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Inaugural Creative in Residence exhibition

“occupation studies” is an installation of audio-visual works made by Tahlia Palmer during the first Creative in Residence Program at the Victorian Archives Centre.

When: 20 June - 13 July 2024

Hours: 9am – 5pm weekdays + 10am – 4:30pm on Saturday 29 June and Saturday 13 July 2024

Where: Victorian Archives Centre, 99 Shiel Street, North Melbourne


Gallery space with glass cabinets, benches, televisions and a large wooden structure


Palmer is an interdisciplinary artist of Murri and European descent, living in Narrm / Melbourne, who explores history, identity and perception. She works to interrogate the impact of colonisation on people and Country, and to unpack and heal inter-generational trauma in her own family. 

In February, Palmer was selected as the first Creative in Residence at Victoria's State Archives. Following a competitive judging process of more than 70 applications from artists, musicians and writers across the state, our independent judging panel were impressed with Palmer’s demonstrated ability to navigate archival materials with sensitivity and appreciation for the power of public records in storytelling. 

Over the past three months she has been using this residency to research into Public Record Office Victoria's land and water management records, learning "glimmers of intimate details of the bureaucratic processes which enabled bending and breaking of Country according to biopolitical racism and profit driven directives." These explorations have resulted in a series of hypnotic video works that "invite audiences to reflect on their relationship with history, Country, and the socio-economic disparity on this continent."



About Public Record Office Victoria

Public Record Office Victoria (PROV) is the archive of State and Local Governments in Victoria. We hold over 100 km of digital and physical records from 1836 to the present day, from maps, plans and photographs, to written documents, files, and books. Many records are accessible to the public either online or for viewing in our Reading Room in North Melbourne. Our records include passenger lists, wills and probate documents, First Nations records, coronial inquests and court records, education, health, railway records, old maps and historic photographs of Victoria and Melbourne. For more examples of the types of records we hold please look at the following online resources:

Look history in the eye (downloadable booklet with examples of the stories within our collection)

Flickr albums (images from our live events and our photographic collections)

Popular topics (search tools for finding records by topic)

YouTube channel (video resources and recordings of our talks)

Online exhibitions (photographic exhibitions that use our collection)

Photographic collections (search for images within the different series)

Maps (search for historic maps)


Victorian Archives Centre
The Victorian Archives Centre: exterior, gallery, reading room and archival repository.


What is the Creative in Residence Program?

The Creative in Residence Program is a paid opportunity for a creative person in Victoria to use the State’s public archives as a starting point or feature in a new creative work. The program is designed to provide a professional opportunity for a creative outcome that showcases the value and potential of using archival records. The successful applicant (the Creative) will be able to access public records on-site or remotely online to develop and create a new body of work, and will be given research support and guidance from programming and collection staff for 3 months during their residency.

Applications can be submitted by artists, musicians, creative writers, performers, photographers or creative collectives - who can demonstrate the value of our records in a unique creative response. The finished work(s) must have a public outcome, for example, something we can share online, or an exhibition or performance at the Victorian Archives Centre, or other public location in Victoria. We’re open to new ideas and challenges.

You’ll also need to document your creative process from initial inspiration to completion, so that we can share regular updates through our online channels. This could be in the form of video footage or photographs, alongside working drawings, journals or writing.

The residency takes place at the Victorian Archives Centre in North Melbourne during 2024 and requires an expected time commitment equal to 3 months full time, along with an expected exhibition timeframe of within 12 months. Please read the FAQ section below for commonly asked questions.

Submissions have closed for the 2024 Creative in Residence. Please check back here for updates about future call-outs.


What is PROV looking for?

PROV is seeking original projects that make significant use of PROV’s collections in the creative work and process. We are open to all artists or collectives who can demonstrate a commitment to their creative practice. We’re particularly interested in applicants who wish to re-contextualise historic records for contemporary conversations, and projects which aim to explore under-represented perspectives. The final work must feature our records or clearly draw inspiration from PROVs archival collection. Applications should demonstrate how both the work-in-progress and final project outcomes will engage audiences.

A panel of external judges will assess all applications within the following criteria:

  • Proposal concept.
  • Experience and skills.
  • How the work will connect to PROV's archival records.
  • Potential to encourage engagement with the State collection in ways that are meaningful for Victoria’s diverse communities.
  • The applicant has demonstrated how their project is achievable within the timeframe of 12 months.


