Emma McEwin: 2016 Bill Cowan Barr Smith Library Fellow

The Barr Smith Library and the Cowan Grant are pleased to announce that Emma McEwin, post-doctoral researcher, is the successful applicant for the 2016 Bill Cowan Barr Smith Library Fellowship.

Emma McEwinThe purpose of the award is to assist research postgraduates financially with uninterrupted time to work with the Library’s collections. Post-doctoral researchers are eligible within three years of a doctoral award.

Emma has been a student at the University of Adelaide for a number of years, having obtained a BA and Honours degree in English literature and in 2015 obtained her PhD in Creative Writing. Emma is the great-granddaughter of Sir Douglas Mawson, the intrepid Antarctic explorer and her creative thesis, The many lives of Douglas Mawson, was a biographical history of the Mawson family which has also been accepted for publication and will be released in mid-2016.

Emma is a published author having written An Antarctic Affair in 2008. An essay adapted from a chapter of her PhD thesis entitled Penguins on Horseback and Douglas Mawson’s Iron Gut was shortlisted for the Australian Book Review Calibre Essay Prize 2013 and subsequently published in the June issue of the ABR.

The fellowship will allow Emma to reduce her working hours and give more time to write a biographical essay on Nancy Atkinson who was a pioneer bacteriologist in antibiotics and salmonellas from 1939 at the University of Adelaide and the Institute of Medical and Veterinary Science. Interestingly, Emma’s grandmother, Jessica McEwin (nee Mawson), was working at the University of Adelaide as a bacteriologist at the same time as Nancy Atkinson. Writing about Nancy continues Emma’s theme of promoting lives which might otherwise go unrecognised. Situating Nancy Atkinson in the context of women scientists of the 20th Century and more particularly in the context of South Australian women scientists will help to highlight the significance of her achievements and contributions to scientific research.

Emma will be making use of Nancy’s papers that are held in the Barr Smith Special Collections and Rare Books.

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