The Top Students of 2018 AWARD School in each state were revealed on Thursday night (26 July) in a celebration of emerging talent at graduation ceremonies held in capital cities around the country.

This year the AWARD School theme was ‘Big Ideas For a Big Future’ and it didn’t disappoint with 200 of the country’s best and brightest undiscovered creatives graduating from the 12 week course.

Gold Pencils for State Top Students were awarded to: Lucas Fowler (NSW); Phoebe Sloane (VIC); Edward King (QLD); Elizabeth Graydon (WA); and Shaun McFarlane (SA).

The five state winners are now in the running for National Top Student and will have their books reviewed by an international super jury. The finalists will be flown to Sydney for the national announcement on August 7.

On behalf of AWARD, Committee Member and M&C Saatchi Chief Creative Officer Cam Blackley congratulated the winners and commended all graduates for their dedication throughout the intensive, yet highly rewarding, program.

Blackley thanked this year’s school heads, lecturers, tutors and state judges – a total of 188 nationally – without whom AWARD School would not be possible.

In 2018, 94 tutors from 42 agencies participated in AWARD School. The Top Tutor Agencies who tutored the NSW and VIC Top Student were acknowledged with ‘Gold Sharpener’ awards on the night.


NSW: Lucas Fowler
Marcel Moniago, Thomas McMullan (Isobar Sydney)
Curt McDonald, Chris Brailey, Chris Ching (M&C Saatchi Sydney)

VIC: Phoebe Sloane 
Jess Wheeler, Sean Birk (Fenton Stephens Melbourne)
Trent Hendrick, Tom Vizard (Cummins&Partners Melbourne)

QLD: Edward King   
Ryan Petie, Kirsten Twigg (Publicis Worldwide)
Lindsay Thompson (Khemistry)

WA: Elizabeth Graydon   
Rikki Burns (The Meerkats)
Dean Hunt (303MullenLowe)
Nathan Teoh, Melita Masters (The Brand Agency)

SA: Shaun McFarlane
David Lawson (Crafty Design)
David Ormston, Corey Swaffer (KWP! Advertising)
Becq Hinton, Johnny Velis (Blackbocks Jamshop)
Nick Milde, Jordan Hillier (Hybrid Agency)
John McLaren (Blacksheep Advertising)
Matt Minear, Michael Gagliardi (BAD)
Jeremy Egerton (Context Creative)
Jason Hollamby (The Agency)
Dan Levy (More Space for Light)
Paul Stratton (NATION Creative)

NSW AWARD School Heads Karen Ferry, Senior Copywriter at Leo Burnett Sydney, and Brendan Willenberg, Creative Director at Clemenger BBDO Sydney, said they were impressed with the calibre of student work this year, describing the campaigns as “category-breaking” and “truly insightful”.

“From looking at the wide breadth of the best-in-show work selected for the wall, it proves that this thinking doesn’t just live in the top 10, but in a lot of the graduating class,” Ferry said.

Victoria AWARD School Head and GTB Creative Group Head Michael Mulcahy commented: “I’m always so impressed at how the students’ thinking develops over the weeks of the course. I think that’s the true value of AWARD – producing creatives who have developed real strategic skills and are capable of critiquing their own work.”

Second place was awarded in four states to: Madeleine Livesey (NSW); Andrew Fyfe (VIC); Rubini Gunaratnam (QLD); and Brandon Piggott (WA).

Third place went to: Joel Grunstein (NSW); Joel Wyatt (VIC); Harold McKeon (QLD); and Christopher Luu (WA). 

Queensland AWARD School Head and McCann QLD ECD Benjamin Davis praised the graduates for having “Hungry Eyes” and for demonstrating great focus throughout the course. He also thanked the speakers, tutors and judges who “selflessly gave huge amounts of their time”.

West Australian School Head and Marketforce ECD Paul Coghlan said the judges were excited with the level of talent that Perth is producing. “It was indeed a thorough process – over five and a half hours of passionate, intelligent deliberations by some of Perth’s greatest creative leaders …The standard of work was very strong,” he said.

South Australia AWARD School Head and NATION Creatives’ CD, Nick Brz stated: “The passion and curiosity of the students was fantastic and it is very motivating to see that creative thinking is still the currency for great work, no matter your experience level.”

The state winners of the Social Brief were also announced. This is an AWARD initiative whereby students develop a campaign idea for Australia’s most deserving social causes. In 2018, food rescue charity OzHarvest was selected for the initiative.

National winners will be announced at the AWARD School National Graduation in Sydney on August 7.

AWARD and The Communications Council would like to thank sponsoring partner Facebook Australia for its generous support and for providing the national prize. This year’s National Top Student will fly to Menlo Park, California for a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity with Facebook’s creative agency ambassador group.

2018 AWARD School state Top Students

NSW – Top Students

1. Lucas Fowler – Gold Pencil
2. Madeleine Livesey
3. Joel Grunstein

Top 10 (in alphabetical order)

  • Jake Ausburn
  • Antoniette France
  • Allison Glavin
  • Melissa Jimenez
  • Daniel Lee
  • Jack Monro
  • Domenico Roselli

Brief 5 (Social) Winner:

  • Bridget Dominic

VIC – Top Students

1. Phoebe Sloane – Gold Pencil
2. Andrew Fyfe
3. Joel Wyatt

Top 10 (in alphabetical order)

  • Xenia Alexander
  • Damian Asling
  • Isabel Evans
  • Monique Horsley
  • Megan Latter
  • Mark McCray
  • Amy Strang

Brief 5 (Social) Winner

  • Phoebe Sloane

QLD – Top Students

1. Edward King – Gold Pencil
2. Rubini Gunaratnam
3. Harold McKeon

Brief 5 (Social) Winner

  • Harold McKeon

WA – Top Students

1. Elizabeth Graydon – Gold Pencil
2. Brandon Piggott
3. Christopher Luu

Brief 5 (Social) Winner

  • Simon Mullins

SA – Top Student

  • Shaun McFarlane – Gold Pencil

Brief 5 (Social) Winner

  • Shaun McFarlane

Top Tutor agencies – Gold Sharpeners


  • Marcel Moniago (Isobar Sydney)
  • Thomas McMullan (Isobar Sydney)
  • Curt McDonald (M&C Saatchi Sydney)
  • Chris Brailey (M&C Saatchi Sydney)
  • Chris Ching (M&C Saatchi Sydney)


  • Jess Wheeler (Fenton Stephens Melbourne)
  • Sean Birk (Fenton Stephens Melbourne)
  • Trent Hendrick (Cummins&Partners Melbourne)
  • Tom Vizard (Cummins&Partners Melbourne)