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Fellowships FAQs

Information and answers to questions are required as follows:

  • personal details of the applicant (name, contact details, etc)
  • title of the project (up to 30 words)
  • key words (up to 5 words)
  • project abstract (up to 200 words)
  • detailed description of the project (up to 1000 words)
  • Does your proposal explore Australian Indigenous culture and/or history? (up to 500 words)
  • proposed project timeline (up to 500 words)
  • relevant research collections being utilised for the project (up to 1000 words)
  • research outcomes and results (up to 1000 words)
  • examples of your writing and research which demonstrates your previous use of library and archival collections (up to 1000 words)
  • Has this project commenced?
  • Have you applied to any other funding body?
  • referees (3)
  • How did you hear about the Fellowship?
  • biographical note.

A project timeline provides an indication of activity across the one- or two-year tenure of the Fellowship. A timeline will outline the research, writing and delivery phases of the project. If part of the project is to deliver a presentation or submit a publication, these points of activity would also appear on the timeline.

Yes. Applicants will need to provide details of three professional referees.

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.

Yes. You will be able to save your application form. It is recommended that you draft and edit your application in word processing software, then copy and paste your responses into the online form.

No. Applicants can only submit one application for a Fellowship each year but may submit applications for multiple Fellowships in a year. For example, you cannot submit two, or more, different applications for the David Scott Mitchell Memorial Fellowship (see also the next question).

Yes. Applicants will often submit applications for multiple Fellowships. For example, applicants will often submit the same application for both the David Scott Mitchell Memorial Fellowship and the Merewether Fellowship. Similarly, applicants will often submit the same application for both the CH Currey Memorial Fellowship and the Nancy Keesing AM Fellowship.

Yes. Applicants will often submit different applications for multiple Fellowships. For example, an applicant could submit the same application for both the David Scott Mitchell Memorial Fellowship and the Merewether Fellowship, but submit a different application for the Australian Religious History Fellowship.

Late applications can be accepted in exceptional circumstances. Contact the Mitchell Librarian prior to the closing date, via email at scholarship@sl.nsw.gov.au.

No. Applicants do not need to be an Australian citizen or Australian resident. Applicants are, however, expected to engage with the collections at the State Library of NSW (note the exceptions of the Coral Thomas Fellowship, the Dr AM Hertzberg AO Fellowship and the Australian Religious History Fellowship which can draw on Library collections as well as any collection at any other repository).

No. These Fellowships are for research projects undertaken by a single researcher.

Yes. Applicants should note that the Fellowships are aimed at experienced researchers and, as they are Fellowships and not scholarships, they are not designed to facilitate the completion of a course. Completing a tertiary course will not exclude an applicant from consideration but the applicant will need to present as an experienced researcher. Applicants completing a doctoral program should consider the workload of finalising a research higher degree and embarking on a new project at the same time.

Yes. Many recipients of Fellowships at the State Library of NSW have been early career researchers or independent scholars.

Yes. Applicants will need to indicate the source and value of other funding received for their project. The judges reserve the right to privilege applicants without any other source of financial support.

The Library recommends that Fellows seek financial advice that takes into account their personal circumstances. 

The Library prefers that the full payment is made available to support research project costs directly. The Library provides some administrative support to Fellows (for example, with invoicing and in liaising with the Library’s specialist staff). We also support some of the on-costs of research by providing access to a workspace for Fellows including printing facilities.

Coral Thomas Fellows have the year of their appointment and the following two calendar years to complete their project. All other Fellows have the year of their appointment and the following calendar year to complete their project.

Traditionally, Fellows undertake their research in the calendar year following their application. Fellows who apply and are appointed in 2021 are 2022 Fellows.

Some Fellows will start their research shortly after they are advised that their application has been successful. The bulk of a Fellowship project will still be undertaken in the calendar year following their application and appointment (Coral Thomas Fellows have two years to complete).

It is expected that Fellows will complete their project in the calendar year following their application and appointment (Coral Thomas Fellows have two years to complete). In some circumstances, extensions can be granted by the Mitchell Librarian. This will depend upon a number of factors including the availability of the Donald & Myfanwy Room. A completion date must be agreed on as part of the granting of an extension.

