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13 creative fellows share $160,000 and are set to delve deep into the collection at State Library Victoria

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State Library Victoria has announced the recipients of its 2023 Fellowships, worth a total of $160,000 plus $10,000 of in-kind support.

Supporting in-depth inquiry into the State Collection, the 2023 program will see 13 creatives, writers and scholars bring to life new projects with research, photography, musical performance, video animation and sculpture.

Projects supported by the 2023 State Library Victoria Fellowships include a performance lecture shining a light on the ethics of magical practice; a docu-series on the stories of local survivors of Malaya in WW2; photographic works based on Indigenous and non-Indigenous flora; a study of gender and power in Ludovico Ariosto’s Orlando Furioso; a series of multimedia stories about the people of regional town Moe; and a look into how human contact has changed the six iconic peaks in southern Dja Dja Wurrung Country.

Each of the year-long Fellowships comes with funding, a dedicated office in the Library’s Dome Annulus and a personal librarian to assist with the fellow’s specific research and to help unearth treasures in the collection.

State Library Victoria CEO Paul Duldig said the 2023 fellows represent a broad cross-section of talent from across the state.

“We are thrilled to announce these 13 fellows who stood out from a competitive field of 257 quality applicants. Throughout the year, each fellow will form their own fresh perspective on Victoria’s history and culture by looking deep into the Library’s collection,” he said.

“Combining that with their creative and scholarly skills, these projects promise to tap into elements of Victoria’s past that will inspire and inform the future. I can’t wait to see them unfold.”

Over the past 21 years, the Library’s fellowship program has delivered more than $2.8 million in funding, supporting more than 245 artists, playwrights, writers, poets, historians, composers and academics. To find out more visit slv.vic.gov.au/fellowships

2023 State Library Victoria Fellows

Amor Residency at Baldessin Studio ($5,000 in kind)
Available to a visual artist wishing to explore works on paper, in particular printmaking or artists’ books.

Sorcha Mackenzie, Site Constellations
Sorcha is a printmaker, artist and musician, whose practice works at the intersection of art and architecture. In her project, Sorcha will dive into the Library’s architecture collection and produce print work focussed on architectural spaces in Melbourne’s CBD that facilitate creative activity.

Berry Family Fellowship ($15,000)
A Fellowship for a project exploring an aspect of the social history of Melbourne or Victoria, based on the State Collection.

Taysha McFarland, Unheard: Memoirs from the Japanese occupation of Malaya
Taysha is an award-winning filmmaker and founder of Toprock Productions. Drawing on old Australian Newspapers, fiction and non-fiction books from the collection, Taysha will work on a documentary series to preserve the fading stories of local survivors of Malaya in World War II and explore how Malaysian-born Australians know little of the experiences of their grandparents during this time. The project was inspired by her grandmother’s stories.

Creative Fellowships ($15,000) x2
Two fellowships to Victorians responding to published or original source material from the Library's extensive collection to create new work.

Kaylene Tan, White Magic
Writer and director for film and theatre, Kaylene works between Melbourne and Singapore, inspired by places and history. Kaylene will dive into the Library’s famous WG Alma Conjuring Collection, focussing on and questioning Western magicians who conjured visions of the ‘mystic East’ in large-scale Oriental extravaganzas to create a performance lecture about magicians and magic shows in Melbourne at the turn of the 20th century.

Dr Li Zhong Zhang, An English-Chinese collection of Australian Aboriginal poems
Li Zhong will apply his professional skills in translation to develop bilingual resources for cultural and educational purposes. Drawing on the Library’s Koori Victoria Collection and the BlackWords Collection, Li Zhong plans to translate 100 Australian Aboriginal poems into Chinese language and to publish a book.

Creative Fellowships: Regional ($15,000) x2
Two fellowships to Victorians living in regional areas responding to published or original source material from the Library's extensive collection to create new work.

Prof. Barry Golding AM, Six Peaks Speak
Barry is an honorary professor at Federation University, whose academic work has been in geology, environmental science, arts and philosophy, adult education and older men’s learning and wellbeing. Barry will draw on a range of Library resources to explore how human contact, visitation and exploitation have changed the six iconic peaks in southern Dja Dja Wurrung County, all visible from his home in Kingston, 20km beyond Daylesford.

Rachel Mounsey, Moe
Hailing from Moe, photojournalist Rachel and her lifelong friend radio journalist Richelle Hunt will use the collection to investigate Moe’s social and industrial history, producing a series of multimedia stories about the town’s social fabric alongside the declining coal industry on which it was built. The stories will be shared on ABC radio, and as a photo book and exhibition.

