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Creative Fellowships

Our 2 Creative Fellows will create new work in any medium. Write a book, compose a piece of music, create an artwork or plan an immersive experience for the Library – imagination is the only limit!

The fellowships include:

  • $15,000 funding
  • desk space at the Library for 12 months
  • access to collections and Library staff expertise.

The funding is based on 3 months of work in the Library, either continuous or broken up over the year.

2024 recipients

Grace Vanilau – O le Toe 'Aumaiga: A Reclamation

O le Toe 'Aumaiga is an exploration of writings, journals, and images from the Victoria State Library archives that depict Fafine Sāmoa – Samoan women. The project aims to reclaim Samoan women's body sovereignty and stories through our worldview.

Grace's research will form the creative foundation for 4 new performance poetry and video works. These works will be a collaboration with Samoan women living in Melbourne (Naarm), Australia, and the motherland, Sāmoa.

Grace, an Aotearoa-born Samoan woman, lives and works on the sacred lands of the great Kulin Nation. She is a community arts and cultural development practitioner, cultural producer, and interdisciplinary artist. She advocates for creatives and communities to reclaim agency over their own voices and those of their respective communities.

Lawrence Leung – Melbourne Gothic: A Séance At The State Library Victoria

In a dark Library reading room, a chilling Séance will be re-enacted. Evoking the Victorian era's enchantment with the afterlife.

The Library’s collections will inform this immersive historical lecture and performance that examines 19th-century Melbourne's Spiritualism craze. It will explore the fascinating relationship between Frederick Deeming (a serial killer claiming to receive orders from his dead mother) and his lawyer Alfred Deakin (prominent Spiritualist and future Prime Minister).

Audiences will be transported to Melbourne's past, where history and Victorian intrigue intertwine, sparking conversations on belief and scepticism, entertainment and exploitation, and why 'Marvellous Melbourne' was a beacon for true believers and opportunistic charlatans.

Lawrence Leung is a writer, performer, illusion designer and science communicator. His work aims to bridge science and the arts, delivering fascinating ideas to the public through humour, storytelling and curiosity-driven exploration. Many of his projects attempt to uncover why and how ordinary people believe extraordinary things. His ABC documentary series UNBELIEVABLE used experiments to demystify human beliefs in phenomena like ghosts and UFOs. His one-man show Very Strange Things examined methods of fake psychics.

He also co-created Mystery Box, an immersive art installation that 'reads minds' at Science Gallery Melbourne.

Previous recipients

Learn more about the inspiring projects undertaken by past and present fellows in our fellows gallery.

  • 2022: Dr Sofi Basseghi with the project The Road to Pairidaeza, an examination of Persian literature, miniature paintings and manuscripts in the Library's collection.
  • 2022: Veisinia Tonga with the project The Darkness which will examine the accounts of Tongan contact with missionaries to illuminate pre-contact life in Tonga.
  • View previous Creative Fellows from 2003 to 2019.