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A creative decade on display
We want to make a confession: this year is not all about the dome!
2013 also marks the tenth anniversary of the Library’s annual Creative Fellowships program. To celebrate this milestone Rare printed collections manager Des Cowley and Senior exhibition curator Clare Williamson have put on a small but lovely exhibition A creative decade: 10 years of Creative Fellows. Des spoke to me about it.
'The beauty of our Creative Fellowships is we award them not just to historians and scholars but to playwrights, poets, musicians and composers and visual artists. For the Creative decade display we wanted to show the wide range of creative people who are awarded fellowships and also to reflect the intriguing ways they approach the collection. For example, Luke Beesley looked at maps on wind patterns to come up with a creative cycle of poetry. It’s not what you’d think of straight away!
'We were limited to displaying works that we could put in the dome pulpit cases so we tended to select books. We’ve chosen a wide array of both historical and creative works that accessed a lot of different areas of the collection. Tom Petsinis, for example, was looking at newspapers around Fitzroy in the early 1960s because he was writing a book set around his childhood in Fitzroy.
'It’s exciting for staff to get to know the creative fellows during the period they’re here. And then it’s also exciting, two or three years later, be able to go into a bookshop and see the fruits of their labours, like Chloe Hooper’s novel The engagement, which she researched at the Library.
'If you want a quirky project, look at Stephen Banham. He looked at the history of signage in Melbourne – those everyday street signs we pass every day and don’t even notice; it’s almost like reading the city in words. The end result was Characters, a beautiful book published in association with the Library. It’s fantastic for us not just to award Creative Fellowships, but to go through the whole program of seeing these projects come to fruition as books, some of which are on display in A creative decade.'