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Case Studies Ceramic Penguin Nests | RAF Case Study (2021)

An innovative, cross-disciplinary design project.

This innovative artistic design project involved seven professional artists and two emerging artists in a collaborative partnership with scientific researchers from the Penguin Advisory Group (PAG). It also included photographer Peter Whyte, curator Caroline Davies- Choi, and was supported by Kingsborough Council, The Friends’ School, Dr Eric Woehler OAM Birdlife Tasmania, Ursula Taylor CEO Derwent Estuary Project, Jaslyn Allnut UTAS, Maddi Riley and Dr Mary-Ann Lea IMAS, Peter Verigan and volunteers working on Little Penguin surveys in the Derwent Estuary.

The artists designed and created ceramic penguin nesting modules in a workshop facilitated by project manager Jane Bamford, and after firing, the works were shown at the four-day "Clay Habitat" exhibition at Kingsborough Hub gallery. Sale of exhibited modules supported artists and research and these creations were then given as gifts to the PAG to support the nesting habitat of Little Penguins (Eudyptula minor) throughout the Derwent estuary in Tasmania. These forms embody a partnership with scientific research and demonstrate the artists' skills in pioneering new work in clay supported by regional communities.

Jane Bamford is a Project Grant Recipient, via the Regional Arts Fund as managed by RANT Arts Tasmania.

Through exhibiting in "Clay Habitat" the artists not only connected with the community but opened up possibility and employment in a new, innovative creative avenue. In future, these artists can extend this experience to work in collaboration with scientists and scientific research in the creative design field. The capacity for scientists and researchers to access the creative and problem-solving skills of artists is a key element to this project. The creation of these new networks for artists could support future activities in habitat support. In addition, the exhibition has developed new audiences for artists and broadened community engagement with the arts, culture, and species conservation.

The community benefited by being able to view the outcomes of a collaborative partnership of artists and scientists. "Clay Habitat" enabled the public to not only view creative artworks but also gave them the opportunity to move into the field of philanthropy, supporting artists and penguin habitat by ’giving’ to habitat. The artworks explored concepts of biodiversity loss and opened a dialogue for the community about the potential to partnership in conservation work. I also see this initiative as an opportunity to support the mental health of young people who live in the reality of mass species extinctions in their lifetime.

"The positive impact on this engagement with culture and community cannot be underestimated. My experience of overwhelming goodwill towards this project is testimony of this." – Jane Bamford, grant recipient.

This project engaged with 1620 actual audience members, 1620 digital audience members, 17 actual participants.


  • Cross-disciplinary partnership between the arts and science
  • Contribution to the stability and conservation of biodiversity in the Derwent Estuary with the Eudyptula minor penguin colonies
  • Community engagement with culture and conservation

Applicant location: Kingston Beach TAS

Project location: Kingston TAS

Amount of RAF Support: $10,000

Total project cost: $25,526

Ceramic Little Penguin Nesting Modules for the Derwent Estuary Project 2021 Photo Peter Whyte 1 1
Little Penguin ceramic nesting modules for the Derwent Estuary, photo by Peter White