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First Nations Fellowship

Learn more about Queensland Museum’s First Nations Fellowship, which is generously supported by the Queensland Museum Foundation.


Queensland Museum's First Nations Fellowship is a professional development and research opportunity for an Aboriginal person or Torres Strait Islander person working in, or aspiring to work in, the arts and cultural heritage or galleries, libraries and museums sectors.

Through an individually tailored program of participation for 12 months, the Fellow will develop a research project exploring Queensland Museum’s collections to create and document new knowledge. This includes, but is not limited to, our Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander collections—the Fellow may also choose to explore other Queensland Museum collections where they can contribute First Nations knowledge and new perspectives, for example by researching our extensive Biodiversity & Geosciences collections.

Access to collections across our museums will enable three-way learning and knowledge sharing between Queensland Museum staff, the Fellow and their community, facilitating contemporary interpretation of Indigenous cultures and histories and the creation and documentation of new knowledge about objects, artefacts and specimens held in Queensland Museum’s collections.

Applications for the 2024 First Nations Fellowship have now closed.


Queensland Museum is the custodian of rich and diverse collections of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander artefacts, art and histories.

Queensland Museum recognises that First Nations peoples have rights to access, control and maintain their cultural heritage, also known as Indigenous Cultural and Intellectual Property (ICIP) rights.

With appropriate consultation and approvals from community, the Fellow will have access to a range of collections that may have connections to their community. Through their research, the Fellow may uncover new information and insights that enrich our knowledge of the collection.

The Fellowship is founded on mutual learning and exchange principles and will encourage strong collaboration and knowledge-sharing between Queensland Museum, the Fellow and their elders and communities—it is an expectation that the Fellow will share outcomes of their research project with the communities of origin which the collection items are connected to.

The Fellowship experience will include:

  • facilitated access to go behind-the-scenes to explore cultural heritage materials for a research project (and/or other collections relevant to the research project)
  • advice from Queensland Museum staff on how to research diverse collections
  • guidance and supervision from a dedicated Queensland Museum staff member (curator or collection manager), with experience relevant to the project
  • general support and cultural guidance from the Queensland Museum First Nations team
  • access to staff expertise to learn about museum-led practices and processes such as conservation, collection management and curation.


Applications are accepted from Australian citizens or permanent residents over the age of 18 who are of Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander heritage, identify as Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander and are accepted as such by the community in which they live or have lived.

You may reside anywhere in Australia. However, it is expected that a portion of your fellowship will occur onsite at Queensland Museum Kurilpa in Brisbane and possibly other Queensland Museum locations (Ipswich, Toowoomba, Townsville).

Applications are accepted from any discipline or professional background for projects that involve research using Queensland Museum’s collections. This includes but is not limited to researchers, artists, creatives, filmmakers, digital media practitioners, musicians and composers, curators and arts professionals, writers, independent scholars and other creators.

Applications from individuals or co-applicants (maximum of two individuals) only are accepted. Co-applicants must share the stipend.

Projects that have started or are partly funded through another body are eligible. If your project has received other sources of funding, please indicate this in your application. If you are currently in receipt of a funded fellowship, bursary, scholarship or residency from another institution, please also indicate this in your application.

If you are a Queensland State Government employee, please provide evidence of the support of your manager (email or letter) with your application.

  • People who are not Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander.
  • People who are not Australian citizens or permanent residents.
  • People who reside outside Australia.
  • Applications from university or Australian Research Council (ARC) research teams will not be accepted.
  • Current Queensland Museum employees, Queensland Museum Board members, Queensland Museum Foundation trustees, and members of the Queensland Museum Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Consultative Committee are ineligible to apply.

We expect the fellowship to commence in April 2024 and run for 12 months. Research is self-paced.

Applications must be for a research project using Queensland Museum’s collections and should address:

1. Experience working with First Nations Communities and Cultural Heritage
Applicants should outline any prior experience working with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities on cultural, heritage or creative projects, cultural programs or events.

Examples of skills, knowledge and experience could include:

  • delivery of projects or programs which revive cultural practice, educate and/or build on cultural knowledges
  • delivery of creative arts or storytelling projects using visual arts, craft, dance, music, performance, design, drama, film, digital media/digitisation and/or online platforms
  • researching, recording or producing community-based cultural heritage projects, publications, programs or events
  • Indigenous Knowledge centre, community keeping place, art centre and arts worker programs
  • revitalisation of language programs
  • collections management and exhibition development
  • educational programs, publications or products.

