2020 Fellows

We are proud to announce our 2020 Fellows:

The George Alexander Foundation

Grace Barrand

Grace Barrand is a cultural materials conservator working at the Art Gallery of New South Wales. The aim of her Fellowship is to research the United Kingdom Trailblazer Apprenticeship program, which offers a new education pathway for conservation students that forefronts workplace learning and industry engagement. By meeting with key members of the initiative, Grace will delve deeper into the motivations, structure and outcomes of the apprenticeship program with a view to piloting something similar in Australia. It is hoped that such a program could address a range of known skills shortages in the sector, and increase diversity in the profession.

Natalie Carfora

The introduction of digital technologies into museum practice has vastly changed the way that museums and galleries can engage with their audiences. This Fellowship seeks to understand the changing impacts of these digital interventions.

Through research at leading institutions working with innovative digital technologies, I want to better understand how these technologies impact on visitor experience, how they can improve accessibility, and how they can make museums ultimately more engaging and collaborative places for communities.

Amelia O’Donnell

Amelia O’Donnell is an emerging conservator currently working at the State Library of Queensland. A conservator often works in galleries, libraries, archives, and museums where they are responsible for the care of cultural heritage collections. Public outreach activities that support access to and engagement with culture are key to the survival of this sector. Amelia’s research aims to identify the conceptual approaches and practical skills emerging conservators need to support these activities. She seeks to implement change in early career training so conservators in Australia can be part of a more inclusive future.

Avril Buchanan

Avril Buchanan is a textile design student at RMIT, who has also taken a placement at Melbourne’s last pleat workshop, Specialty Pleaters. Despite pleating being a highly sought after feature in many couture houses, there are few artisan workshops left globally, and is on the verge of extinction in Australia. This fellowship will provide an opportunity to travel to Egypt and undertake training related to the craft of pleating and mould making, so that this knowledge can be brought back to Australia to be shared through industry and education, and contribute to conservation efforts.

Natalie Delaney-John

The fellowship will allow me to undertake dedicated training under some of the world’s most awarded Taxidermists, Moulding & Casting Specialists and Zoological Sculptors. The benefits of training under such experts would then flow directly into my profession and the greater community as it would allow me to diversify the offerings of Rest in Pieces to include commissioned work for education and wildlife organisations, as well as create an opportunity for the development of new taxidermy workshops, so that I can disseminate these new skill sets to our students.


Italian Australian Foundation 


Isabella McRae

Isabella McRae is an Adelaide-based leatherworker and designer. The aim of her fellowship is to promote and expand leatherwork and craftsmanship in Australia. The fellowship will provide an opportunity to travel to Florence and Milan, to learn new design skills and tanning techniques, visit tanneries, network with industry experts and expand knowledge of hand making. Upon return, these skills will be used to start courses and workshops for other emerging designers ensuring that the traditional craft lives on in modern Australia.

Natalie Rose Cassaniti

“For decades, Australians have captured and shared their unique stories using audiovisual (AV) formats such as motion picture film, videotape, audiotape and discs. But time is running out to save this precious content from format obsolescence and rapid deterioration of carriers. Having worked with AV collections, I am inspired by the urgency of preserving Australia’s rich AV cultural heritage and making it accessible to current and future generations. As a collection manager and next-generation AV archivist, it is my passion to achieve this through conservation, collection and content management and digitisation. My Fellowship will focus on developing skills and knowledge of the latest standards and best practice in AV archiving. In return, I endeavour to encourage and support archivists on their quest to preserve collections before it is too late.”

Michael Capuzza

My name is Michael Capuzza. I am of Italian descent and both of my parents come from Abruzzo, Italy. During my time at Melbourne Polytechnic, I enrolled and completed the Certificate 4 training and assessor followed by a Diploma of Vocational Educational Training. I was also presented with a fellowship with the I.S.S Institute which assisted me in teaching my colleagues and students to understand energy efficient technologies in waste water treatment.  I have since moved on from Melbourne Polytechnic and been teaching at Kangan Institute for the past three years. My aim is to provide further help to students who have learning difficulties and/or have trouble reading and writing in English. I hope to do this by implementing more visuals into electronic learning systems rather than relying on just reading material. To bring as much diversity into the project as possible, I want to study and obtain the latest advances in electronic teaching techniques from overseas considering how much education has changed during the COVID-19 pandemic. Using all the information I gather, I will build library of short electronic resources and upload them to the My Learning and Moodle portals and share them with the wider community of teachers and students.The impact will be that students will have more materials at the touch of a button to help them understand the courses they are studying and work they will be undertaking.

Joe Pagnoccolo

Joe Pagnoccolo is a senior electrical teacher at Holmesglen Institute. The aim of this fellowship is to undertake applied research in social and emotional learning (SEL) in VET for the Australian context. The purpose is to explore international best practices in SEL for VET programs in Australia. This will provide opportunities to compare different educational systems. This fellowship also seeks to improve teaching delivery in VET programs. It will provide alternative ways to engage students more in the apprenticeship experience. The Fellowship will present me with opportunities to attend workshops, do field trips, conduct interviews, and meet educators. Upon returning, students and teachers in VET programs will be the recipients of this new knowledge. Introducing the SEL approach in VET programs will enhance students learning and provide professional development for teachers. It will also inform stakeholders of future strategies to stem the attrition rate of apprentices.


Higher Education and Skills 


Rajesh Iyer

Rajesh Iyer currently works at Holmesglen Institute of TAFE heading the Educational Resource Unit. The aim of his Fellowship is to determine how vocational education and training providers can form purposeful partnerships with the industry to engage, problem solve and devise assessment tools that are meaningful, engaging, current, appropriate and relevant for learners, while also aligning to the practical needs of the workplace. As part of his research, Rajesh plans to meet and engage with organisations and experts in Europe, who have successfully undertaken collaborative projects to enhance the student learning and assessment process.

Paul Boys

Leonard Spain

Bettina Twyman

Michael Mathew

International Specialised Skills Institute