Skip to content

The Museum is temporarily closed. See Plan your visit

7 November 2018

A National Museum program offering a life-changing experience

    Applications are open for the second international Indigenous fellowships program offered by the National Museum of Australia, Canberra, with six cultural workers to be selected for an intensive journey of professional development.

    After the success of the inaugural 2016 program aimed at Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people from remote and regional communities working in the cultural, creative and heritage sectors, the 2019 program will offer placements with the National Museum and with partner cultural institutions in Canberra, Sydney and the United Kingdom.

    The Encounters Fellowships 2019 program is tailored to each individual, with a 12 weeks’ stipend paid over an eight-month period in 2019. The program will be run every two years.

    In 2016 six cultural workers gained behind-the-scenes access to cultural heritage materials held by numerous cultural organisations in Canberra and the United Kingdom.

    Fellows gained experience in the diverse processes and practices of curatorial and exhibition development, conservation and preservation, education and digital media programs, and arts studio practice. In addition to a residency at the National Museum, fellows embarked on cultural study tours to institutions including the British Museum and The Prince’s Foundation School of Traditional Arts.

    Encounters Fellowships manager Carly Davenport Acker said, ‘The program is a bridge between Indigenous Australian cultural workers and leading Australian and international cultural institutions and staff, enabling a truly local to global exchange.

    ‘The program’s in-depth and hands-on engagement is both professionally and personally transformative, equipping fellows with new knowledge, networks and skills they can apply in their own community organisation or to enterprise,’ Ms Davenport Acker said.

    ‘We are thrilled to support the next generation of Indigenous cultural, creative and heritage workers, and to give them such an extraordinary international experience,’ said National Museum director, Dr Mathew Trinca.

    The National Museum developed the fellowships program following recommendations from the extensive community consultation conducted for the 2016 Encounters exhibition of Indigenous artefacts from the British Museum.

    Applicants must have prior and/or current experience in cultural work or the creative industries, or demonstrate involvement in their community’s cultural heritage.

    Participants will receive a generous stipend and all accommodation and travel costs will be covered.

    Interested applicants can find information on the National Museum’s website or email:

    For more information phone Lorna on 02 6208 5178 or Carly on 02 6208 5042

    Applications are open until Monday 24 December 2018.

    Media contact: Diana Streak, (02) 6208 5091 | 0422 536 064 or

2016 Fellowship recipients

Leitha Assan: ‘Following the scholarships program, I am developing projects and exhibitions that continue to contribute towards repatriating artefacts and cultural materials, in both virtual and physical forms, back to their homelands and keeping places. I hope that through my work I contribute to filling in the missing pieces from our history and their place in our future.’

Sheree Blackley: ‘The staff at the National Museum of Australia have worked so hard to equip us with skills we can take back to our communities, and for me, I would not have had the chance to experience this anywhere else. This scholarship has not only changed my life, but it will also change the lives of the people of North West Queensland.’

Kylie Caldwell: ‘The fellowship has opened many doors through growing professional and community networks and confidence. It has helped and encouraged me to just jump into the deep end. The fellowship has made me feel more courageous and willing to step outside my comfort zone. I’m more confident in following my ideas and instincts, learning as I go.’

Nadine Lee: ‘This program gave me much more confidence, knowledge and experience across multiple areas. The ultimate aim is that what I learn will help me and other Larrakia build and run our Larrakia Culture and Traditional Arts Centre. It will need highly capable, well-networked Larrakia professionals.’

Tanya Prizmic-Carter: ‘I want to share with my community and beyond the importance of culture and how it can work in museums to tell our very powerful story.’

Finola Woodley: ‘This scholarship provides me with the tools to develop and create a platform for my culture to be shared locally and with the world. My goal at the end of the day is to put back into my community the teaching, so that the next generation will never lose sight of their identity.’

Return to Top