ACU researcher wins prestigious National Library of Australia fellowship

ACU humanities researcher Dr Jessica O’Leary has received a prestigious National Library of Australia Fellowship. 

Dr O’Leary is one of just twelve researchers across Australia to receive the Fellowship, which features a three-month residency at the National Library of Australia (NLA) in Canberra.

She will delve into the NLA’s Asian archives to explore the role of Japanese Women in the Jesuit Mission to Japan in the 16th century.

“It is a great honour to be supported by the Harold S. Williams Trust for Japan Studies and the NLA to undertake a focused period of research in Canberra,” Dr O’Leary said.

“It is extremely encouraging to receive this kind of recognition.”

Her fellowship will complement her broader research at ACU’s Institute for Humanities and Social Sciences.

“The project aims to use the large collection of writings generated by Jesuit missionaries to investigate how they interacted with Japanese women and the extent to which they were involved in cultural and economic exchanges,” she said.

“My interest in this topic evolved out of my wider research on cross cultural communication and diplomacy and a future wider global history project on Jesuits and women in transcultural spaces.

“I am involved in a number of projects that investigate intercultural communication and exchange at ACU and the opportunity to deepen my knowledge of Asia, especially Japan, using the specialist materials at the NLA will enhance my research.”

Dr O’Leary said she was looking forward to accessing a treasure trove of rare manuscripts in the NLA archive.

“I am excited about the possibility of accessing manuscript materials that are usually inaccessible outside of Canberra and also having access to secondary materials in a number of languages at my fingertips,” she said.

“It will accelerate my research and allow me to achieve a number of objectives in a relatively short period of time.

“I’m also excited to meet scholars and librarians interested in intersecting themes.”

Funded through philanthropic support, the National Australian Library’s Fellowships and Scholarships program has supported more than 200 emerging and established Australian and international scholars since 1986, encouraging innovative research across a range of disciplines. 

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