Unissued Diplomas

“When your classroom turns into a battlefield, your major becomes bravery” 

Fisher Library recently became the latest stop for a moving exhibition titled Unissued Diplomas. This exhibition was a display of unissued university diplomas awarded to Ukrainian students killed in the recent Russian invasion. 

Unissued Diplomas is a travelling international exhibition telling the stories of 36 lives lost. Each diploma has a short biography of each student highlighting their areas of study and their general interests. Each diploma is signed “Bravery”. 

The exhibition, which has been shown in more than 20 countries around the world, brings home the horrors of war and the loss of lives robbed of their potential. The display of the show at the University of Sydney was coordinated by Dr Olga Boichak (Lecturer in Digital Cultures, Media and Communications).

Prior to its display at Fisher Library, the exhibition was shown at Chau Chak Wing Museum where distinguished guest Vasyl Myroshnychenko, Ukraine’s ambassador to Australia, visited the show.

Unissued Diplomas was on display in Fisher Library from 24 – 30 July 2023. 

More information on the exhibition can be found on the Unissued Diplomas website

Celebrate Wear it Purple at the Library on Friday 25 August!

Join our annual Wear it Purple Day program at the Library in celebration of LGBTQIA+ young people.

Wear it Purple is an annual date of significance that focuses on supporting safe, empowering and inclusive environments for rainbow young people. We’ll be hosting a range of activities for staff and students to get involved!

This years’ theme, Write Your Story was generated by the Wear it Purple Youth Action Council to highlight the importance of LGBTQIA+ young people sharing their experiences in their own voices.

Come and join our celebrations:

Purple carpet
Our fabulous purple VIP carpet (pictured above) will return this year at the entrance of Fisher Library.

Purple throughout the Library
Keep an eye out for purple decorations at our service points, and staff in Wear it Purple t-shirts and purple outfits.

Treasure Hunt
Discover LGBTQIA+ Library collections by completing a treasure hunt at Fisher Library. Pick up your clues at the info desk, find the answers and return for a prize. We’ll have 100 available, so get in early!

Nail polish
Add a touch of purple to your look by visiting one of our nail polish stations, located near the info desks in Fisher Library, Law Library, SciTech Library, Susan Wakil Health Building Library and the Conservatorium of Music Library.

Visit the Library website on the day for a purple surprise.

More resources
You can access more Wear it Purple resources online, including Zoom backgrounds, social media collateral and information about celebrating the day. More information about the Library’s LGBTQIA+ community is also online.

Complete the Treasure Hunt at Fisher Library to win a prize bag including limited edition Library Pride vinyl stickers and more.

Wear it Purple Day decorations at Susan Wakil Health Building Library last year.

Look out for Library staff wearing pronoun badges year-round.

This year’s Wear it Purple theme is Write Your Story. Find out more on the Wear it Purple website.

Upcoming Changes to ProQuest eBook Central Bookshelf

As many students and researchers will know, ProQuest eBook Central is one of our biggest digital resource platforms. The database, which is accessible through the Library website, enables users to read, download and annotate key titles from across our collections. Users can save their books and annotations to their personal Bookshelf.

The Library is now in the process of moving to a new authentication system for accessing subscribed electronic resources. Once this authentication change takes place for ProQuest eBook Central in November 2023, new Bookshelf accounts will be generated and old Bookshelves will no longer be accessible.

If you would like to retain your Bookshelf information, please complete one of these following steps:

Option 1. Offline backup

You can export your saved lists and annotations as an offline backup by following these instructions on the ProQuest Support siteNote: If you have multiple folders in your account, you will need to repeat these instructions for each folder.

Option 2. Merge your account

If you have a large number of items in your Bookshelf and would like your old Bookshelf to be merged into the new Bookshelf, please do the following:

  1. Go to your ProQuest Ebook Central Bookshelf
  2. Go to Settings > Profile
  3. Copy your unique code next to the “Email/Username” field: it will be a set of numbers and letters (eg. rYgBBArABUG122QeSm/LRw==)
  4. Submit your merge request to the Library by filling out this Bookshelf form with your details. We will then contact ProQuest on your behalf to process the merge request.

You must submit your form before 31 October 2023. However, we recommend submitting your form early for a seamless changeover.

If you have any additional questions, please get in touch via the Library’s Live Chat service.

First Nations Students’ Publications

A selection of First Nations Students’ Writing from the Library’s collection is now on display on level 3 of Fisher Library. All works are written by Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander students and some staff from across the University of Sydney.

These cabinets showcase Black Excellence that has existed for decades and only continues to grow. Many of these items represent Indigenous-led writing and editing processes that are quite rare within the publishing industry.

Over the last 60 years, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander education and enrolment has been a small but strong cohort who have navigated an often difficult environment that is the University. There are many leading First Nations scholars and workers who have spent time at the University – and potentially in the Library – who are now working uniquely with research and cultural practices.

