The State Library of Victoria is pleased to announce the 2012-13 Creative Fellowships awarded to researchers, writers, artists and scholars who will make creative use of the Library’s rich collections over the next year. Eight paid, two honorary and two special honorary Fellowships were awarded from a strong and diverse field of more than 150 applicants. 

Fellows will undertake a wide variety of projects including artistic renderings of Australian wildflowers, a biography of Jack O’Hagan composer of the classic Australian songs Our Don Bradman and Along The Road To Gundagai, and the creation of a number of sculptural works based on an atlas from 1574.

The Creative Fellowship program fosters the creation of new works based on research using the State Library’s collections. Since 2003 the State Library of Victoria’s Creative Fellowship program has supported over 100 Australian writers, academics, artists, composers and researchers, allowing them to undertake extended periods of concentrated work with State Library collections. Fellows are also provided with offices within the Library to work on their projects.

Sue Roberts, Chief Executive Officer and State Librarian, said it was encouraging to see the quality and diversity of applications for the Creative Fellows.

‘The imagination and creativity people are applying to the State Library collections is a real endorsement of the important role libraries play in the creating new work and fostering new ideas.’

The State Library Creative Fellowships are funded through a grant from the State Library Foundation. They are awarded by the Library Board of Victoria on the recommendation of the Creative Fellowships Committee.

The following fellowships are also awarded this year:

The Redmond Barry Fellowship, jointly sponsored by the University of Melbourne and the State Library of Victoria is offered again this year.  Named in honour of Sir Redmond Barry (1813-80), the founder of both institutions, the Fellowship is worth $20,000 and includes a residency of three to six months. It is awarded to scholars and writers to facilitate research and the production of works of literature that utilise the collections of the Library and the University of Melbourne. This year the Redmond Barry Fellow is Dr David Pear.

The biennial Berry Family Fellowship is offered this year. It carries a grant of $12,500 and is awarded for a project exploring an aspect of the social history of Melbourne or Victoria, based on the State Library collections. The Fellowship commemorates the contribution the Berry family made to the cultural life of Melbourne and Victoria. This year the Berry Family Fellow is Mr Stefan Schutt. 

The Georges Mora Fellowship is also offered this year.  It carries a grant for $10,000and is awarded to a practicing artist with an emphasis on projects that develop new thinking.  The fellowship offers the option of a residency at the State Library of Victoria, and the opportunity to apply through Alliance Française for a residency in Paris. The year the George Mora Fellow is  Ms Linda Tegg.

A list Fellowship recipients and projects descriptions follow:

State Library of Victoria Creative Fellowships
These Fellowships are awarded by the Library Board of Victoria for projects that make creative and original use of the Library’s collections.  The Fellowships are funded by the State Library of Victoria Foundation.
Each of the following projects will receive a grant of $12,500.

Christine Johnson
Indigene – Australian Wildflowers a limited edition of fine art prints

Indigene is an exploration of the untamed treasures of our vast native flower garden as first seen by our early botanists and illustrators.  Christine plans to create new art works that are based on and include carefully selected images from the State Library of Victoria’s Rare Book collection of botanical illustration from this period.  Her aim is to blend art with science.

Jo (Elizabeth) Gilbert
Along the Road with Jack O’Hagan a biography

Most Australians know the songs Along The Road to Gundagai, Where The Dog Sat On The Tuckerbox, and Our Don Bradman but the name of Jack O’Hagan is being forgotten. This biography will document his life and great legacy to Australian social culture and musical heritage from 1920-1968.

Angela Cavalieri
Canzone: Music as storytelling a series of large scale lino-cut prints

Angela will create artwork based on the musical collections of the State Library. She will research the of operas and madrigals of Monteverdi and his contemporaries and recreate this material into a series of new art works.  Angela believes that the particular combination of music scores, original and facsimile scores, histories, poetry, historical documents of the period, and the sound recordings held by the State Library of Victoria will be of great value in researching this new series of art works.