Who can enter? 

  • Applications are open to Australian citizens and permanent residents
  • All forms of creative expression and creators working either in collaboration or independently are eligible to apply.
  • Applicants must be able to demonstrate an ongoing commitment to their creative practice.
  • Projects that have already commenced, are supported by other funding bodies, or are covered by a publishing contract, are eligible to apply but must demonstrate an alignment to the same end piece of work, as well as the goals of this creative residency program.
  • Projects that are supported by university-derived funding are not eligible to apply.
  • Projects that have planned public outcomes within the 12 month timeframe, whatever the format, are desirable.


Why be involved?

The PROV Creative in Residence Program is an opportunity to explore the state’s rich archival resources with personal assistance from PROV staff and a dedicated workspace for viewing records at the Victorian Archives Centre in North Melbourne.

The Victorian Archives Centre has a gallery (available from April through to 26 July 2024 or a negotiated time during 2025) and a performance space that seats up to 100 (available throughout the year), which can be utilised by the Creative. PROV will also promote the project through our online channels.

The Creative receives a professional fee of $15,000 (including GST) paid in two instalments, plus a budget of up to $10,000 (including GST) for resources needed to deliver the project, paid upon delivery of invoices. These resources might include:

  • Tools and materials
  • Transportation or installation of work
  • OHS and risk management requirements
  • Advertising outside of PROV’s usual channels
  • Costs associated with an exhibition launch

Creative in Residence FAQ

Who can apply?

Anyone over 18, residing in Victoria, working in any creative discipline, including, but not limited to: digital media, visual arts, music, dance, theatre, creative writing.


Can a team of creatives apply?

Yes, we accept proposals by groups or collectives, but please note on your application the main contact person. The $15,000 fee will be paid to them and it will be their responsibility how this is distributed to the group. Please note that commercial businesses cannot apply.


Can I submit more than one application?

You can only submit one application, unless you are part of a group. In this case you may submit one proposal as an individual and one from the group.


Can I submit a late application?

No, late applications will not be accepted. The submission deadline is Tuesday 31 October 2023 at 9am.


When will applicants be notified?

We’ll let all applicants know whether they have been shortlisted by Monday 20 November 2023. The shortlisted applicants will then be notified of the outcome by Thursday 14 December 2023.


Do I need to pay tax on the payments?

PROV recommends that applicants seek financial advice that considers their personal circumstances.


Do I need to provide referees in my application?

No, referees or references are not required. However, if your project involves any external groups, you’ll need to include letters of support from them.


What is the residency period and is there any flexibility?

The residency is for 3 months (38 hours a week) or the equivalent in time. It can be taken at any point from 2 January - 20 December 2024 and does not need to be consecutive. For example, you may choose to come in 2 days a week for 30 weeks. We also recognise that some outcomes may occur after your residency has ended. We encourage you to keep in touch and share your ongoing projects with us.


Will I still have access to my workspace at the Victorian Archives Centre after I have submitted my project?

If you would like to continue researching with PROV records, you are welcome to use your workspace until Friday 20 December 2024, even if you have submitted your project earlier. Note that the space can not be used for a general workspace.  


What am I expected to deliver during my residency?

  • Provide two progress updates, either face-to-face or via online conferencing.
  • Be available for internal and external media interviews and contribute content to promote and showcase the program publicly through PROV’s channels (website, social media, events, publications).
  • Grant PROV first right of publication in any format of the results of research or creative endeavour.
  • Acknowledge the support of PROV and use PROV branding in any publication or promotion of the residency project.
  • Submit a short report at the conclusion of the residency detailing the benefits of the experience.
  • Documentation of the project throughout the creative process for us to use on social media, providing our followers with regular updates about the project. These work-in-progress updates are as important to the project as the final work.
  • A final work or works, which could take the form of a performance, a physical or digital exhibition, or publication.


What will the Creative be provided with?

