For the second year running the University of Newcastle’s Dr Ian Cook has won a Scholars and Artists in Residence (SAR) Fellowship to the National Film and Sound Archive (NFSA) in Canberra.
Dr Cook, a Senior Lecturer in the School of Creative Arts, will undertake a project titled Music for the people: How Australian broadcasting legend Hector Crawford shaped Australian cultural history.
While undertaking research as part of his first SAR Fellowship at NFSA earlier in 2013, Dr Cook started to uncover the influence that Hector Crawford had made on Australia’s cultural history.
“Hector Crawford was an Australian radio and television producer and his influence on the Australian entertainment industry was immense and enduring,” Dr Cook said. “He and his sister Dorothy Crawford founded Crawford Productions, which was responsible for many iconic programs and initiated the careers of a number of notable Australian actors and entertainers.”
“In following the journey of Crawford’s early career from 1945 to 1957 I was overwhelmed by his visionary approach in developing music programs including Music for the People and Mobil Quest and making them accessible to a very broad listening audience through commercial radio,” Dr Cook said.
“Of his three productions it was the Mobil Quest that stood out to me as the most important for it provided a vehicle to launch aspiring classical singers into further study and career opportunities and laid down a platform of knowledge of classical music among all Australians who would have become audiences for live performances.”
Dr Cook will look at the career paths taken by singers launched through the Mobil Quest program.
“This project is timely because of the age of this generation of performers. Sadly many of the singers are no longer with us, however the ones who are will provide a wealth of narrative around their experiences with Hector Crawford,” Dr Cook said.
Photo of Hector Crawford: Crawford Productions Pty Ltd Photographer Michael Cheshire 1970