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Fellowship guidelines

Please consider the points below on individual Fellowship opportunities before compiling your application. Our Fellowships are research fellowships, and are designed for applicants who are experienced researchers - either independent or professional - and familiar with using library and archival collections.

About the Fellowships

The Library's fellowships are prestigious and aim to support and foster writing, research and study. They provide money, a room and behind-the-scenes access to Library staff. Research topics have ranged from early colonisation of Australia through to investigations of contemporary life. 

For further information please refer to the Fellowship FAQ section or contact:

Education & Scholarship Coordinator

Phone: 02 9273 1910

Email:

Some guidelines for applying for fellowships at the State Library of NSW

Applicants must demonstrate a record of scholarly research and publication. These awards are for applicants who can demonstrate experience as historical and archival researchers. Previous winners of Library awards have included early career academics, independent researchers and writers and professional historians. Applicants must accurately describe which Library collections they propose to use in their project. General descriptions such as ‘Mitchell Library pictorial collections’ are not acceptable. 

While the Judging Committee understands that this list cannot be definitive at the outset of a project, applicants must be able to demonstrate that they are familiar with and can nominate appropriate parts of the collection which are relevant to their project. The judges would like to see demonstrated an understanding of the contents of nominated collections rather than simply a descriptive list. ‘Further description of project’, should be succinct and crafted with the conditions of the particular Award in mind, and with specific reference as to how the Library’s collections and services inform the project. General summaries prepared for multiple purposes are not acceptable. It would be helpful to the judges if you elaborate upon the methodology you propose to use in structuring your project, the issue you wish to primarily address, the context of the project and your awareness of existing literature in the field, and what you feel can be achieved within a year’s fellowship. Nominated referees should be knowledgeable about the applicant’s research ability and publication record. The referee must be able to talk about the applicant’s research skills rather than personal qualities.

Applications for the following fellowships must be submitted online:

  • Coral Thomas Fellowship, biennial ($75,000);
  • David Scott Mitchell Memorial Fellowship, annual ($12,000);
  • Merewether Scholarship, annual ($12,000);
  • CH Currey Fellowship, annual ($20,000);
  • Nancy Keesing Fellowship, annual ($12,000); and the
  • Australian Religious History Fellowship, annual ($20,000)

Applications for the Jean Arnot Memorial Fellowship, annual ($1000) must be completed on the downloadable form and submitted via email or post.

Coral Thomas Fellowship

The Coral Thomas Fellowship, inaugurated in 2014 in honour of Coral Kirkwood Thomas née Patrick (1920-1996), is the most significant Fellowship offered by the Library. The Library gratefully acknowledges Rob & Kyrenia Thomas and family, whose generosity has established it. The fellowship encourages deep and focused research into Australian culture, history and society, drawing on Australian and international research collections. It also will promote discussion on Australian history and culture through research which informs and engages contemporary discourse.

The Coral Thomas Fellowship will:

  • Encourage deep and focused research into Australian culture, history and society, drawing on Australian and international research collections.
  • Promote discussion on Australian history and culture through research which informs and engages contemporary discourse.
  • Enhance the national and international reputation of the State Library of NSW as an institution of major research significance.
  • Actively promote the research experiences and research outcomes of the fellowship during their tenure as fellow as well as at its conclusion.

The Coral Thomas Fellowship supports research into major questions in the humanities. Cross cultural and interdisciplinary applications are welcome. Projects proposed for the Coral Thomas Fellowship need not be limited to archival research but may also employ emerging methodologies in the digital humanities. Applicants must specify a well formed research question and provide a detailed research strategy that clearly articulates proposed methodologies, key milestones, a planned timeline and major outcomes of the fellowship.

It is expected that Coral Thomas Fellows will:

  • Be recognised scholars who are able to demonstrate a successful record of research, scholarship and significant publications and research outcomes.
  • Be able to demonstrate a high-level capacity to promote their work through a variety of media channels in collaboration with the State Library.
  • Will consider the fellowship a primary appointment during their tenure and that a substantial proportion of at least one year in the two year tenure would be devoted to the fellowship.
  • Actively promote the research undertaken during their tenure.
  • Make a major presentation about the project at the conclusion of the fellowship. This could take the form of a lecture or lecture series, a major article, book or digital resource or other form of permanent public record agreed to by the Library.
  • Engage with, and make a presentation to, Library staff so that staff will be able to benefit from their research.
  • Ensure any publications, outcomes or media coverage which result from the fellowship prominently acknowledge the support of the State Library of NSW and the Coral Thomas Fellowship.
  • Contribute to State Library of NSW print and online publications.
  • Submit, to the Mitchell Librarian, a four-page summary of their completed project, copies of any research outcomes (presentations and publications) and a bibliography.
  • Acquit their fellowship in a timely manner.

