Open main menu Close main menu


Bold Innovator translating the visual into the written

  • Bold Innovators Scholarship 2021 recipient Danae Ripley

Many of our graduates complete their studies with big ideas for what they want to achieve next. However, having the time and resources to get those ideas off the ground can be a challenge.

To bridge this gap, Unitec offers the Bold Innovators Scholarship to help recent Unitec Masters or Doctoral degree graduates take that big next step.

20 September 2021

This year’s recipient of the Bold Innovators Scholarship is Danae Ripley, who also won a Youth Award at the Molly Morpeth Canaday Awards in 2019. Although she completed her Master of Creative Practice specialising in painting, Danae has long had a passion for art writing and throughout her studies regularly contributed to art news publications.

For her scholarship project, she is creating a transmedia presentation of artists’ work in the age of Covid, by writing a series of essays about 10 artists from diverse backgrounds and at different levels of their careers. The artists are primarily from Unitec, spanning undergraduate levels, staff and alumni.

“The writing you usually read about New Zealand artists is about those already in the big shows or galleries,” she says. “I really liked the idea of writing about lesser-known artists as a practising painter myself, with an insight into the studio processes, to make it accessible and exciting. It’s about connecting the visual ideas to their conceptual ideas. It’s what I really enjoy— it’s like solving a big puzzle.”

Danae says she strives to translate into words what she sees in each artist’s work.

“What I enjoy most is discovering tendencies in the language that occur again and again. So for one artist, I’ve followed this theme that she likes to create agitations in the studio, something gritty and off edge that she responds to. For another, I focused on the atmosphere that she makes in her drawings, and how empty space can have a huge presence in her drawings.”

Danae, who also tutors design students in the Bachelor of Creative Enterprise and work as a research assistant at Unitec, will finish her book later this year. However, the scholarship also gives awardees access to Unitec resources like mentors on topics such as entrepreneurship, education, business models, and how to create connections to fast-forward their dreams. Danae hopes this will assist her to achieve her dream of being a professional painter and art writer.

“What I would love to do most is make money from painting. I really see myself always writing so if I could find both, that is a lovely dream – until you have to [pay to] live, of course!”

Bold Innovators Scholarship is Danae Ripley

The Bold Innovators Scholarship is worth $12,000 and awarded yearly, based on the potential of the concept for social, environmental and/or economic impact, the academic and general performance of the applicant and the ability of Unitec to support the concept.

This is determined through a selection process by Tūāpapa Rangahau, with the final decision being made by the Director of Research and Enterprise  -Marcus Williams.

Previous Bold Innovators

 2017: Tuputau John Belford-Lelaulu and Reagan Laidlaw, Mau Studio: Community architecture practice

2018: Atarangi Anderson, Inky Cat sustainable fashion label

2019: Melissa Cameron, “Get that Circus out of my lion!” circus theatre.

2020: Jaime Kapa, Indigenous Typeface Foundry