One cabinet features covers and excerpts from the student magazines Honi Soit and the Gazette, written by First Nations students and/or about First Nations topics and issues. Both magazines, but Honi Soit in particular, have a distinct legacy of social justice and champion student writing and creativity. You will see the second Indigenous Edition (2015) which was curated, edited and contributed to by First Nations students. The display also features poems by student Ken Howard Brown, as featured in Issue 15 from 1990.

In the other cabinet, you will see the research from First Nations students whilst they have been studying as well as First Nations Alumni. Reflections by students of the Aboriginal Education Assistant Program in the late 80s in the works “Pukuda Multhi Puthala, Dreamtime all the time” and “Wiimpatjai Bulku Pipinja : Black Fellas’ Message” are a combination of poems, essays, reflections, Dreaming Stories and illustrations.

Next to this is the first edition of “Black on Black” which brings together a series of academic essays from Aboriginal Students at the University in 1998. Accompanying these works are publications from past Alumni and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander staff, including Peter Minter, Leah Lui-Chivizhe and Noel Pearson. The students and staff themselves reflect the complexities and richness of First Nations communities from right across Australia.

We are inspired by what we see and how we are represented. When we are already a minority at the University and often come into this environment not as the conventional student, we are wanting to stay connected to our communities and be apart of a community on campus.

Writing, art, poetry and cultural expression can form that community. This has been an interesting project and it has been lovely working with Anne, Charlotte, Julie and Emily in Rare Books and Special Collections aswell as Uma at the Wingara Mura Resource Centre. I look forward to more displays in the future.

Pippa Herden (Gomeroi), Indigenous Engagement Officer, University of Sydney Library

Shakespeare Beyond All Limits now on display in Fisher Library

400 years ago, in 1623, the first collected works of Shakespeare were published under the title Mr William Shakespeare’s Comedies, Histories & Tragedies. This impressive book – prepared after Shakespeare’s death in 1616 by his former acting colleagues John Heminge and Henry Condell – ran to over 900 pages and contained 36 plays by Shakespeare, 18 of which had not been printed before.

Among the latter were such influential works as Macbeth, The Tempest, Julius Caesar, Antony and Cleopatra and As You Like It. Without the publication of the First Folio these extraordinary plays and more may have never appeared in print and achieved their powerful global impact.

In celebration of the 400th anniversary, this new exhibition – Shakespeare Beyond All Limits – displays books from Rare Books & Special Collections associated with Shakespeare’s First Folio and 3D-printed sculptures of Shakespeare and his characters by artist Simon Fieldhouse. The exhibition illustrates the historical origins of the Folio text and gives examples of how the plays have been interpreted over time through to the present.

During the COVID-19 lockdowns of 2020, staff at the Fisher library made a remarkable discovery. References were found in an old catalogue entry to some loose leaves from a First Folio.

Huw Griffiths

These Shakespeare sculptures are 3D resin prints. Each sculpture is created on a computer after the preliminary pencil drawings and ideas have been formulated. The programmes primarily used to create the sculptures are Blender and Z-Brush and then post processed and printed with Chitubox and an Anycubic Mono Photon X 3D printer. The prints are produced in a monotone grey resin colour and then hand painted with acrylic paint and finished with airbrushing.

It took nearly 18 months to learn to use the necessary computer programming and there was much trial and error.

Simon Fieldhouse

The exhibition was curated by Liam Semler (Professor of Early Modern Literature) and Huw Griffiths (Associate Professor of English Literature), in collaboration with Emily Kang (Rare Books & Special Collections Liaison Librarian, East Asian Collection).

The exhibition covers nine topics including folios, quatros and loose leaves; a closer look at The Life and Death of Julius Caesar and Hamlet, the trope of the tortured tyrant; and Shakespeare and popular culture.

The exhibition will also complement the Australian and New Zealand Shakespeare Association conference that will be held at the University of Sydney from 7-9 December 2023 and is also titled Shakespeare beyond all limits.

… Shakespeare was a man of his time and his unconscious values and cultural biases, which are reflected in his works, complicate and problematise his global reception nowadays.

Liam Semler

Sculptures of three renowned female musicians on display 

The sculptures of three renowned female musicians are now on display at the Sydney Conservatorium of Music. Made of ceramic, brass and other elements by Sydney-based artist Anna-Wili Highfield, the sculptures depict Deborah Cheetham Fraillon AO, Hildegard von Bingen and Nina Simone.  

The sculptures are located in the Library at the Sydney Conservatorium of Music, which is open to the public on Monday – Friday from 9am – 5pm.  

Deborah Cheetham Fraillon AO 
b. Yuin Country (Nowra), 1964 

Deboarh Cheetham Fraillon AO describes herself as a “21st century urban woman who is Yorta Yorta by birth, stolen generation by government policy, soprano by diligence, composer by necessity and lesbian by practice.” 

Professor Cheetham Fraillon is the inaugural Elizabeth Todd Chair of Vocal Studies, joining the Sydney Conservatorium of Music in 2023. A graduate of the Sydney Conservatorium, she has forged a dynamic and trail-blazing career as a multi award-winning composer, soprano, academic and activist.  