Toby Horrocks
Through the lens of Peter Wille a biography

Toby will conduct research for a book on the life, writings, and photographic legacy of Peter Wille whose images are valuable documents of the 1950s – 1960s and are widely referenced by architectural historians, but largely unknown to the wider public. Toby’s project will encompass interviews with Wille’s surviving friends, family and colleagues, and a comprehensive review and digital restoration of his photographs.  Toby aims to produce a concise volume that will enable architects, designers, and homemakers a glimpse into this radical time in Australia’s architectural history.

Robert Clinch
The Rejected Manuscript an egg tempera painting

The Rejected Manuscript is Robert’s title for a proposed egg-tempera painting.  The title refers to the bane of literary endeavour, and a theme common to all creative pursuits; rejection.  Robert undertake drawing studies of selected architectural features in the State Library of Victoria, in particular, The Latrobe Reading Room.  An amalgam of details drawn from these studies will form the background composition. Although Robert’s paintings appear to be carefully observed renderings of real places, they are capriccios. These images originate in his imagination.  Their convincing naturalism is achieved by borrowing details from plein-air drawings he does in real locations.

Nicholas Jones
A conspiracy of cartographers a series of book sculptures

The project is built around the desire to create a body of sculptural works inspired by the ground-breaking atlas, Terrarum Orbis Theatrum by Abraham Ortelius (1574), which is housed in the collection of the State Library of Victoria.  Nicholas aims to utilise this volume and the cartographic section of the rare books and printed manuscript archive, to develop a plan to alter a series of books with the primitive line-work of the mapping compiled by Ortelius.  As well as this crucial 16th century volume, the vast collection of maps from the subsequent generations will also be a reference, making it possible to chart the evolution of the science of navigation through the golden age of exploration up until the present day. 

Kirsty Madden
Aluta Kontinua: Political images and oral history of free elections and resistance in Timor Leste and support for the East Timorese struggle in Melbourne. An oral history and image archive

The project explores political participation in Timor-Leste during the eras of resistance and free elections from 1975 to now, with the Presidential and Parliamentary Elections being held in 2012.  In the year of Timor-Leste’s third political elections, this project draws on the State Library’s Riley Collection of political ephemera to work with emerging East Timorese author, Fabiola de Araujo, creating images and giving voice to the determined struggle for basic political freedoms and humanitarian rights.  It considers the clandestine catch-cry ‘Aluta Kontinua’ (The Struggle Continues) through the power of political imagery and oral histories spanning the last four decades. 

Ruth (Virginia) Pullen
Lost Treasure: a redefinition of the State Library of Victoria’s collection of Eugene von Guerard’s drawings.  Book manuscript

The State Library of Victoria’s holdings of Eugene von Guérard’s drawings, most of which were produced during his first three years in Australia (1852-1855), represent a pivotal moment in the artist’s career.  In 1852 the 41 year old Austrian-German artist encountered the ‘new’ Australian landscape for the first time.  The drawings in the State Library’s collection, including the goldfields’ drawings, reveal the startling impact of the unfamiliar landscape.  A key outcome of the project is the anticipated reconstruction of von Guérard’s ‘lost’ sketchbooks from drawings in the collection.  The artist’s numbering system reveals that the first of his 35 extant Australian sketchbooks was his fourth Australian book.  Ruth believes that pages from the first three Australian ‘missing’ sketchbooks lie hidden within the Library’s collection.  The aim of this study is to research the drawings in the Library’s collection for publication, to redefine this significant collection within the context of von Guérard’s European and Australian careers, and to illuminate the historical and environmental information locked within individual drawings.

Honorary Fellowships
These Fellowships do not carry a grant but provide office space and library resource to the Fellows.

