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2020 State Library of NSW fellowships announced

Friday 25 October 2019

Eight prestigious research fellowships totalling $216,000 have just been awarded by the State Library of NSW.

According to State Librarian John Vallance: “The State Library of NSW is committed to supporting original research that challenges what we know about our past and provides new ideas and fresh perspectives on Australia’s documented history.

“The 2020 Fellows, selected from a record number of applications, will explore a vast range of topics from media and art history, finance and feminism, through to colonialism and the environment,” says Dr Vallance.

“This year we are also very pleased to offer the biennial $100,000 Coral Thomas Fellowship, one of the most valuable fellowships offered by an Australian cultural institution, and announce the inaugural Ross Steele AM Fellowship which will focus on the Library’s pictorial collections.”

The successful Fellowship projects are:

Coral Thomas Fellowship ($100,000)

Professor Sally Young 2020 Coral Thomas Fellowship recipient

Professor Sally Young – 2020 Coral Thomas Fellowship recipient

Professor Sally Young’s project Sworn to No Masters: a corporate and political history of Australian newspapers 1941–2021 follows on from her recent major work, Paper Emperors: the rise of Australia’s newspaper empires (2019). Drawing on Library’s recently acquired Fairfax Media Business Archive, Prof. Young will write a history of the political and corporate power of Australia’s various newspaper dynasties.

Ross Steele AM Fellowship ($12,000)

Dr David Hansen’s project Pictures in the Collections of the State Library of New South Wales will focus on researching some of the individual histories of items in the Library’s vast pictorial collections, by focusing on the acquisition and/or exhibition of 50 to 100 representative works.

Dr AM Hertzberg AO Fellowship ($20,000)

Dr Ben Huf’s project Colonial Liquidity: Making money in early New South Wales will explore how Australia’s monetary system – the foundation of the colony’s economy – evolved over time, and eventually integrated Australia into the financial embrace of the English economy. He will draw on the Library’s extensive collection of early promissory notes and currency.

CH Currey Fellowship ($20,000)

Dr Rebecca Jones’ project Drought, Flood, Heat and Dust: Living with Extreme Weather in Arid Australia will look at a variety of collections including papers of the Royal Flying Doctor Service and the Australian Inland Mission, to understand the way people have encountered, and adapted to, extreme weather events in Australia.

Nancy Keesing Fellowship AM ($20,000)

Dr Sophie Robinson’s project Lesbian Sydney in the 1990s will explore Sydney’s emerging lesbian sub-culture as it became increasingly politically active and organised, drawing on the Library’s Lesbian and Gay archives and two key publications of the time, Lesbians on the Loose and Wicked Women.

Australian Religious History Fellowship ($20,000)

Associate Professor Clare Monagle’s project Christian Consciousness Raising: Magdalene Journal and Australian feminism will investigate how the Magdalene Journal served as an incubator of an emerging Christian feminism, and how it reflects upon the push by many women to be allowed to participate in the highest offices, and positions of authority, within their various faith communities.

David Scott Mitchell Memorial Fellowship ($12,000)

Dr Jarrod Hore’s project Grounding Colonial Science: William Branwhite Clarke in the field 1839–78 will explore the vast archive of a leading colonial geologist, and reflect on how he saw, and wrote about, the Australian landscape, and the impact those responses generated in his thinking about science.

Merewether Fellowship ($12,000)

Dr James Boyce’s project The Macquarie Years: the context for colonial Australia will look at competing visions of what the colony could be: Macquarie’s peasant farmers or the free settlers’ pastoral vision, overlaid with the conflict around the subsuming of Aboriginal land. This will be explored in the context of recent contention over the Appin massacre in 1816.

State Library Fellows enjoy exclusive use of the Library’s Donald and Myfanwy Horne Room for Fellows and special access to Library expertise.

The State Library’s Fellowships program is supported through the generosity of significant private benefactors through the Library’s Foundation.

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