Her operas, ballet and orchestral works have been commissioned by Australia’s major companies. She was appointed Composer in Residence with the Melbourne Symphony Orchestra in 2020 and First Nations Creative Chair in 2021.  

Professor Cheetham Fraillon has established several flagship companies and projects devoted to the development of Indigenous voices in the performing arts. These include Short Black Opera, Dhungala Children’s Choir, One Day in January and Ensemble Dutala.  

She is the first Indigenous composer in this country to write an opera, Pecan Summer (2010), and the first Indigenous person given the honour of ‘Chief of Parade’ at the Sydney Mardi Gras, leading the Dykes on Bikes in full leathers in 2006.  

Her pioneering, innovative leadership and distinguished service in the arts was recognised with her appointment as an Officer of the Order of Australia (AO) in the 2014 Queen’s Birthday Honours. 

Professor Cheetham Fraillon is the first subject of the three busts made by sculptor Anna-Wili Highfield. This bust was commissioned by the Composing Women group on the initiative of Bree van Reyk and presented to the University of Sydney Library in March 2021 in a gesture of ‘gift activism’. 

At our first meeting in person Deborah presented ochres from Mt Gulaga as a gift to her portrait.  These precious ochres, ground from the rocks of the mountain now colour her ceramic form. The possum pelt that lines the inside of her head was also chosen by Deborah as a material to symbolise and celebrate her First Nations identity. Framing her face is the shape of a collar inspired by one of her gowns, this is for Deborah the diva, a powerful soprano and magnificent presence on stage.

Anna-Wili Highfield, sculptor 

Read more about Deboarh Cheetham Fraillon AO on ABC News and hear her music on ABC Classic

Hildegard von Bingen 

Hildegard von Bingen was a visionary 12th-century Benedictine abbess, visionary and polymath, who was chosen for this sculpture to reflect the legacy of women composers who were also nuns. She is one the first identifiable composers by name in the Western Art Music tradition. 

The contradiction that she represents—a woman presiding over the earliest stages of the male-dominated Western canon—has had a galvanic effect on contemporary female composers, who see in her the shape of sound to come.

Alex Ross, The New Yorker 

Hildegard von Bingen’s accomplishments included her composition of Symphonia armonie celestium revelationum (a cycle of 77 sacred songs pushing the boundaries of Gregorian chant); three major volumes of writing: Scivias, Book of Life’s Merits and Book of Divine Works; a medical treatise Causes and Cures; a discourse on science and healing Physica; and a musical morality play Ordo Virtutum. Her legacy also includes hundreds of letters in correspondence with popes, emperors, and religious leaders.  

She is also known for her invented language Lingua Ignota or ‘Unknown Tongue’ which she used in her writing and compositions.  

Her face is open for the mystic and visionary she was. She wears gold leaf like armour, as a radical activist within the church. Inside her head is sage. Hildegard was a herbalist and said that sage was for the voice.

Anna-Wili Highfield, sculptor 

This artwork was commissioned by the University of Sydney Library on the advice of Composing Women.

Nina Simone 

Nina Simone (born Eunice Kathleen Waymon) is one of the most extraordinary and iconic artists of the twentieth century – she was a singer, pianist, songwriter and civil rights activist.  

Simone released the quintessential protest song Mississippi Goddam in 1964 in reaction to the bombing of the Sixteenth Street Baptist Church in Birmingham, Alabama and the assassination of civil rights leader Medgar Evers. Other classic releases included My Baby Just Cares for Me; I Wish I Knew How it Would Feel to be Free; Sinnerman; I Put a Spell on You; Feeling Good; Four Women; I Ain’t Got No/ I Got Life; To Be Young, Gifted and Black and Baltimore. Simone published her autobiography, I Put a Spell on You in 1991. 

She said ‘an artist’s duty is to reflect the times’ and famously, ‘I’ll tell you what freedom is to me: no fear’. 

Simone took up the classical piano at the age of 6 and specialised in playing the works of J.S. Bach. She earned a scholarship for a one-year program at the Juilliard School in New York. She also auditioned for the Curtis Institute of Music who denied her admission which she later understood to be due to racism. The Institute later awarded her an Honorary Doctorate in music and humanities in 2003 (two days before her death).  

In 2008, Rolling Stone named Simone to its list of the 100 Greatest Singers of All Time, and, in 2018, Simone was inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame

Ebony piano keys make up her hair. She was a classical and jazz pianist, composing, songwriting and performing at the piano. Hair was often in her lyrics, referencing her race and pride but also as a motif for difference and racism. In Nina’s eyes I placed diamonds, for the diva and for the woman with a vision. The vintage diamonds were given by Liza Lim, composer and integral person in this project. Nina’s face is ceramic mixed with iron oxide; iron and oxygen represent strength and life.  

Anna-Wili Highfield, sculptor

Commissioned by the University of Sydney Library on the advice of Composing Women.