Tuesday, November 17th, 2020 - Newsmaker

South Australia’s cultural institutions have opened their doors and datasets to cutting-edge digital creativity today with the launch of the Collab Digital Cultural Fellowship.

The announcement follows on the State Budget’s allocation of $86.5 million to a new purpose-built facility to store all of the State’s collections.

Applicants will unleash their talents and imaginations on these priceless works stored in digital and physical form. Collab is a joint venture between the South Australian Museum, the History Trust of South Australia, the State Library of South Australia and the Art Gallery of South Australia.

Brian Oldman, Director of the South Australian Museum, said that Collab is part of an international network of cultural sector collaborative GLAM* Labs that are transforming the relevance and purpose of galleries, libraries, archives and museums in the digital age.

“South Australia’s cultural institutions are keen to harness digital technology and engage with individuals or groups with a creative technical mindset across any discipline or industry,” Mr Oldman said.

“This is a unique opportunity to increase knowledge and creative thinking around the State’s priceless cultural, scientific and artistic collections. By making them digitally accessible, we will bring the depth and breadth of our cultural and scientific disciplines to life for new audiences.”

The value of the fellowship goes far beyond financial benefits to include access to collections and specialists such as curators, scientists and educators. The fellowship also offers the winner office space and cloud storage.  Included for the duration of the fellowship are events, activities and behind the scenes experiences around the North Terrace precinct, from SAHMRI in the west to Lot Fourteen in the east.

Inaugural Collab Fellowship Judge Dr Eva Balan-Vnuk – who is a History Trust board member and the State’s Executive Director for ICT and Digital Government  –  said that she and her fellow judges would be open to “wildly creative ideas in diverse and unique combinations”.

“We encourage applicants to be bold,” Dr  Balan-Vnuk said. “We are looking for innovative projects that might communicate something profound or might provoke or inspire the community, broaden our understanding or have an impact on society as a whole – for example a complex concept that can be translated for the audience using digital means.

“By bringing digital technologies and platforms together with significant specialist cultural disciplines, we’ll be throwing a spotlight on the immense creativity of South Australians.”

The launch of the Collab Digital Cultural Fellowship responds to the release of the South Australian Arts Plan 2019-2024, which spoke of the importance of embracing digital strategies to ensure that South Australia’s cultural collections are widely available online, and that collection items can be explored in new ways.

NOTE: *GLAM is the acronym for galleries, libraries, archives and museums.

IMAGE CAPTION:  At Collab’s physical space in the North Terrace cultural precinct, Dr Eva Balan-Vnuck tries out an augmented reality (AR) app developed by the History Trust of South Australia, assisted by Digital Engagement team member Gagan Singh.



To arrange interviews or images, or for more information, please contact: 

Leila Henderson: M. 0=+61 414 69 70 71; E. [email protected]


Kristy Kokegei, Director, Public Engagement, History Trust of South Australia T. +61 8 8203  9888  M. +61 438 828 752  E. [email protected]


About the Collab Fellowship

Collab Fellowship establishes an opportunity for creative technologists, digital artists and digital humanists to develop innovative new ways for audiences to discover and experience South Australia’s stories through the North Terrace Cultural Precinct’s significant digital collection holdings.

In 2021 the Collab Digital Cultural Fellowship awarded will include:

1. A $10,000 honorarium*

2. Access to collections and staff including collection specialists, curators, scientists and educators across the North Terrace Cultural precinct

3. Access to office space, high speed internet, and cloud data storage via the Collab

4. Access to precinct wide events, activities and behind the scenes experiences for the duration of the Fellowship

The Fellowship Judges are:

  • Geoff Rohrsheim, Chairman, Smart City Solutions, Adelaide, SA.
  • Eva Balan-Vnuk, Executive Director, ICT and Digital Government, Adelaide, SA.
  • Mahendra Mahey, Manager British Library Labs, British Library, London, UK.

Further information including application requirements, eligibility criteria, judges and key dates available at https://collab.sa.gov.au

About Collab

Collab is a joint venture between the South Australian Museum, the History Trust of South Australia, the State Library of South Australia and the Art Gallery of South Australia to promote the discovery of their digital collections. Collab supports innovation, new knowledge and entrepreneurship across Adelaide’s cultural precinct and showcases our digital expertise to the world.

Collab has a physical ‘Lab’ space located within the premises of the South Australian Museum, which is connected to the GigCity Adelaide ultrafast internet network. This co-working office space provides a physical catalyst for cross-institutional and inter-disciplinary research and practice at the intersection of GLAMs (Galleries, Libraries, Archives, Museums), technology, the creative industries and the South Australian tech start up ecosystem.

Collab Directors

Brian Oldman – Director, South Australian Museum

Mr Oldman has held senior executive positions in some of London’s most respected cultural and scientific institutions having worked in transformative roles at the British Museum, the National Maritime Museum, the Zoological Society of London, and Sir John Soane’s Museum.

Mr Oldman had extensive leadership experience in industry before following his passion by entering the cultural sector.  For five years, he was the Managing Director of the British Museum Company.  He has successfully led dynamic programmes to increase visitor numbers, linked institutional research to community programmes, built collaboration within institutions and developed commercial income streams. In addition, Mr Oldman has overseen successful major redevelopments.

