Set designer Kate Rawlins wins Future Industries award

Nov 18, 2021

TAFE SA graduate Kate Rawlins studied set and scenery construction at AC Arts.

From war-time hospital wards to the fantasy land of superheroes, TAFE SA graduate Kate Rawlins’ work has taken her across continents and centuries.

As a set designer and assistant art director, Kate helps create ‘other worlds’ for film crews to inhabit and her talents are in constant demand.

Those talents, developed over the past decade, have also earnt her the Future Industries award at the inaugural TAFE SA Honour Awards, which recognise high-achieving alumni across career levels and industries.

Working in Sydney and unable to return to SA due to COVID-19 restrictions, she missed last month’s award ceremony but says she feels honoured to have received the Future Industries award for her work in film.

“I want to thank TAFE SA for the award and my lecturer Kerryanne (Jensen) for the nomination. It feels very gratifying to be acknowledged in this way,” she says.

“I was disappointed to miss what looked like a prestigious ceremony at Government House, but I was glad my Dad could be there to accept the award on my behalf.”

Kate completed a Diploma of Set and Scenery Construction at the Adelaide College of the Arts in 2011 and says the well-rounded course enabled her to experience different areas of live entertainment production, although her passion was always for film.

“I am drawn to the fast-paced nature of film and seeing my set designs come to life mere weeks or months after conception is very satisfying,” she says.

Kate’s stellar career began with an attachment on the TV series ANZAC Girls which was filmed in South Australia and led to further work on local film sets. She had a stint on the Gold Coast for Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales and then re-located to Sydney.

She returned to Adelaide in 2019 as set designer for Mortal Kombat and has just finished working on Disney's Thor: Love and Thunder in Sydney.

“I feel incredibly fortunate to work in an industry that I’m passionate about and that is currently thriving across the country,” Kate says.

“I enjoy working on productions of all sizes, with smaller films and television series often having compelling local Australian stories, while the international blockbusters showcase the cutting edge of technology within the industry.

“I can be working on a 1950s period drama one day and then futuristic sci-fi the next. To bring a creative vision to life, you have to think laterally and sometimes it’s about doing something that’s never been done before.”

For more information about the TAFE SA Honour Awards, please visit the website.

Photo of Kate by Laurie Faen.