Fellowships and Scholarship

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James Sykes Battye Memorial Fellowship

The Fellowship honours the legacy of librarian and historian James Sykes Battye, Chief Librarian of the State Library of Western Australia from 1894-1954. Established through the Leah Jane Cohen Bequest, the Fellowship aims to enhance understanding of Western Australia through research based on the State Library’s heritage collections, particularly the Battye Library. The Fellowship was established in 2006 to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the J S Battye Library of Western Australian History.

Past J S Battye Memorial Fellows

Dr Ethan Blue - The Deaths in Custody Watch Committee of Western Australia: A Living History.

During his fellowship, Ethan progressed his manuscript detailing the history of the First Nations Deaths in Custody Watch Committee of Western Australia. This part of his research focused on the committee records held by the State Library.

Dr Anne Scrimgeour - Striking for Rights, writing the Strike: the Pilbara Aboriginal and Cooperative Movement 1945-1960.  

Anne’s research used the State Library’s Western Australian collections to investigate the 1945-1960 Pilbara Aboriginal Strike and Cooperative movement. She explored the Battye Library collections to reveal how people like Katharine Susannah Prichard, J. K. Ewers, Joan Williams and Bert Vickers wrote about these events. Anne also investigated the activism of significant figures such as Nyangumarta woman, Daisy Bindi. This research informed State Library exhibitions associated with the 1967 Referendum 50th anniversary.

Ian Reid - History’s Grist and Fiction’s Mill.  

Ian’s project explored the challenges and opportunities for creative writers of historical fiction. He argued that well researched historical fiction, written with respect for historical evidence can be an effective means of introducing larger audiences to Western Australian history and stories.

Clint Bracknell - Wirlomin Noongar Language and Stories.  

Clint’s research was focused on the reconstruction and translation of Noongar songs from the unpublished notes of Daisy Bates. He has been able to identify and profile a number of Noongar singers and composers from the early 1900s. His work offers insight into the resilience of Noongar singing traditions and contributes to the ongoing language maintenance and intergenerational transmission of language. This work was part of a larger Noongar language project which aims to create new Noongar language resources.  While Battye Fellow Clint gave a number of public talks, including Koora koorliny, maya dalanginy and Nadj Nidj Maaya.

Jane Davis - Longing or Belong? Finding Home in Colonial Western Australia.  

Jane set out to challenge widely held assumptions about settlers and the Australian environment. She researched twenty one colonists, who settled in the South West between 1829 and 1907; she looked at the extent to which they developed a sense of home and belonging through their relationships and perceptions of the new landscapes encountered.  Some of her findings highlighted State Library resources and gave insight into the response of colonists to their new home.  Jane presented a number of public talks, sharing her research, methodology and findings. She also curated the Finding Home exhibition at the State Library in 2012.

Sue Graham-Taylor - Swan River Stories.  

Sue studied the history and environment of the Swan River, focusing on Perth Water – the area of the river approximately from Kings Park to the Causeway.  At the completion of her fellowship, Sue provided an overview of the environment, and social and political history of Perth Water. She profiled State Library resources and made it a useful tool for those interested in the general history of Perth Water.  In addition to this Sue also presented public talks and hosted a public forum, where members of the Perth community were invited to share their memories and stories of the Swan River.


James Sykes Battye Creative Fellowship

The Creative Fellowship is open to artists and creative practitioners of any discipline across all contemporary art forms, and seeks to support creative engagement with the State Library’s heritage collections.

The aim of the Creative Fellowship is to enhance engagement with the Library’s heritage collections and provide new and innovative experiences for the public through the development of creative works.

The 2016 and 2018 Creative Fellowships were supported by the Copyright Agency’s Cultural Fund.

Past J S Battye Creative Fellows

Steven James Finch and Gabby Loo - Oracle Bone: Speculative Migrant Ethnobiographies

The 2018 Creative Fellowship was awarded to Steven James Finch and Gabby Loo for their project 'Oracle Bone: Speculative Migrant Ethnobiographies'. Steven and Gabby’s project focused on Asian migrant lineage and was envisioned as a project of collaborative speculative autoethnography, which invited members of Asian communities to discuss their experiences as settler migrants in WA. Over the course of the fellowship they focused on confronting acts of epistemicide and the suppression and erasure of the histories of migrant Australians. This culminated in Seasons, Histories and Hopes: Imagined Migrant Futures, a group exhibition which was exhibited at the State Library in 2019.

Dr Nicola Kaye and Stephen Terry - Tableau Vivant and the Unobserved. 

Nicola and Stephen were interested in exposing Western Australia’s layered social history within the State Library’s Western Australian photographic collection through an interactive digital media art installation. They juxtaposed historical photographs with contemporary images of Perth, revealing the interconnectedness of Western Australia’s past and present stories. Their collaborative work Tableau Vivant and the Unobserved was exhibited at the State Library in 2017.


Kay Poustie Scholarship

The Kay Poustie Scholarship enables a library professional in Western Australia to undertake study locally or internationally to explore library services and best practice that can be applied to public libraries in WA.

The scholarship is a partnership between the State Library of Western Australia and Public Libraries WA Inc (PLWA). ALIA West and numerous personal donors are also supporters of the scholarship.

The 2020 Scholarship

The Kay Poustie Scholarship for 2020 will not be awarded due to the COVID-19 restrictions on travel.

Past scholarship recipients and their scholarship outcomes:
Last updated on: 14 April 2021