on homewares, interior design projects and creative installations.

Art Director and Set Designer, Deborah Riley may not yet be a household name, however this NIDA Design graduate has been responsible for creating the look and feel for some of the most popular films in Australia and globally, including The Matrix (1999, set director), Moulin Rouge (2001, assistant art director) and 21 Grams (2003, art director). She is now the new production designer on Games of Thrones, arguably the world’s most popular television series. Her incredible work on this series has already garnered a 2015 Emmy Award for Most Outstanding Production Design for a Narrative Contemporary or Fantasy Program.

Above are just a few of the many female NIDA graduates who have gone on to achieve great things in the arts and creative industries, and beyond as leaders in their art form, in their industry and in the issues that matter to them as women. 

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