John Oxley Library Fellowship

The call for applications for the 2017 John Oxley Library Fellowship is now closed.

The Fellowship is awarded annually to support a research project that uses the rich resources of SLQ’s John Oxley Library and contributes to the creation of new knowledge of Queensland.

The successful applicant receives a stipend of $20,000 along with a personal work space within the John Oxley Library’s Neil Roberts Research Lounge for 12 months giving premium access the extensive collections and expert library staff and advice.

For more information, please email:

The John Oxley Library Fellowship is proudly supported by the Queensland Library Foundation.

2016 John Oxley Library Fellow

Lorann DownerThe 2016 John Oxley Library Fellowship has been awarded to Lorann Downer for her project A century of politics ephemera: a window onto Queensland from 1915 to 2015.
Images and words will be used to craft a fresh narrative about the use of political ephemera and, thereby, deepen our understanding of how politics is done in Queensland. Dr Downer will review ephemera from the John Oxley Library - including posters, pamphlets, how-to-vote cards, buttons, t shirts and caps - used during significant state elections, referenda and debates in Queensland from 1915 to 2015. Her aim is to chronicle significant ephemera held in the Library collections and analyse its use from a political marketing perspective.

Political ephemera is a transitory political communication that is often viewed as junk. In fact, it offers a valuable and under-utilised window onto the priorities and passions of a particular time. This project will encompass the 1915 state election, which marks the start of Queensland’s two-party political system, and the most recent election in 2015. Reviewing ephemera across a century will produce a fascinating chronicle. In addition, Dr Downer will apply a political marketing perspective to consider what the ephemera reveals about the marketing of politics across time. A relatively new sub-field within political science, political marketing adapts theories and techniques from commerce to more fully describe and explain contemporary and historical political practice.

In sum, this work will offer a fresh perspective on politics in Queensland while showcasing some of the rich collections of the John Oxley Library.

Dr Downer has an impressive history as a political researcher. Her PhD, Kevin07 and The Real Julia: Labor’s Use of Political Branding in 2007 and 2010, was awarded in 2014 from the University of Queensland. The work considered if, and how fully, political branding was used during Labor’s 2007 and 2010 federal election campaigns. Using a specially-developed theoretical model and interviews with key practitioners, she tested some of the claims about the use of political branding in these campaigns.

Lorann’s teaching and research draws on her experience as a reporter, staffer and consultant. She was a Queensland political reporter for several years, including for ABC Radio. She then worked as a Director of the Government Media Unit for former Queensland Premiers Anna Bligh and Peter Beattie. She is also a communications consultant, specialising in working with government agencies.

View past John Oxley Library Fellows.

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