Applications will open in 2017.

David Scott Mitchell Memorial Fellowship  

The principal purpose of the David Scott Mitchell Fellowship is to encourage and support the use of the Mitchell Library's collections for the study and research of Australian history in writing and publication amongst scholars, researches and the wider community, including internationally. 

Applicants are encouraged to apply for both this fellowship and the Merewether Scholarship if their project fulfils the requirements of each.

It is expected that David Scott Mitchell Fellows will:

  • Be experienced researchers who are able to demonstrate a successful record of scholarship, publications and research outcomes.
  • Be able to demonstrate a high-level capacity to promote their work through a variety of media channels in collaboration with the State Library.
  • Consider the fellowship a priority during their tenure and that a concentrated period of effort, in the one year tenure, will be made to deliver the fellowship.
  • Actively promote the research undertaken during their tenure.
  • Make a presentation about the project at the conclusion of the fellowship.
  • Ensure any publications, outcomes or media coverage which result from the fellowship prominently acknowledge the support of the State Library of NSW and the fellowship.
  • Contribute to State Library of NSW print and online publications.
  • Submit, to the Mitchell Librarian, a four-page summary of their completed project, copies of any research outcomes (presentations and publications) and a bibliography.
  • Acquit their fellowship in a timely manner.

Applications have now closed, and will reopen in 2017.

Merewether Scholarship  

The principal purpose of the Merewether Scholarship is to encourage and support the use of the Mitchell Library's collections for the study and research of Australian history in writing and publication amongst scholars, researchers and the wider community, including internationally. The specific focus of the Merewether Scholarship will be for research associated with the nineteenth-century history of NSW.

Applicants are encouraged to apply for this Scholarship and the David Scott Mitchell Memorial Fellowship if their project fulfils the requirements of each.

It is expected that Merewether Scholarship recipients will:

  • Be experienced researchers who are able to demonstrate a successful record of scholarship, publications and research outcomes.
  • Be able to demonstrate a high-level capacity to promote their work through a variety of media channels in collaboration with the State Library.
  • Consider the fellowship a priority during their tenure and that a concentrated period of effort, in the one year tenure, will be made to deliver the fellowship.
  • Actively promote the research undertaken during their tenure.
  • Make a presentation about the project at the conclusion of the fellowship.
  • Ensure any publications, outcomes or media coverage which result from the fellowship prominently acknowledge the support of the State Library of NSW and the fellowship.
  • Contribute to State Library of NSW print and online publications.
  • Submit, to the Mitchell Librarian, a four-page summary of their completed project, copies of any research outcomes (presentations and publications) and a bibliography.
  • Acquit their fellowship in a timely manner.

Applications are now closed and will reopen in 2017. 

CH Currey Memorial Fellowship  

The CH Currey Memorial Fellowship was established in 1974 by the Library Council of NSW under the terms of the bequest of the late Dr Charles Herbert Currey, a well-known Australian historian who was conscious of the needs of research workers not supported by grants from institutions such as universities. The Fellowship is for the writing of Australian history from original sources, preferably making use of the resources of the State Library of NSW.

Applicants must demonstrate a record of scholarly research and publication. These awards are for applicants who can demonstrate experience as historical and archival researchers. Applicants must accurately describe which Library collections they propose to use in their project. General descriptions such as ‘Mitchell Library pictorial collections’ are not acceptable.

It is expected that CH Currey Memorial Fellows will:

  • Be experienced researchers who are able to demonstrate a successful record of scholarship, publications and research outcomes.
  • Be able to demonstrate a high-level capacity to promote their work through a variety of media channels in collaboration with the State Library.
  • Actively promote the research undertaken during their tenure.
  • Make a presentation about the project at the conclusion of the fellowship.
  • Ensure any publications, outcomes or media coverage which result from the fellowship prominently acknowledge the support of the State Library of NSW and the fellowship.
  • Contribute to State Library of NSW print and online publications.
  • Submit, to the Mitchell Librarian, a four-page summary of their completed project, copies of any research outcomes (presentations and publications) and a bibliography.
  • Acquit their fellowship in a timely manner.