  • A $15,000 (including GST) fee paid in 2 instalments. $7500 on signing the contract and $7500 at the completion of the project. (For projects completed before 15 June 2024, the Creative will be paid the 2nd instalment by July 2024.)
  • In addition to the fee, the Creative will receive up to $10,000 in additional expenses required for the project. These will be paid on receipt of invoices. Note: this budget is available from 2 January – 15 June 2024.
  • A workspace at the Victorian Archives Centre (including Wi-Fi), which the Creative will be able to access Monday – Friday, as well as every second and last Saturday of the month, 10am to 4:30pm.
  • Access to PROV staff who can assist you with your archival research.
  • The use of the VAC Gallery, in the lobby of the Victorian Archives Centre from April-July 2024 or a negotiated time in 2025 for an exhibition or performance.
  • The use of the Gurrowa Conference Room at the Victorian Archives Centre for a performance (seats up to 100 people).
  • Promotion of the Creative’s project through PROV’s online channels.


What happens to my intellectual property and my work?

Copyright for all work(s) created for the Creative in Residence Program will remain with the creator. PROV may use documentation or images of works for marketing, promotional and reporting purposes. Entering into a copyright agreement is a condition of being funded.

PROV may also choose to exhibit any original artworks or documentation by the Creative up to 31 December 2024. After this date any original works held at PROV must be returned to the Creative, unless an extension has been granted by the Creative prior. See more details about copyright related to this program see: Copyright for artists interested in Victorian public records or archives. 


Who is on the judging panel?

Applications will be assessed by an independent panel of at least 3 members. Judges appointed to the panel bring together a range of expertise in the fields of archival research and creative practice.


Can I receive feedback on my application?

Unsuccessful applicants are able to request judges notes on their application by emailing us at after 14 December 2023.


What are PROV’s cultural protocols for working with First Nations content?

Any residency application that has a First Nations focus or First Nations content of any kind must demonstrate a connection to the First Nations communities relevant to the project. This could be in the form of either a letter of support (from a member of the First Nations community) or a partnered or joint residency application. Observing and following cultural protocols is necessary to ensure the cultural integrity of a project.


How will accessibility needs be accommodated?

The Victorian Archives Centre is wheelchair accessible (including lifts and toilets) and has a free all-day carpark, entry off Macaulay Road, which includes 2 disabled parking bays. There's also disabled street parking out the front of our building on Shiel Street (please note street signage for times). Assistance and Guide Dogs are welcome. If you have accessibility needs and have questions about the residency, please email us at


What if my question is not answered?

If you would like any further information, please come to one of our Information Sessions (details at the bottom of the page) or email us at, with “Creative in Residence Program  - Application question” as the subject.

Important Dates


Information Sessions - These were held on the 21 and 22 September 2023 view a recording of one of the sessions:

Submission deadline - The deadline for applications is Tuesday 31 October 2023, 9am.

Shortlisting - We’ll let all applicants know whether they have been shortlisted by Monday 4 December 2023.

Interviews - Shortlisted applicants will be interviewed by Friday 15 December 2023.

Creative in Residence chosen - The successful applicant will be selected and all shortlist notified by Friday 22 December 2023.

The residency - This can be taken any time from Tuesday 2 January 2024 through to Friday 20 December 2024 and requires a time commitment equal to 3 months full time (38 hours a week). This time can be consecutive, or the hours can be spread out across the year. Please keep in mind the program will require the final work to be exhibited ideally within that 12 month timeframe.


How to apply

Applicants need to fill in the application form (link below), save it as a pdf, and email it to with "Creative in Residence Program" and their full name as the subject. Please read the FAQ section above for commonly asked questions, if you are not sure if we have records relevant to your interest area please feel free to email us ahead of your application.

Your proposal will include:

  • Your full contact details.
  • Your bio and description of your practice.
  • Why you are interested in applying.
  • The topic you’re interested in exploring, including ideas for what kind of records you might use (exact citation details are not required).
  • How your project will utilise the records.
  • Your proposed dates for the residency.
  • Links to where we can view your recent work online. 
  • If your project involves any community groups, venues etc, you’ll need to also include letters of support from them.

Three shortlisted applicants will then be offered interviews, from which the successful applicant will be chosen.


Information Sessions

Information Sessions - These were held on the 21 and 22 September 2023 view a recording of one of the sessions:


Material in the Public Record Office Victoria archival collection contains words and descriptions that reflect attitudes and government policies at different times which may be insensitive and upsetting

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples should be aware the collection and website may contain images, voices and names of deceased persons.

PROV provides advice to researchers wishing to access, publish or re-use records about Aboriginal Peoples