Sam Wallman in the Special Collections Reading Room, leaning on a desk
Sam Wallman, 2023 Creative Arts Fellow supported by the Friends of the NLA.

Applications for the 2025 Creative Arts Fellowships have now closed. 

The National Library is undertaking a review of its Fellowships and Scholarships Program to ensure it meets the needs of researchers, PhD students and creators. This review may result in changes to some of the opportunities offered beyond 2025.  

Please also read Information for Applicants.

Be inspired by the work of previous Creative Arts Fellows.


Guidelines for the 2025 Creative Arts Fellowships

Creative Arts Fellowships offer $10,000 to support writers and artists to spend four weeks at the National Library researching and developing a new artistic concept, artwork or body of work inspired or informed by the collections. Two Fellowships are available:

  • Creative Arts Fellowship – using our collections, creative artists can progress or complete a new artwork or body of work. Artists may be working in any medium other than writing. This may include music, dance, visual arts, emerging or experimental artforms. 
    The Creative Arts Fellowship is supported by generous patrons of the National Library of Australia. 
  • Creative Arts Fellowship for Australian Writing – using our collections, writers working in any literary genre can progress or complete a new creative work. This may include writing for performance, poetry, fiction, creative non-fiction (which is sufficiently innovative, writerly or reflective), personal essays or graphic novels, but does not include works of general non-fiction, such as history or biography.
    The Creative Arts Fellowship for Australian Writing is supported by the Ray Mathew and Eva Kollsman Trust.

What are Creative Arts Fellowships?

The Creative Arts Fellowship and Creative Arts Fellowship for Australian Writing are for creative works inspired by the Library’s unique, rare or comprehensive collections. Works can be at any stage of development but must require direct access to the collections to progress or be completed. The final work, which does not have to be finished within the residency period, should showcase the collections in unique or interesting ways, and acknowledge their contribution.

The collections can be used to:

  • reimagine or repurpose existing materials.
  • research original sources that underpin or inspire new work.
  • arrange, adapt or transform collection content for another purpose.
  • develop an innovative artistic concept or practice.

What do National Library of Australia Creative Arts Fellows receive?

The Fellowships offer:

  • a four-week residency, to be taken in one period, which may be extended but without further funding.
  • $10,000 for use as a stipend, travel and accommodation support, and project expenses.
  • special and supported access to collections.
  • access to office facilities and a workstation in a shared space with other research Fellows.
  • high resolution copies of collection materials if required for publication or other public uses (within set limits and according to access and copyright conditions).

Note: Fellowships are awarded to an individual. Funding will be paid directly to the individual only for the purposes of supporting their Fellowship. Payments are made in week 1 of the Fellowship.  Any other arrangements between the individual and their employer are the individual’s responsibility. As Fellowship support may have tax implications, it is recommended Fellows seek professional financial advice.  

Who can apply?

To be eligible, you must be:

  • An individual creative practitioner or artist practising in a professional forum, i.e. your artistic work is available and subject to public and peer review.
  • An Australian Citizen or permanent resident.

Only one application per person is allowed. That is, you cannot apply for both a Creative Arts Fellowship and a Creative Arts Fellowship for Australian Writing.

You cannot apply if you have received a Fellowship, Scholarship or Grant at the National Library within the last five years, i.e. funding was received in one of the Library’s 2020-2024 program rounds.

You cannot apply for projects that:

  • contribute to your academic employment. Projects must be part of your independent creative practice.
  • contribute to a PhD thesis or Masters project.
  • are related to an author contract with NLA Publishing.
  • support research for works of non-fiction or literary criticism about Australian writing. These projects are supported through the NLA Fellowships program.

What are the selection criteria?

Applications are assessed against the following criteria:

  • artistic concept and its relationship with the National Library's collection
  • demonstrated professional artistic practice
  • knowledge of, and need to access onsite, the National Library’s unique, rare or comprehensive collections. Please note that collection items that have been digitised and are available online will generally not meet this criteria.
  • ability to use reference and research resources.
  • planning, including a realistic timeline.
  • capacity to communicate their creative artwork to a general audience.

What is expected of a Creative Arts Fellow?

Successful applicants will receive and must sign and return a Letter of Offer from the National Library. Fellows are required to:

  • give a live-streamed public presentation or performance highlighting the use of the collections and progress of work at the end of the residency.
  • acknowledge the support of the Library and donors in forums, performances, recordings, publications or artworks resulting from the Fellowship.
  • deposit in the Library the results of the residency. This can be a published or unpublished work, reproduction or documentation of the artwork, with open access conditions for future research use.
  • assist the Library to promote the Fellowship through media and public communications.
  • provide a report within one month of the agreed end date of the Fellowship outlining their experience. This report may be used by the Library to review, report on, and promote the Fellowships.

Contact the Fellowships Team  

For more information or to discuss your application, contact:  

Fellowships  Program Team 
+61 2 6262 1099