WollCon’s Senior Music Therapist Ann Lehmann-Kuit is one of the seven women to receive an International Women’s Day Illawarra Committee scholarship worth $2000.
The scholarships, announced last week (ahead of IWD on Wednesday 8th March), have been running for more than a decade and provide an opportunity for women to expand their knowledge, skill, or experience in a field where they have shown great potential.
Ann was awarded the Creative Spirit IWD Scholarship for Women, which recognises the critical role that artists play in telling the stories of the diverse communities in which we live.
Ann Lehmann-Kuit has been enriching the lives with her music for the last thirty years, running events, performing, teaching and working as a music therapist. She has played a critical role in producing successful community events for both children and adults, sharing her infectious love of music and the arts.
“I am honoured to receive the IWD creative spirit award, and with this scholarship I intend to embrace this year’s theme #EmbraceEquity, through recording music by female composers, including my own work. Women are considerably underrepresented as composers especially in classical guitar.”
Ann (pictured above left with Robyn te Velde OAM) believes that International Women’s Day is an important opportunity to connect and share accomplishments with others.
“It is also a reminder of how far we have come and how far we still need to go before we reach equity. I’d like to thank the International Women’s Day Illawarra committee who have raised $500,000 since it began to support local women.” Said Ann.
Ann was nominated by her film making colleague and friend Elizabeth Tadic who has worked closely with Ann over the years.
Elizabeth in her nomination wrote: “Ann has given so much to our community and nurtured so many creative female talent for so many years, I would just love if she received some love and acknowledgment and support back. Ask anyone in the creative music field in the Illawarra and I am certain they will know of Ann’s commitment and wonderful creative spirit that has touched many.”
Ann started Jam n Bread in 2013, through Our Community Project, a free monthly community building initiative that brings locals together to explore their culturally rich musical traditions.
She is also the Artistic Director of KidsFest Shellharbour, the longest running free weeklong children’s festival in Australia (founded 2007). This annual event, held during Families Week, provides opportunities for families and carers to get together and celebrate community, nature, art, music, circus, Aboriginal culture and creativity through a week of free events.
She mentors many young musicians in the community and in 2020 organised the “New Gen” program in partnership with Wollongong Council, which mentored eight aspiring young musicians and helped them record their original songs, teaming up with professional musicians in the community.
Ann volunteers to coordinate the Folk School at the Illawarra Folk Festival (founded in 2008) and the Youth Traditions Showcase, which gives twenty young musicians opportunities to be mentored and perform in front of live audiences at the annual Illawarra Folk Festival.
Ann has recently learned to embrace her own identity as neurodivergent (Bipolar/AudHD) and has become a proud advocate promoting strength-based perspectives of neurodivergence to break down stigma.
Ann has a passion for developing accessible, intergenerational, intercultural creative networks in the community. She has a Master of Creative Music Therapy (with Distinction) and just completed her Arts-Based Research Masters exploring song creation, flow and mental health.