Applications open 22 August 2016 and will close 19 September 2016.

Nancy Keesing Fellowship  

The Nancy Keesing Fellowship, honouring key Australian literary figure, author and poet Nancy Keesing (1923-1993), was established by her husband, Dr Mark Hertzberg AO, past President of the Library Council of NSW. The fellowship is for research into any aspect of Australian life and culture using the resources of the State Library of NSW.

It is expected that Nancy Keesing Fellows will:

  • Be experienced researchers who are able to demonstrate a successful record of scholarship, publications and research outcomes.
  • Be able to demonstrate a high-level capacity to promote their work through a variety of media channels in collaboration with the State Library.
  • Actively promote the research undertaken during their tenure.
  • Make a presentation about the project at the conclusion of the fellowship.
  • Ensure any publications, outcomes or media coverage which result from the fellowship prominently acknowledge the support of the State Library of NSW and the fellowship.
  • Contribute to State Library of NSW print and online publications.
  • Submit, to the Mitchell Librarian, a four-page summary of their completed project, copies of any research outcomes (presentations and publications) and a bibliography.
  • Acquit their fellowship in a timely manner.

Applications open 22 August 2016 and will close 19 September 2016.

Australian Religious History Fellowship  

The Australian Religious History Fellowship was established in 2010 with a generous endowment from an anonymous benefactor. The specific focus of the Australian History Religious Fellowship is for the study and research of any aspect of Australian religious history of any faith. The successful fellow will be based at the State Library of NSW, and is expected to be based there, although it is understood that it may be necessary to also work within other institutions and archives, and use resources outside the Library. With the Australian Religious History Fellowship, it is understood that the successful fellow will more than likely need to consult archives and records outside the Library. However it is expected that the fellow will use the Library’s resources to a significant degree. 

It is expected that Australian Religious History Fellows will:

  • Be experienced researchers who are able to demonstrate a successful record of scholarship, publications and research outcomes.
  • Be able to demonstrate a high-level capacity to promote their work through a variety of media channels in collaboration with the State Library.
  • Consider the Fellowship a priority during their tenure and that a concentrated period of effort, in the one year tenure, will be made to deliver the Fellowship.
  • Actively promote the research undertaken during their tenure.
  • Make a presentation about the project at the conclusion of the fellowship.
  • Ensure any publications, outcomes or media coverage which result from the fellowship prominently acknowledge the support of the State Library of NSW and the fellowship.
  • Contribute to State Library of NSW print and online publications.
  • Submit, to the Mitchell Librarian, a four-page summary of their completed project, copies of any research outcomes (presentations and publications) and a bibliography.
  • Acquit their fellowship in a timely manner.

Applications open 22 August 2016 and will close 19 September 2016.

Jean Arnot Memorial Fellowship  

The annual Jean Arnot Memorial Fellowship honours Jean Fleming Arnot (1903–1995) MBE, FLAA, who had a distinguished career of 47 years in librarianship and was a pioneer of equal pay and women’s rights. The fellowship is awarded to a female librarian or student of librarianship for an outstanding paper of no more than 5000 words on any aspect of librarianship. Papers focusing on innovative solutions to contemporary library issues and services are encouraged. Papers should demonstrate original thought and research. The paper should have been written within the last twelve months. The paper should not have been previously published. Papers delivered at a conference or seminar will be accepted. There is no mandated citation style: authors are advised to use that with which they are most comfortable. A copy of the winning essay will be made available on the Library’s website.

An award of $1000 will be presented to the winner at the annual Jean Arnot Memorial Luncheon. The prize is sponsored by the National Council of Women of NSW and the Australian Federation of Business and Professional Women.

Applications have now closed and will reopen in 2017. 

Please submit your paper application to: 

Mitchell Librarian and Education & Scholarship Officer 

State Library of New South Wales

Macquarie Street, Sydney NSW 2000

Phone: 02 9273 1910

Email: