NMA ANU Summer Scholars Program 2024

NMA ANU Summer Scholars Program 2024
Aerial view of the National Museum of Australia on Acton Peninsula, Canberra. Photo courtesy of the National Museum of Australia.
Thursday 24 August 2023

The National Museum of Australia in partnership with the Humanities Research Centre at the Australian National University is delighted to offer a Summer Scholars program for 2024.


The scheme provides two scholarships for students who have finished their Honours year (or in their final semester) or are undertaking an early-stage postgraduate program – either Masters or first year PhD students.

Scholars are expected to be in attendance in Canberra from 15 January to 23 February 2024.

The program is most suited to students enrolled in history, museum, anthropology, material culture, environmental or Indigenous studies, however applications from students specialising in any HASS field relevant to the nominated project themes will be considered. 

Applicants will need an excellent academic record and referee report, as well as an ability to think imaginatively and work collaboratively. While a background in museums or collections-based research is not essential, you will need a willingness to engage with the subject. If cultural history is your interest, you will gain invaluable experience by working with some of Australia's leading experts in the field and gaining unique access to our core research sites, resources, and networks.

Each scholar will be allocated a project relating to the NMA or HRC’s research interests. For six weeks, you will work across the resources and facilities of both institutions to develop a research outcome. At the end of the scholarship period scholars will deliver a short public presentation and an 800 word blog post on their project. The blog posts will be housed on the NMA and HRC websites.  Each scholar will be allocated a primary supervisor from either the NMA or ANU to oversee their research.

Research projects for 2024:

  • Identify and research queer stories in the NMA’s National Historical Collection. Undertake queer archival research on a particular collection in the National Historical Collection, and apply a queer theoretical lens to other objects in the National Historical Collection.
  • Focus on a collection or collections from within the Museum’s rich car and motoring collections to investigate what they say about Australia’s social and cultural history.
  • Bush Medicine and the Collection. How does the NMA collection connect to bush medicine and what objects can potentially display the extensive use of Australian native plants by First Nations people and early settlers.
  • Botanical Style: looking closely at key objects acquired in the NMA’s recent Trevor Kennedy acquisition, how are Australian native plants displayed on everyday items such as dinner plates, teacups, cutlery and other items, and what does this say about Australian culture and society at the time they were created.

Scholars outside the ACT will be provided with accommodation for the scholarship period (15 January – 23 February 2024). ACT scholars are expected to stay in their own homes.

A travel bursary is also available to non-ACT scholars to contribute to the cost of travel to and from Canberra. Current travel rates may mean that the full cost is not completely covered by the bursary.

All scholars will be paid an honorarium of $600 per week for the duration of the scholarship (provided they are not in receipt of a regular, full-time income).

The application requires:

  1. A biographical statement (300 words max)
  2. A proposal (400 words max) that includes a description of why you have applied for this scholarship and why you are drawn to work on the research project areas you have nominated.
  3. A current Academic Transcript
  4. A short sample of recent writing or digital work (either academic or public)
  5. One academic letter of reference (to be provided directly to the NMA/HRC by the referee)

Applications will open on 1 September 2023.
The application form will be available to download from this page and at our Pre-doctoral Research page from 1 September. 
Applications are due by Friday 13 October 2023

For further information or inquiries, please contact:

Professor Kylie Message
Head, Humanities Research Centre
Australian National University

Dr Martha Sear
Senior Curator, Research and Partnerships
National Museum of Australia


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Updated:  11 September 2023/Responsible Officer:  Head, Centre/Page Contact:  CASS Marketing & Communications