UNSW PhD Candidate Awarded Prestigious Arts Residency

4 Jun 2018

Robin 5

UNSW Arts & Social Science PhD candidate Robin Hemley has been awarded a Rockefeller Foundation Bellagio Center Arts & Literary Arts Residency Scholarship.

A Bellagio Residency is one of the world’s most prestigious residencies, attracting high-calibre international applicants from a wide array of disciplines and backgrounds. It has supported the work of some of the world’s finest creatives and scholars addressing some of the world's most pressing and complex challenges.

Prospective candidates for the residency must produce a compelling individual work proposal and have a significant history of accomplishment within their field to be considered.

Mr Hemley, the current Director of the Writing Program and Writer’s Centre at Yale-NUS College in Singapore, has a storied academic and writing career, having published more than a dozen books, essays and papers around the world.

He will join the program for the 2019 intake and spend a full month in Italy at the Bellagio Center to work on a nonfiction memoir that explores the personal and geopolitical impacts of exclaves.

“I think that it sits squarely within the Bellagio Center's mission in that these issues of nationalism, patriotism, and what it means to belong somewhere are among the most crucial issues of our time, and they certainly affect the stability of the planet,” he said.

Mr Hemley, currently pursuing his Doctorate in the critical study of speculative fake memoirs, says that he is honoured to be a recipient of the Bellagio Residency.

“The Bellagio Residency, administered by the Rockefeller Foundation, is the plum of residencies worldwide. You're only allowed to apply three times in your life, so I was waiting for a project that would be worthy of the honour.”

He says that the conducive work environment and the prospect of further achievement make Bellagio a stimulating and productive forum.

“This will allow me to spend a month in a beautiful villa on the shores of Lake Como, with no other expectations on me besides my writing and showing up for dinner.

“When I’m done with the book, it might give me an extra nudge towards publication if publishers know that the project has already received the seal of approval from the Rockefeller Foundation.”

Receiving a Belagio Residency is one of the highpoints of his career.

“For me, it's certainly a validation of my work in that I know that the competition for such a fellowship is intense. It ranks pretty highly among the awards I've received.”

Mr Hemley formerly directed the Nonfiction Writing Program at The University of Iowa where he is a Professor Emeritus. He is also a previous recipient of a Guggenheim Fellowship, as well as fellowships from the Illinois Arts Council, the North Carolina Arts Council, the Ohioana Library Association, and the Washington State Arts Council.

The Rockefeller Foundation Bellagio Center supports the work of creatives, practitioners and industry leaders who share in the Foundation’s pioneering mission to “promote the well-being of humanity around the world”.