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Vida Lahey Memorial Travelling Scholarship


Vida Lahey, Australia 1882-1989 / The new bridge 1931 / Watercolour on paper / Purchased 1997 with funds from MIM Holdings Limited through the Queensland Art Gallery Foundation / Collection: Queensland Art Gallery

Assisting emerging Australian artists and art history scholars to develop their talents

The Vida Lahey Memorial Travelling Scholarship, administered by the Queensland Art Gallery | Gallery of Modern Art (QAGOMA) Foundation gives one emerging Australian artist or Australian art history student the extraordinary opportunity to develop their practice or research through an itinerary of national or overseas travel. It offers a generous $40,000 biennially towards a travel budget that ensures the further development of art practice or research that will make a contribution to an understanding of Australian art.

The scholarship honours the eminent Queensland artist Frances Vida Lahey (1882-1968), whose striking, boldly coloured watercolours and oils captured the attention and praise of Brisbane society. In addition to a highly successful artistic career, Lahey campaigned fiercely for sharing cultural knowledge in Queensland. She arranged and sometimes herself gave lunchtime lectures at the Queensland Art Gallery, campaigned for art education for children and helped to establish the significant Queensland Art Fund with sculptor Daphne Mayo, designed to promote public interest in the arts by collecting important works for the state art collection.

In 1915, Lahey travelled to London for family reasons. Her emotional and dramatic experiences in England during World War One and her exposure to the art and history of Europe over the next five years, changed her life and aesthetic practices forever. From this point onwards, Lahey would use her ongoing travel experiences to stimulate new ideas and compositions in her artwork.

The Vida Lahey Memorial Travelling Scholarship is funded through the Estate of Shirley Lahey (27 April 1925 – 16 July 2011), the niece of Vida Lahey, whose specific bequest made this scholarship possible. A great admirer of Vida Lahey’s artistic and social work, she honours not only the woman and her achievements but also the significance of travel in her life and art.

Applications close on 12 December 2014. For selection criteria and application instructions, click here.


The Gallery congratulates independent curator, writer and researcher Matthew Perkins on receiving the inaugural Vida Lahey Memorial Travelling Scholarship for 2015. Read more about Matthew's project on the QAGOMA blog.


Scholarship Eligibility

Applications for the 2014 Vida Lahey Memorial Travelling Scholarship are now open and we invite all artists and scholars meeting the selection criteria to apply. Applications close on 12 December 2014. Shortlisted applicants will be interviewed and the winner announced in early 2015. The scholarship will be awarded to one applicant every two years.

Applicants must be:

  • Over the age of 18
  • Australian citizens or permanent residents
  • Emerging artists who have completed visual arts studies at a recognised tertiary institution, or graduates of Australian art history studies at a recognised tertiary institution
  • Able to demonstrate a sound understanding of Australian art history or contemporary art practice
  • Able to show that a self-researched program of travel will further the development of their art practice or research and will make a contribution to an understanding of Australian art.

Students of Australian art history who complete their studies in 2014 are also eligible for the Vida Lahey Memorial Travelling Scholarship. Applicants of the Melville Haysom Memorial Art Scholarship may apply.

2014 Applicant Requirements

To apply, you must provide:

  • The names and contact details of two referees in a relevant field who may be contacted by the Gallery when assessing your application
  • A current CV in Microsoft Word (.doc or .docx), RTF or PDF format (max. 2 pages)
  • A detailed travel itinerary and budget for research to be conducted with funding through the award. Accepted formats are Microsoft Word (.doc or .docx), Microsoft Excel (.xls or .xlsx), RTF or PDF (max. 3 pages)
  • A personal statement specifically demonstrating how your travel itinerary and budget will further your practice or research and contribute to a broader understanding of Australian art (max. 1 page)
  • The public URL of supporting material, in the form of images (max. 10 images), video (max. 10 minutes) and/or writing samples (max. 1500 words) equalling no more than 50MB in total, saved on a shared drive such as Dropbox, Google Drive or YouSendIt. Ensure that these are clearly titled.

The scholarship recipient is required to:

  • Expend monies received through the scholarship in the way outlined in the application unless prior written permission to make an alteration to the budget has been given by the QAGOMA Foundation
  • Complete their travel within twelve (12) months of the announcement of the award
  • Provide an interim report within the first six (6) months of expending funds
  • Provide final report including proof of travel and budget acquittal within two months of completion. An acquittal form will be provided electronically by the Gallery
  • Agree to acknowledge the support received from the Vida Lahey Travelling Scholarship in any media and publications resulting from projects undertaken during the travel supported by scholarship funds
  • Agree to participate in media events and public program relating to the award, and contribute on media platforms relevant to the award.

Successful applicants will be asked to grant permission for their work to be reproduced in the media following the announcement of the winner. They may also be asked to grant a limited license for reproduction of work resulting from projects undertaken during the scholarship for promotion of the QAGOMA Foundation.

Claimable expenses under the Scholarship Expenses ineligible for claim
All overland, sea and air travel tickets and associated costs Enrolment fees for courses of education
Car rental and petrol Telephone and mobile data charges
Accommodation Personal items unrelated to research or art practice, such as clothing and souvenirs
Living expenses including meals (a max. of $50 can be budgeted per day for incidental costs while travelling, including meals)
Research or art materials not exceeding $8,000
Entry costs for museums, galleries, libraries or other places of research
Registrant fees for conferences or events relevant to your research or art practice and not constituting enrolment into courses of education
Travel insurance

Selection and Fund Distribution Process
Applicants who are Queensland-based or who have resided in Queensland for an extended period of time are preferred.
Scholarship monies will be paid to the successful applicant via bank transfer in Australian dollars. Successful scholarship recipients are required to have an Australian bank account with bank transfer facilities.

The Vida Lahey Memorial Travelling Scholarship is coordinated by the QAGOMA Foundation.  For further enquiries please email foundation@qagoma.qld.gov.au or contact the following address:

Kamillea Aghtan
Queensland Art Gallery | Gallery of Modern Art
T: (07) 3840 7262
E: foundation@qagoma.qld.gov.au