Indigenous comedian Sean Choolburra is the voice behind a new QUT-led animation series that uses humour to help demystify and destigmatise palliative care and dying for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples.
A graduate of the university’s Creative Industries Faculty, Ms Miller-Heidke has made an impressive contribution to Australian culture.
Singing long before she could speak, Ms Miller-Heidke’s work traverses the worlds of contemporary, pop, folk and opera.
An inspiration to current and aspiring artists, Ms Miller-Heidke has forged an independent path, breaking crowd-funding records with her latest album O Vertigo! which debuted at number four on the Australian album charts.
“Accepting the award, Ms Miller-Heidke said recognition by a respected institution gave music a weight and a gravity in the larger culture.
“A culture which at times seems intent on undermining the value of music and the arts, in an era when it has never been needed more,” she said.
“The arts fill the vacuum left behind, for want of a better word, spirituality and spirituality is a necessary function of being human.
“I want to live in a world where beauty, storytelling, the sublime and the wonderful fill that vacuum. Today the arts are the closest thing we have to magic.”
Also classically trained at the Queensland Conservatorium, Ms Miller-Heidke has appeared in high-profile operas across the world and her self-composed opera, The Rabbits, based on the Australian book of the same name, won four Helpmann Awards including Best Score and Best New Australian work.
With four studio albums released, Ms Miller-Heidke has achieved multi-platinum status and had eight ARIA nominations. Her albums and singles have appeared in the top 10 charts many times over.
Ms Miller-Heidke’s humanitarian and compassionate traits are well-known through her advocacy for MTV EXIT (End Exploitation and Trafficking), an initiative that raises awareness and increases prevention of human trafficking and slavery. She has also donated five per cent of all income generated by O Vertigo! to the World Wide Fund for Nature to preserve the Great Barrier Reef.
Ms Miller-Heidke is also QUT’s Creative Industries Faculty Outstanding Alumni Award winner.
Jessa Rogers, also from the Creative Industries Faculty, was named Young Alumnus of the Year. Ms Rogers achieved first-class honours in a Bachelor of Education (Secondary) and Bachelor of Creative Industries (Drama).
A mother at 16, Ms Rogers strove to gain her education and last year became the founding principal of a unique boarding school for Indigenous teenage mothers and their children, the Cape York Girl Academy.
The annual QUT Outstanding Alumni Awards recognise outstanding graduates of the university (and predecessor institutions), who have displayed exceptional professional, academic or research achievements and contributions to the community.
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