APPLICATIONS OPEN: John Truscott Fellowship

The Fellowship is a partnership of the John Truscott Design Foundation and the University of Melbourne Library. The Fellowship is awarded to a scholar or writer to prepare a manuscript biography of John Truscott (1936 – 1993), best known for his work in film and theatre design, as well as an artistic director. A major legacy of John Truscott is the interior of the Victorian Arts Centre, where much of his original work remains intact.

John Truscott

This is a $25,000 Fellowship. Applications close Tuesday 15 August 2017

John Truscott’s life was given to the theatre and the performing arts.

His early career was distinguished by the design of nearly sixty productions in six years for the Melbourne Little Theatre (later St Martin’s Theatre Company). Based on his success with major stage productions of The King and I and Camelot he turned to films winning Oscars for Best Art Direction and Best Costume Design and another Oscar nomination for production design. He also acted in UK films and television dramas.

In 1980, Truscott returned to Melbourne to design the interiors of the new Melbourne concert Hall for the Victorian Arts Centre Trust.  With great skill and using a variety of materials, Truscott created a distinctive interior in harmony with Roy Ground’s architectural vision.

In 1988 John Truscott returned to Australia as the creative consultant to Brisbane’s World Expo.  Within a short time-frame he created a vibrant carnival atmosphere.  In the following year he was appointed Creative Director for Melbourne’s Spoleto Festival. His success in this and three subsequent Melbourne Festivals was legendary.

In 1992 John Truscott became Artist in Residence at the Arts Centre and was working on plans to refurbish the interiors as part of the 10th anniversary celebrations when he died on 5 September 1993 from complications following heart surgery.

The Project

The John Truscott Design Foundation wishes to celebrate the life and contribution of John Truscott in a biography that beings to life his energy and skill.  The manuscript should inspire others with creative talent to pursue careers that can make a difference. It needs to capture the skilful way that Truscott managed his many projects, and the political interests that surrounded them, most of which would have proved too daunting for other designers and directors.

A key objective for the Foundation is that the manuscript should place the creative contributions of John Truscott in their historical context and show how they continue to resonate and influence the cultural life of Melbourne. At the completion of the project, the Fellow will present a public lecture organised by the University Library on the outcomes of the research.

Fellowship Selection Criteria

Applicants must submit an Application Form and provide a CV (including contact details, qualifications and relevant appointments, projects and publications, and references) and a project proposal of 600 words or less, with the full application of 1300 words.

The Selection Criteria are:

  • Excellence of the proposal, judged by originality, significance and engagement with the collections
  • Track record of the applicant, judged by successfully completed projects, publications, references and impact


PDF Application Form / Microsoft Word Application Form

Send Applications to:

More Information

Philip Kent

+61 3 8344 5368