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State Library Victoria becomes giant canvas for RMIT students

Media release

This is an archived media release. Links were correct at the time of publication, but may have changed or expired.

Friday 23 March 2018

State Library Victoria and RMIT University today announced a new partnership that gives RMIT students the opportunity to play their part in Vision 2020, the Library’s $88.1 million redevelopment.

27 RMIT masters and undergraduate students across architecture, communication design and fashion design will work with RMIT academics and State Library experts to create a major artwork that will span the Library’s Swanston Street entrance.

Students will draw inspiration from the Library’s vast collection and transformational redevelopment to create the large-scale work that will be unveiled in spring later this year when the Library’s Swanston Street entrance will temporarily close.

Martin Foley, Minister for Creative Industries said that partnership reflected an exciting collaboration between two of Victoria’s leading creative institutions.

“When institutions work together, our creative industries go from strength to strength. This public artwork to be located right in the heart of Melbourne's CBD will highlight the Library's transformation and showcase Victoria's up-and-coming creative thinkers.”

Kate Torney, State Library Victoria CEO, said the artwork would be a new source of inspiration for Library visitors and passers-by.

“The Library is already an inspiring space and by working with RMIT we are aiming to spark new ideas and reveal new possibilities for those coming through our doors or passing through the city.

“The Library is undergoing a once-in-a-generation redevelopment and this artwork will be a wonderful reminder of the transformation taking place as we create a library for the future.”

Professor Paul Gough, RMIT Pro Vice-Chancellor of the College of Design and Social Context, said the library, with its long history and unique collection, is an exciting partner for students hungry for real world experience.

“The multidisciplinary student team will have the opportunity to hone their creative talents working with an iconic Melbourne landmark, at a critical moment in its history.

“No doubt the students will be keen to push creative boundaries and make a real impact on the city.”

The artwork will be installed on construction hoardings while the Library’s Swanston Street entrance and ground floor is closed for construction and will be a major focal point for city visitors and commuters.

During this time, visitors will enter the Library via new entrances on Russell and La Trobe Streets, due to open in spring 2018.

The new entrances will lead to redeveloped spaces including a Welcome Zone with cafe and expanded Readings bookshop, and two new reading rooms.

The Swanston Street entrance and ground floor will reopen in spring 2019 when construction is complete. 

The Library will remain open throughout Vision 2020 construction. More information at