Children’s Literature Fellowship ($15,000)
A specialist fellowship to support a project exploring aspects of children's book publishing, writing or illustrating for early years, children and young adults.

Kathy Holowko, Wild City
Kathy is a fine artist interested in the effects of urban life on our understanding of ecology. Drawing on the Library’s children’s collection, as well as its Early Naturalist and Realia collections, Kathy will create Wild City, an arts-based workshop for children where wild animals are considered citizens in urban landscapes, inspiring children to transform a miniature sculptural city into a shared habitat.

Georges Mora Foundation Fellowship ($10,000)
A fellowship for a contemporary artist to study, experiment and explore fresh thinking in their art.

Rosie Isaac, A stored charge: a material study of electrical technologies and embodied futures
Rosie is an artist and teacher with a research-based sculpture, writing and performance practice. She will draw on the collection to develop a body of sculptural work and an artist book exploring how electrification and battery technology shapes social and political imagination – linking it to the 18th century discovery of electricity, early electrification of Victoria and the current development of large battery infrastructure.

Kerri Hall Fellowship for Performing Arts ($15,000) – new for 2023
Available to creatives, artists and writers from Victoria’s Loddon Mallee region in the field of performing arts. This is a new Fellowship for 2023. Watch this video to find out more.

Dr Pia Johnson, Still: Women photographing performance
Woodend-based photographer and visual artist, Pia has collaborated with many performing arts organisations across Australia to make new artistic works for performance, exhibition, and public programs. During the fellowship she will use the Library’s extensive performing arts collection to study the way female photographers have captured performance and inform her own practice as an artist.

Redmond Barry Fellowship ($15,000)
For writers and scholars researching a project in any discipline to produce works of literature, using both the State Library Victoria and University of Melbourne collections.

Dr Julie Robarts, Gender and the intersection of media in the corpus of editions, translations, and adaptations of Ludovico Ariosto’s Orlando Furioso
Julie is a research assistant and teacher with a PhD in Italian Studies. Drawing on the Library’s Rare Books (particularly Emmerson) collection, Julie will study the ways that ideas about gender and power in Ludovico Ariosto’s (1475-1533) Orlando Furioso change between media, languages, and across time (15th – 18th century). Julie will share music based on the poem in a free concert and create a webpage about Orlando Furioso and the project.

Regional Fellowship – Marion Orme Page & Regional Arts Victoria Fellowships ($15,000) x2
Two fellowships for regional Victorians to respond to published or original source material from the Library's extensive collection, in any way they choose, to create new work.

Paul Fletcher, The industry and art of manufacturing and packaging food culture. Tales from a humble patty pan
Paul uses sound, animation, video and objects to create public exhibitions and experiences. Inspired by the Library’s Barker Cakoes collection (containing around 4800 items, mostly decorative patty pans that were made in Melbourne from the 1930s), Paul plans to create a series of short ‘audiovisual poems’ for an online and public exhibition. The series will explore the history of food manufacturing and packaging and look to the future of locally appropriate and sustainable food production – from circular patty pans to circular economies. Paul is based in Lockwood (about 20km from Bendigo).

Leisa Shelton and Marisa Sposaro, (IN)visible Library
Located in Linton (near Ballarat), Leisa is a performance artist, teacher, mentor, curator and intercultural facilitator with a practice that foregrounds collaboration and advocacy for resilient communities of practice; Marisa is a writer, activist, social worker and community enabler. Leisa and Marisa will draw on the Library's collection from the School of Braille and other Braille works to find new ways to work with Braille, creating greater knowledge and access for the public and the Library itself.

Tate Adams Memorial Residency at Baldessin Studio ($5,000 in kind)
Available to an artist to wanting to develop a limited edition or unique state artist's book.

Nicholas Hubicki, Hybrids
Nicholas is a photographer interested in the subtle and overt relationship between object, site and memory. Drawing on the Library’s books, photographic albums and glass-plate photographs from the late 19th century and early 20th century, Nicholas will develop a suite of analogue and digital photographic works based on Indigenous and non-Indigenous flora. The works will depict hybridisations of flora that could only exist in the imagination.

About State Library

State Library Victoria is Australia’s oldest public research library and one of the first free libraries in the world. As the custodian of Victoria’s history, the library has a rich collection of physical and digital items such artworks, photographs, manuscripts, books, journals, artefacts that are accessible to the public via exhibitions, online catalogue searches, podcasts and videos.