Critics slam AWARD chair gender imbalance – but overlook the juries

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The announcement from Australia’s premium creative show AWARD of its 110 strong jury for the 38th AWARD Awards in Sydney in May immediately drew heat because just one female was appointed to the six-member panel of category chairs.

“Pray tell, why just one female chair?” asked blogger Equality Bot (posted on the Campaign Brief Australia site). “You haven’t tried very hard have you, AWARD?”

Equality Bot is correct. But perhaps he/she/they were too quick to condemn, because AWARD tried a lot harder with its overall jury, naming 43 females (out of 110) as jurors – 40% – which may well be a record for female/male ratios on global ad competitions?

Other bloggers were equally dismissive: “Those 10 male chairs, are all white chaps,” wrote one. “It’s almost like this industry has a diversity problem.

Busy found another angle: “110 people to judge the work? That’s almost as many people as it took to do the work.”

From a Kiwi point of view, the chair selection was quite satisfactory, with two of the 10 (DDB’s Brett Colliver & Shane Bradnick) coming from NZ, as do a number of jurors with strong NZ connections – including Paul Nagy (an Aussie who was CD at Clemenger Wellington from 2005-2010), Y&R NZ CD Tim Huse, Aussie freelancer Rebecca Carrasco (well-known on this side of the Tasman), and Y&R NZ CD Tom Paine.

This year’s jury chairs are:

  • David Park, Owner, Maud Sydney
  • Brett Colliver, CD, DDB NZ
  • Mike Spirkovski, CCO, Saatchi & Saatchi Sydney
  • Shane Bradnick, ECD, DDB NZ
  • Sinead Roarty, ACD, J Walter Thompson Sydney
  • Justin Drape, CCO, The Monkeys Sydney
  • Ben Keenan, Principal, Thought Police Melbourne
  • Alex Derwin, CD, BMF Melbourne
  • Ben Wesh, CCO, DDB Sydney
  • Ben Coulson, CCO, Clemenger Sydney

The first round of judging kicking off on 16 March 2017.

The annual AWARD Awards presentation will take place on Friday 26 May at CarriageWorks as part of the three-day Semi-Permanent festival of creativity & design.

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