The Grimwade Collection Miegunyah Student Project Awards 2022 - Ian Potter Museum of Art

The Grimwade Collection Miegunyah Student Project Awards 2022

Each year, the Museums and Collections department offers six Awards of $2000 each to University of Melbourne students for small research projects to be completed in semester two and presented in December. Supported by the Miegunyah Fund, the Award requires each student to undertake a project on works of art in The Russell and Mab Grimwade ‘Miegunyah’ Collection, in the University’s Art Collection. This scheme aims to give students experience in working in an interdisciplinary context with a material and visual culture collection, and the opportunity to think about how to share their research with their student colleagues and public audiences, while gaining professional development experience from department staff.

Our 2022 Awardees included students from Theatre Studies, Education, Fine Arts, Conservation, Archaeology, Art History, and Music. Their research summaries and other creative outcomes can be viewed below.

Awardees are supported by our experienced Curators of Academic Engagement and Grimwade Collection Curator.


Yvette Walker | Arts Education, Melbourne Graduate School of Education
A wallet, A list, A collection

Can the vision of a collector ever be realised? Is their vision and ambition captured in their life, their collection, or, what is unfulfilled? Lists of ingredients are vital for any chemist, but for Russell Grimwade, a list discovered in his wallet after 25 years, presents opportunity to consider what is concealed and revealed within the collection. This work unfolds the emergent habits, wonderings and traces discovered, and, invites public to speculate how museums facilitate radical inclusivity for both human and non-human collaborators.

Camille Orel & Jeremy George | Art History & English and Theatre Studies
Ogilvie, Grimwade, Felton: Woodblocks in Flinders Lane

This paper re-examines the publication of Helen Ogilvie’s woodblock prints in the 1947 text, Flinders Lane, an auto fictional account of Alfred Felton’s life written by Russell Grimwade – collector of art, books and cultural material bequeathed to the University of Melbourne and known as the Russell and Mab Grimwade ‘Miegunyah’ Collection. It uses Ogilvie’s illustrations to index a microhistorical analysis of the intergenerational relationship between Felton and Grimwade – two of Melbourne’s most notable patrons of the arts. In doing so, this study will thus also attempt to investigate a broader context of cultural production and patronage in early twentieth century Australia.

Chelsea Coon | Fine Art and Performance Art, Victorian College of the Arts
Pentaptych perspective (2022)

My practice-led, performance-based photographic project Pentaptych perspective (2022) comprises five archival photographic prints that each articulate a particular relationship between Collection objects, space, and my body. Each photograph depicts a distinct thematic category inspired by the key interests of Russell Grimwade as a collector, industrialist, chemist, botanist, and historophile.

This multidisciplinary project of performance-based photographs was conceptually inspired by and produced with pieces in the Collection. There is, I believe, an inextricable link between Grimwade’s interests and the objects he collected. From this, Pentaptych perspective draws on the historical and symbolically weighted material of gestures as well as materiality of crystal, glass, and book fibres. The photographic compositions each loosely reference poses and weighting seen in early still life and portraiture artworks.

Daniel Bornstein & Tom Keep | The Grimwade Centre for Cultural Materials Conservation & Classics and Archaeology
A New Digital Dimension: A holistic digitisation approach to the ‘Miegunyah’ Collection

Digitisation of cultural materials, predominantly undertaken through digital photography, has become standard practice in the 21st century, furthering public access, research data sharing, digital conservation and record keeping. Recent developments in more advanced imaging techniques allow for a new wave of digitisation, creating much more detailed, sophisticated, and representative digital surrogates. This project combines the cutting-edge techniques of structure-from-motion photogrammetric modelling and photometric stereo imaging to create opportunities for distant and remotely accessed cultural objects to become more present and powerful than ever before.

Cat Eyre | Art History, Spanish and Latin American Studies
Looking through Grimwade glass

This project considers the glass objects in the Russell and Mab Grimwade ‘Miegunyah’ Collection. It aims to demonstrate that the acquisition of a glass collection is a signifier of the fortune that supported the Grimwade’s economic success and social status, acknowledge the role Felton Grimwade & Co’s Melbourne Glass Bottle Works played in Australian industry and industrial action, and explore the class discrimination between the artisan maker and the labourer maker. And by extension the disjuncture between the glass object d’art within the museum space as an ornamental object, a material signifier of progress and imperialism, and a
source of ‘othering’ to the labouring class.

Shane Pauline Lestideau | Melbourne Conservatorium of Music
Echoes and Reflections: Creating a multimedia experience of historical Australian music

Art collections can never fully reflect the diversity of our creative past. For how can one wrap the live sound of a violin in soft tissue paper, catalogue the articulations of an actor’s voice or preserve a dancer’s wild gestures in archival boxes? The performance arts cannot be stored in the manner one employs for etchings, botanical sketches, oil paintings or written documents, and therefore these collections are generally silent and still. Exhibitions featuring collected art objects will occasionally introduce music to the exhibition space, breaking this silence and providing an aural context designed to enhance one’s visual appreciation of the items. This project reverses those roles through its use of physical art objects and digitised images from the Grimwade Collection to accompany live and recorded performances of historical Australian music.