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Harold White Fellowships

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The National Library of Australia offers annual fellowships to established researchers and writers. Established by the Council of the National Library of Australia in 1983 as the National Library Fellowships, the first Fellows commenced their research at the Library in 1984. The fellowships were renamed in honour of Sir Harold White CBE (1905-1992), the first National Librarian, in 1985.The fellowships scheme aims to promote the Library as a centre of scholarly activity and research, encourage scholarly and literary use of the Library’s collections and production of publications arising from that scholarship, and to promote the Library’s rich and varied collections. Four to seven fellowships, of periods from three to six months, are awarded annually.

Who can apply?
Fellowships are open to established Australian and international researchers and creative writers in any discipline in which the Library has strong collections. Successful applicants are generally senior scholars or writers with a strong publication track record, including publication of full length monographs. Fellowships are not intended for post-doctoral or early career researchers. More than 100 Fellowships have been awarded to scholars from a wide variety of disciplines, and to several award winning Australian creative writers, including Frank Moorhouse, Sara Dowse and David Foster.

Fellowships are not provided to assist with the completion of degree studies and applications from currently enrolled students will not be considered. Fellowships are awarded once only to each individual; subsequent applications from previous recipients will not be considered.

What are the benefits of a Fellowship?
The Library’s Fellowships give scholars and writers the means and the uninterrupted time to work with the Library’s rich collections of books, journals, newspapers, maps, music, manuscripts, pictures and oral histories. Fellows have privileged access to the Library’s materials and facilities, as well as sustained interaction with many of its staff.

What assistance is offered?
Fellows are provided with a return economy airfare to Canberra, an honorarium of $850 per week for the period of the Fellowship in Canberra, use of a fully equipped office, 24 hour access to the Library, access to most books stacks, and free photocopying and interlibrary loans. The Library also awards Honorary Fellowships to scholars and writers who do not require financial assistance (i.e. airfare and honorarium) but who would benefit from the other privileges of the Fellowships.

Expected outcomes
All fellows are required to take up their Fellowships during the calendar year for which the Fellowship is awarded and to stay in Canberra for a continuous block of at least three months, spending the majority of their Fellowship time at the Library. Fellows give a public lecture and a staff talk towards the end of their tenure, and provide the Library with a brief report on their research outcomes and their experience of the Library’s services. The Library also asks Fellows – where appropriate – to give the Library the first opportunity to publish the results of their research.

Selection criteria
Fellowships are awarded by the National Library Council, on the advice of an independent committee of representatives from Australia’s learned Academies, the Independent Scholars Association of Australia, the Australian Society of Authors and the Australian Library and Information Association. The Committee assesses applications against specified criteria, including:

  • the capacity of the Library’s collections to support the proposed research, especially the extent to which the research might be uniquely supported by the collections
  • the scholarly or creative record of the applicant as shown by publication record and – for academic applicants – positions held; and
  • referee reports.

The Committee is not bound by national research priorities, and does not consider current topicality of the proposed research. The Committee does not take into account place of residence, employment status or other support available to the applicant, with the exception that Fellowships are not awarded to applicants with a current Australian Research Council grant for the same research project.

How can I apply?
Applications for Fellowships open on 2 February and close on 30 April. No applications or changes will be accepted after that date.

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