  • Fellows are expected to actively promote the research undertaken during their tenure.
  • Fellows are expected to make a presentation about the project at the conclusion of the Fellowship.
  • Fellows are expected to engage with Library staff so that staff will be able to benefit from their research.
  • Any publications, outcomes or media coverage that result from the Fellowship must prominently acknowledge the support of the State Library of NSW and the Fellowship.
  • Fellows are expected to contribute to State Library of NSW print and online publications.
  • Fellows are expected to submit, to the Mitchell Librarian, a summary of their completed project, copies of any research outcomes (presentations and publications) and a bibliography or list of resources which will be published on the Library's website.
  • Fellows will be required to acquit their Fellowship in a timely manner.
  • Coral Thomas Fellowship: $100,000
  • Ross Steele AM Fellowship: $12,000
  • Dr AM Hertzberg AO Fellowship: $20,000
  • David Scott Mitchell Memorial Fellowship: $12,000
  • Merewether Scholarship: $12,000
  • CH Currey Fellowship: $20,000
  • Nancy Keesing AM Fellowship: $20,000
  • Australian Religious History Fellowship: $20,000
  • Jean Arnot Memorial Fellowship: $1000

Fellows are able to spend Fellowship funds on living expenses, travel expenses, to buy out teaching load or any other reasonable expense to facilitate the completion of the Fellowship. Fellows are required to acquit their Fellowship in a timely manner. Note that Fellows are paid in two instalments, half on commencement (February) and half at roughly the mid-way point of the Fellowship (July).

Yes. It is acknowledged that all Fellows have outside professional and personal commitments, but it is expected that Fellows will make use of the Donald & Myfanwy Horne Room during their Fellowship.

Yes. An induction for all new Fellows takes place every February and all Fellows are encouraged to attend the group induction. Individual inductions can be arranged if necessary.

No. Fellowship outputs must support the State Library of NSW. All presentations and publications, as well as other output types, must acknowledge the support of the State Library of NSW.

No. Fellowship outputs must support the State Library of NSW. All presentations and publications, as well as other output types, must acknowledge the support of the State Library of NSW.

No. Fellowship outputs must support the State Library of NSW. All presentations and publications, as well as other output types, must acknowledge the support of the State Library of NSW.

Yes. Previous recipients of Fellowships at the State Library of NSW can apply. Proposals cannot be extensions of work already undertaken as a State Library of NSW Fellow, the proposal must seek to answer a new question. The judges reserve the right to privilege applicants who have not been a previous recipient of a State Library of NSW Fellowship.

Fellows are given exclusive use of the Donald & Myfanwy Horne Room at the State Library of NSW and behind-the-scenes access to Library staff. Fellows will also become part of the Fellows Alumni and invited to attend various events held at the State Library of New South Wales.

Applicants are encouraged to visit the State Library of NSW website and review the topics undertaken by previous Fellows at the Library.

A range of outputs will be considered, but applicants need to note that the Fellowships do not support projects that will only produce creative content.

The judges are all experienced scholars. The Mitchell Librarian serves on all judging panels.

The judges are looking for well-structured, well-written applications. The judges look at the research experience of the applicant, particularly experience working with archival or special collections. The judges look, too, at the collections being utilised and how the outputs will engage audiences of the State Library of NSW.

Yes. Fellowships are highly competitive.

Fellowship applications open in May and close in July each year. Judging takes place in August, with referee checks and other approvals completed in September. All applicants will be advised of the outcome of their application in October.

Successful applicants will be advised first, via email. Unsuccessful applicants will then be advised, via email.

All Fellowships applications are to be submitted online via the web form. Please note, there are six application forms:

  • Application for the Coral Thomas Fellowship
  • Application for the Ross Steele AM Fellowship
  • Application for the Dr AM Hertzberg AO Fellowship
  • Application for the David Scott Mitchell Memorial Fellowship and/or the Merewether Fellowship
  • Application for the CH Currey Memorial Fellowship and/or the Nancy Keesing AM Fellowship
  • Application for the Australian Religious History Fellowship.