Dr Lynette Russell
Ethnography and Victorian Culture book manuscript

This project will aim to retrieve the role of Aboriginal people in the development of anthropological thought.  The records of early observers, such as A. W. Howitt and W. Baldwin Spencer, William Thomas and George Augustus Robinson, James (and Isabella) Dawson are replete with discussions of and with Aboriginal people.  While these materials have been mined for their information on customs and habits, they have not been studied with an eye towards the agency of those being observed.  Indeed, when colonial experts investigated the “Australian Aborigine” as an object of study, they almost completely effaced the impact Aboriginal people had upon the constitution of that knowledge.  This project will examine those early observers records, diaries and notebooks housed in the State Library’s collection.  By tracing the ways in which their roles as colonial administrators brought protectors and others into intimate contact with Aboriginal people, this project will unravel the cross-racial network that underwrote the production of ideas about race.  Importantly, this project will recover the voices and impacts of Aboriginal people that were effaced in the presentation of anthropological knowledge in this period and redress a continuing silence in Victorian ethnography.

Anne Marsden
The 1839 Melbourne Mechanics Institution: a study of power shifts in the Port Phillip Community scholarly article

The men of the 1839 Melbourne Mechanics’ Institution Committee provide a representative group within the Port Phillip District to explore the divide between the ‘gentlemen’ who attempted to replicate the lifestyle and privileges of the English landed gentry, and the ‘mechanics’ or ‘tradespeople’, who were often major employers.  Contemporary accounts describe conflict in the initial meetings held to establish the Institution, with attempts by the ‘gentlemen’ to dominate committee elections.  The project will examine whether there was an attempt to move away – in the interests of the gentlemen – from the primary aim of early British Mechanics’ Institutions, which was to provide a basic education for young men, and to improve the skills of the labour force.  Patron C.J. La Trobe, and President, Captain W. Lonsdale were joined on the committee by eight vice-presidents, eight office-bearers, and 32 committee members – no fewer than 50 men, ranging across the social divide.  The motivation and aspirations of the men will be explored.  Why did some members prosper and some fail, resulting in a shifting of their power bases and fortunes in the early days of Melbourne’s settlement?

Special Fellowships
Not funded

Dr Gerard Vaughan
To support Dr Vaughan’s research into private art collecting and the transfer of private collections to public ownership.

Ms Susan Scollay
To support Ms Scollay’s continuing research following the exhibition Love and Devotion: From Persia and Beyond including the editing and publishing of papers from the conference held in association with the exhibition.
Berry Family Fellowship

Awarded for a project exploring an aspect of the social history of Melbourne or Victoria, based on the State Library collections. The Fellowship commemorates the contribution the Berry family made to the cultural life of Melbourne and Victoria.

Stefan Schutt
Signs of the Times: using web and mobile technologies and a signwriting company archive to explore changes in Melbourne’s west since the 1940s, and create an online social history archive.

Signs of the Times will explore Melbourne’s post-WWII suburban and industrial life through the records of signwriting firm Lewis & Skinner, whose abandoned company archive Stefan recently found at a Footscray demolition site next to his workplace.  The documents, which will be uploaded to an interactive online repository, outline 1940s and 1950s signwriting commissions for clients including Mobil (service stations), Cadbury’s, Robur Tea (milk bars, cafés) and government (Royal visit, Olympic Games).  They offer snapshots of places and lives during an era of rapid change, and include much visual material.
Redmond Barry Fellowship
This carries a grant of $20,000 and use of a room at the State Library of Victoria for up to six months.   It is designed to make use of the collections held by the State Library and the University of Melbourne and is named in honour of the common founder of both institutions.

Dr David Pear
Percy Grainger’s early years: the formation of an Australian
This project considers the formative years of Percy Grainer. It scrutinises the character traits which he believed marked him specifically as an Australian, despite the British passport he carried and the American one he was to later adopt. Finally, it questions the presumption that 1890s Australia–and Melbourne in particular–was entirely the cultural backwater which drove the culture seeker overseas in the first place.

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