Leadership Scholarship

Harriet Body Profile
The Ascham Leadership Scholarship is an opportunity for young Old Girls to undertake research or humanitarian aid work outside Australia. It is generously endowed by a past Ascham family. The Scholarship is open to all Ascham Old Girls between the ages of 20 and 30 years. 

The recipients undertake research or humanitarian aid work outside Australia aligned with their professional degree and development. The scholarship includes a maximum of $10,000 to go towards a return economy-class round the world air ticket and living expenses.  

Recipients of the Leadership Scholarship include Alanna Rennie, Verity Smith, Grace Mortlock, Lara Franzen, Sephora Sultana, Georgia Driels and Sarah Cohn. 

Harriet Body, Class of 2005, is the winner of the Leadership Scholarship for 2017

Harriet Body came to board at Ascham in 2003 after completing the first four years of high school in Darwin in the Northern Territory. After graduating from Ascham in 2005, she trained in fine art at university and received a Bachelor of Fine Arts with first-class honours from the UNSW College of Fine Arts in 2010. She then went on to undertake a research-based Masters in Fine Arts for which she received the Australian Postgraduate Award scholarship.

Harriet is now a professional artist, arts educator and arts worker with extensive experience in educational program development for people with disability and/or accessibility requirements. Her creative practice involves painting, sculpture, video, performance and installation. She is also one half of ’Thom and Angelmouse’ a collaborative art project with Thom Roberts who is an artist living with autism.

Harriet is currently employed in online marketing and development at Studio A, a not-for-profit social enterprise that supports professional artists with intellectual disability to achieve their artistic and economic aspirations. She also works casually at the Museum of Contemporary Art as an Artist Educator and Program Assistant for the MCA's art and disability program, Bella.

Harriet's passion is for promoting community engagement within the arts, particularly for disadvantaged, vulnerable and regional/remote communities.

Harriet will use the Old Girls' Leadership Scholarship to fund her ongoing research into collaborative creative projects between artists with and without intellectual disability. She will travel to the US, UK and parts of Asia to visit specialised studios that support professional artists with disability to expand her networks and research into the field of disability art. This research trip will inform her curatorial concept for an exhibition in Sydney of both national and international artists and artist collaborations with and without intellectual disability that will further explore the importance of collaboration for the advancement of the disability art field.

Past recipients:

  • Alanna Rennie, awarded the scholarship in 2016, used it to undertake her Master of Chinese Law at Tsinghua University and complete her thesis on enforcement of plant breeder rights in China. Alanna used the Scholarship as an opportunity to generate interest in Australia’s agricultural future and the opportunities in China. Before embarking on her Master's, Alanna visited a number of plant breeders around the world, including Plant and Food Research in New Zealand, Inta in Argentina, Bradfords in California, Meijer in Holland and Denaspo in Germany. 

  • Verity Smith, awarded the scholarship in 2015, used it to undertake an internship at Reprieve, an international organisation that works against the death penalty. Verity worked at the Louisiana Capital Assistance Centre (LCAC) where she assisted a team of lawyers by providing legal representation and humanitarian assistance to people on death row. She was given responsibility for serious matters integral to cases which involved regular phone contact with clients and assistance on prison visits to meet with clients. She says, 'We were given such complete exposure to the evidence for the matters that we were able to give meaningful input to the cases' which she found engrossing and rewarding.

  • Grace Mortlock, architect and 2014 recipient, used her Ascham Leadership Scholarship to travel to Venice to be part of the Architecture Biennale in 2014. Grace met and collaborated with international architects, and had the opportunity to write reviews and a series of short vignettes for Architecture AU, a major publication. The trip to Venice is an opportunity that would not have been possible without this Scholarship.

  • Sarah Cohn, awarded the 2013 Scholarship, used it to fund a medical placement in Tarime, Tanzania. She undertook a six-week placement at the Tarime Government Hospital, with the aim of experiencing the healthcare system of a small, impoverished East African town, and learning about the medical, social and environmental needs within the community. Once she has finished her medical studies, she hopes to return to Tarime and continue her involvement in humanitarian aid work.

  • The 2012 recipient was 2007 leaver Georgia Driels. Georgia undertook an international internship, travelling to one of UNHCR’s refugee camps with an interdisciplinary team including staff from the Centre for Refugee Research as well as delegates from Amnesty International, UNHCR and the Refugee Council of Australia. While conducting reciprocal research within a refugee camp, Georgia also participated in and helped to provide a number of educational courses including Human Rights training, project development, community engagement and support.

  • The 2011 recipient, Sephora Sultana, used the scholarship to fund an internship in the United Nations’ International Criminal Tribunal for Yugoslavia. Sephora is in The Hague. Her goal is to continue her research on the importance of prosecuting rape and sexual assault crimes which occur during periods of conflict, with particular emphasis on the role of victims in the prosecutions. 

  • Lara Franzen spent time during 2010 in the occupied Palestinian territories with ActionAid working to fight global poverty and injustice. In particular, Lara led the development of a proposal to the European Commission to design a three year project which re-uses waste water for agriculture and therefore increases food security in the Palestine territories. A more detailed account of her wonderful work was published in the AOGU Newsletter of March 2010.