Geoff Strempel, Director State Library of South Australia

Geoff Strempel commenced as Director of the State Library of South Australia in September 2018 but is no stranger to the library. Prior to his appointment, Geoff managed Public Library Services – a division of the Libraries Board of South Australia – for 10 years, leading significant change in the state’s public library network, including the establishment of the One Card Network, for which he received the Jim Hullick Award in 2017.

Greg Mackie, OAM, Chief Executive, History Trust of South Australia

Cutting his teeth as a cabaret musician and department store executive, Greg co-founded and was managing director of Adelaide’s iconic Imprints Booksellers (1984—2007). With a wealth of governance experience, including a term as an Elected a Member of the Adelaide City Council (2000—03) and on the boards of many community benefit, arts and cultural organisations, Greg went on to head up Arts SA, becoming Deputy Chief Executive in the SA Premier’s Department, where his stewardship included the Adelaide Thinkers in Residence Program, Capital City Directorate, and The Integrated Design Commission SA. He was founder and is now Chairman of The Adelaide Festival of Ideas. In 2012 Greg moved to SA Health to head up Office for the Ageing, and interim Director at the Botanic Gardens.

Greg joined the History Trust of South Australia in April 2016.

Rhana Devenport, Director Art Gallery of South Australia.

Rhana Devenport ONZM is a museum director, curator, writer, editor and cultural producer whose career has spanned art museums, biennales and arts festivals. She is currently Director, Art Gallery of South Australia, Adelaide, and was Director, Auckland Art Gallery Toi o T?maki, New Zealand from 2013-2018.

Rhana was curator of Lisa Reihana: Emissaries, the New Zealand Pavilion at La Biennale di Venezia in 2017. Her curatorial interests include contemporary art of Asia and the Pacific, time-based media, social practice and international collaboration. She has developed projects with Brook Andrew, Jonathon Jones, Fiona Hall, Nam June Paik, Lee Mingwei, Yang Fudong, Nalini Malani, Yin Xiuzhen, Song Dong, and Julian Rosefeldt. She was Director of Govett-Brewster Art Gallery, New Zealand (2006-2013) where she led the Len Lye Centre project; Manager of Public Programmes, Biennale of Sydney (2005-2006); Curator in Residence, Artspace NZ, Auckland (2005); Visual Arts Manager, Sydney Festival (2004); and Senior Project Officer, Asia Pacific Triennial, Queensland Art Gallery, Brisbane, Australia (1994-2004).

In 2018 Rhana was appointed an Officer of the New Zealand Order of Merit for her ‘Services to Arts Governance’.

About the South Australian Museum

The Museum cares for a wealth of treasures with national and international significance – it is admired for its world class collections, which have been amassed over more than 150 years and encompass everything from fossils of the first known life on Earth to pieces of Martian meteorites. The Museum’s collections are still growing and used each day in scientific and cultural research.

The Museum is one of Australia’s most successful research museums, with 151 scientific papers and presentations in 2018/2019 and is a strong partner, with strategic relationships across the resources sector as well as with state and federal governments.


About the State Library of South Australia

The State Library of South Australia’s core purpose is to collect and maintain the documented history of the state and provide access that connects people with our resources and world knowledge. To support these, the State Library contribute to the wellbeing of the state by providing culturally enriching opportunities to our communities.


About the Art Gallery of South Australia

The Art Gallery of South Australia was founded in 1881 and its purpose is prescribed by the Art Gallery Act 1939. Since inception, the Gallery has been an important cultural focus for South Australia with the current building opening in 1900 and extended in 1937, 1962 and 1996. AGSA holds one of Australia’s finest art collections with over 45,000 works across diverse media in Australian, International and Asian art. The Gallery presents a dynamic program of temporary exhibitions, annual focus exhibitions of international art, and three flagship projects

of contemporary Australian art; Adelaide Biennial of Australian Art since 1980, Tarnanthi, an annual celebration Festival of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Art since 2015, and the $100,000 acquisitive Ramsay Art Prize since 2017.

The Art Gallery of South Australia aims to serve the South Australian and wider communities by providing access to original works of art of the highest quality. The Gallery seeks to foster, promote and enhance understanding and enjoyment of the visual arts through its collections, exhibitions and public programs.


About the History Trust of South Australia

The History Trust of South Australia operates three museums – the Migration Museum, the National Motor Museum and the South Australian Maritime Museum and The Centre of Democracy in collaboration with the State Library of South Australia. The History Trust is caretaker of the State’s social history collections and ensures current and future generations can enjoy their state’s rich and fascinating past in ways that are relevant today.

The History Trust supports South Australia’s History Network of committed volunteer associations and local history specialists through a Community Museums Program, digital capacity building programs and annual grant funds for research and writing to promote the value of history, collections and our place in the world. The History Trust presents the annual open access festival South Australia’s History Festival – a statewide celebration of community history, collections and heritage. Through its museums, the History Trust present many other community events such as the Bay to Birdwood vintage car run and other events, festivals and celebrations on South Australia’s cultural calendar.

About GigCity

GigCity Adelaide is part of the South Australian Government’s ongoing $80 million investment to support innovative businesses, entrepreneurs and researchers through programs and initiatives. GigCity’s internet services are being delivered by Adelaide-based internet provider EscapeNet through the South Australian Broadband Research and Education Network (SABRENet) fibre optic network to key innovation sites and co-working spaces across metropolitan Adelaide.



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South Australia's 2021 Collab Digital Cultural Fellowship is calling for applications to fund projects that will harness digital technologies to shine a light on the state's world-class creative resources.



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