Recipients: Dome Centenary Fellowships

The following recipients have been awarded grants of $25,000 for a period of six months:

Penelope Bartlau: Liberty of the press. Puppetry and children’s workshops

Barking Spider Visual Theatre (BSVT) is using Matilda Butters’ famous ‘press dress’, a Library collection item, to explore the life of the dress’ creator, the events at which the dress was presented during her lifetime, and the stories that appear in the newspaper panels from which the dress is made.

From this research, BSVT will create an art installation, constructed completely of newspaper. This will be presented in the dome room and also hidden in unexpected places within the Library, supported by a self-guided discovery map.

BSVT will also create a newspaper puppetry performance called Paper-crinolined ladies: a roaming performance in the dome (with artists dressed in interior-lit, dome-shaped newspaper crinolines), sound design and percussion to support the performances, and workshops for families and/or schools in puppetry and costume creation from newspaper.

David Allen: The Qubdi Project: Somali families under the dome. A community engagement and oral history project.

‘Stories are the way to feel you belong’ – Boori Monty Pryor, Murri elder and author, quoted on the ribbon of words inside the dome.

This project will reach out and engage with the Somali community of Victoria, bringing families into the Library and seeding a collection of authentic Somali materials.

Ten to fifteen Victorian Somalian families will be invited into the Library to familiarise themselves with the building and resources and engage in activities. Children (up to age 12) will be invited to create an image of their impression of the qubdi (dome). Parents and older family members will be interviewed and assisted to create an account of their family’s history prior and subsequent to their arrival in Australia.

The results of the project will be launched under the dome, and will feature the children’s drawings in an AV presentation, followed by readings of selected family stories. A significant intangible objective is to reshape Somali knowledge and perceptions of the State Library.

Carolyn Watson: The Dome Centenary Choir: a celebration of Australia’s choral music heritage. Community engagement and public performance.

This project will marry the Library’s extensive holdings in Australian choral music with the institution itself as a public venue and performance space. A community choir, the Dome Centenary Choir, will be formed, with whom Carolyn will work in a series of choral workshops.

The Library’s collection of choral music – in particular the works of Arthur Benjamin, Peggy Glanville-Hicks, Miriam Hyde and John Carmichael – will form the basis of her research.

An annotated bibliography of the Library’s holdings of Australian choral works will be compiled, and the findings translated into practice via free choral singing workshops, lectures and discovery sessions.

Alicia Sometimes, Emilie Zoey Baker and Sean Whelan: ‘Capital: the beginning of the word’ – a poetic history of the State Library of Victoria. Performance work, recorded music and installation.

Three writers, one video artist and two musicians will collaborate to produce this unique multimedia work to be developed and performed to celebrate the centenary of the domed reading room.

It will culminate in a live performance at the Library; audiences will also hear works via ‘silent disco’ headsets. Capital will also take form as a legacy audio artwork CD and video, with other legacy potentialities built into the project design.

The history of the Library will be researched to tell stories of the dome based on the past and possible futures, as well as about the HV McKay Planetarium and the Melbourne Museum (when based at the Library site).