In the previous article, Austin Tseng and Tess Scholfield-Peters, shared their experiences of studying at the National Library as part of the Summer Scholars program. In the second instalment, Anita Gowers and Suzannah Henty share their experiences. 

Anita Gowers is the recipient of the 2022 Carol Moya Mills Summer Scholarship. Her project examines nineteenth-century Australian picture frames to create a social and historical narrative of frames within nineteenth century Australia. 

A woman in a white shirt and a face mask observes a painting in a gilded gold frame
Anita Gowers, 2022 Carol Moya Mills Summer Scholar, in the National Library's picture stacks. Image: National Library of Australia

‘Access to the National Library of Australia's collection has been invaluable to my research. The primary source material provided a springboard for an enormous amount of additional material,’ Anita says. 

‘Prior to the Summer Scholarship I had had little experience with family history. Following a presentation from one of the family history librarians I have drawn on the significant number of family history online resources. With these online resources I have traced early framers and have uncovered links that existed in Britain and elsewhere on continental Europe.’  

‘I was also surprised to find remarkable material in nineteenth-century manuals on household taste as well as pattern books.’ 

‘The summer scholarship has both expanded and accelerated my research. My family and friends who I have spoken to all comment that I am "buzzing". The resources at the NLA have far exceeded my expectations and the friendliness of all staff has been amazing. I am so grateful to them all.’ 

Suzannah Henty is one of the recipients of the Norman McCann Summer Scholarships. Her research examines the history of solidarity in anticolonial political organizations in the 1970s focusing on trans-national exchanges between Israel-Palestine and Australia. 

A woman in glasses uses a computer at a desk
Suzannah Henty, a 2022 Norman McCann Summer Scholar, in the National Library. Image: National Library of Australia

‘My eagerness to examine the personal papers of Ali Kazak, the first Palestine Liberation Organisation representative in Australia, and my motivation to apply to the Summer Scholarship relates to a much larger research project on the history of settler-colonialization and its relationship to contemporary decolonial art,’ Suzannah says. 

‘An unexpected avenue of research I pursued while at the NLA included First Nations Periodicals. Of particular interest was community-run and grassroots publications. Included in the collection of First Nations periodicals that I studied were Black News, Bunji, Black nation: a national black newspaper, Black, a newspaper that was dedicated entirely to supporting the Aboriginal Embassy and the Black news service, a newspaper published by the Black Resource Centre in Fitzroy under the directorship of Cheryl Buchannan.’ 

‘By studying First Nations periodicals, I was able to better understand the trans-continental nature of the anti-imperial and Black Power movements during the 1970s.’ 

‘During my time at the Library, I discovered new and unexpected material that expanded my research field. The experience gave me a "bedrock" of knowledge and resource material that I will develop into larger research projects throughout my career.’ 

‘A major outcome of this experience was a transformation of how I have defined the concept of "trans-local solidarity". Further, this opportunity provided invaluable insight into the life of a researcher, given our proximity to work nearby well-established scholars. The material I discovered, and the connections made while at the NLA and Canberra more broadly made for a deeply enriching experience.’ 

Applications for the 2023 program are now open.