Current fellow: Matt Chun

Children's picture book: Safe passage

Matt's research will examine the history of Australian children's books as reflecting, or contributing to, the visual culture/semiotics of settler colonialism and White Australia Policy.

In particular, Matt will research the notion of 'ocean passage' as both a narrative archetype and contemporary Australian political anxiety, centring his research on the idea of boats, of 'safe passage' and our relationship with the sea. Matt's personal interest in this archetype stems from his great-grandfather's escape from China to Australia in 1901.

Matt's fellowship will result in three distinct, interlocking expressions of a single project, each reliant upon research conducted within the Library's Collection: the creation/publication of a children's picture book (target age 8–12); a body of watercolour drawings for exhibition; and an experimental non-fiction essay for publication.

Matt Chun is an Australian children's author, artist, illustrator and independent writer, working from his studio in regional NSW. He is currently completing his second picture book for Melbourne-based publisher Little Hare Books. HIs first, Australian birds, released in 2018, has been selected as a Children's Book Council of Australia Notable Book, and is currently shortlisted for the CBCA Award for New Illustrator.

As a writer, Matt's essays have been published by Meanjin and Overland Literary Journal. He holds a Research Masters in Creative Art (Wollongong University), where his graduating thesis examined children's art production, narrative and play.