2. The proposed research project
Applicants should outline the proposed research project and address:

  • what is its purpose?
  • who are the stakeholders?
  • how will it benefit Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities?
  • how will you engage with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander community stakeholders?
  • what are the intended project outcomes? For example, how might the project:
    • strengthen capabilities of local community members
    • foster cultural exchange and document new knowledge about Queensland Museum’s collections
    • assist in making Queensland Museum’s collection more accessible to First Nations communities
    • revitalise culture and cultural practices
    • educate audiences.
  • do you anticipate any project outputs, for example academic papers, a publication, an exhibition, website, workshop?

3. Benefits of the Fellowship

  • How would the Queensland Museum First Nations Fellowship benefit you and your work, now and in the future?
  • How would your participation benefit Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander community stakeholders?
  • What new knowledge, skills and connections would you like to develop during the program?

  • Applications are checked for completeness and eligibility by Queensland Museum staff.
  • Eligible applications are provided to a judging panel comprising Queensland Museum staff and external independent professionals.
  • Judges assess the applications against the selection criteria.
  • Judges determine a shortlist and may request an in-person interview with shortlisted applicants for more information.
  • Judges award the applicant with the highest merit against the selection criteria.
  • Queensland Museum reserves the right not to award a Fellowship if no suitable applications are received.

Successful applicants will be notified in March ahead of a public announcement.

You may request feedback.

The judges may ask you to attend an interview if they need more information about your application.

You will have 12 months to complete it.

During your fellowship, you will be expected to complete some agreed deliverables (such as progress reports, blogs, staff and public presentations). You may also be required to deliver your stated outcomes.

No. Late applications will not be accepted.

The First Nations Fellowship stipend is $20,000.

Specific deliverables will be confirmed with the successful applicant prior to commencing their project. In general, the Fellow will be expected to:

  • contribute at least one (1) article related to their research project to Queensland Museum’s blog or other relevant Queensland Museum publications
  • participate in at least one (1) Queensland Museum public programming initiative
  • provide two (2) progress reports (at 3-month and 8-month project milestones)
  • provide a short report and testimonial at the conclusion of the Fellowship, outlining outcomes and benefits of the experience
  • participate in creating a digital story or filmed presentation about the Fellowship, if required
  • participate in publicity and stakeholder engagement opportunities, such as media interviews, social media activities or private events, if required
  • ensure research outcomes and gathered knowledge relating to collection objects are accurately documented in Queensland Museum’s records management system and digital assets management system, in collaboration with Queensland Museum staff
  • share outcomes and information with your community and / or with the communities of origin, to which the collection items are connected to
  • ensure outcomes associated with the Fellowship research project acknowledge Queensland Museum and the Queensland Museum First Nations Fellowship program.

Expenditure of stipend is at the discretion of the Fellow to support them during their project.

There is an expectation that some of your time will need to be spent onsite at Queensland Museum so you can access our diverse collections and staff expertise.

Yes. Induction will include workplace health and safety induction, building and collections tour, and familiarisation with workspaces. You will also meet the First Nations team and other key Queensland Museum staff and receive a general orientation to support you to begin on your Fellowship project.

Yes! Anyone can apply who meets the eligibility criteria.

Yes. Applications are accepted from individuals or co-applicants (maximum of two individuals). Co-applicants will share the stipend.

Yes. Some of your time will need to be spent onsite at Queensland Museum so that you can access our collections and staff expertise. You will need to arrange and fund your travel to Queensland Museum.

Yes. Please indicate in your application what funding you have received, and what stage your project is at and how the additional funding will benefit the final outcome of the project.

Yes. Your project may be at the beginning or already in progress. Please indicate what stage your project is at in your application.

Yes. You must be an Australian citizen or permanent resident and you must reside in Australia and be able to meet the deliverables of the Fellowship.

Please submit an Expression of Interest through the Queensland Museum website.

Express interest

To apply you must be of Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander descent, identify as an Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander person and be accepted as such by the community in which you live or have lived.

Your application should address the selection criteria and include:

  • two (2) referees, please note one (1) referee must be a community letter of support
  • evidence of citizenship or permanent residency (if not born in Australia)
  • Curriculum Vitae/ resume (maximum 3 A4 pages)
  • short description of your proposed project and its relevance, including details of what stage the project is at, if it is an existing project rather than a new project
  • short description of how your project will explore, research, interpret, and respond to Queensland Museum’s Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander collections or other Queensland Museum collections
  • your intended project outcomes
  • if applicable, please include details of other funding for the project and how the Queensland Museum First Nations Fellowship would assist your project
  • you may also supply additional material to support your application, such as letters of support.

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