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George Lyndon Hicks Fellowship for Southeast Asia Collections

The George Lyndon Hicks Fellowship for Southeast Asia Collections (GLHF) aims to attract top tier professionals to work with the National Library, Singapore (NLS) to develop its collections on Singapore and Southeast Asia. Through the Fellowship, NLS also aims to foster partnerships with collectors worldwide. 

We welcome talented librarians, researchers, curators, archivists and collectors to collaborate with us. 

Our Collection Development Philosophy

The National Library, Singapore (NLS)'s statutory mandate since 1958 has been to collect, organise, preserve and make accessible the nation's published legacy. NLS also seeks to promote and inculcate knowledge of the island's history and multicultural heritage, by collecting early documentation and unique material. These include hand-written manuscripts, maps, letters and diaries, which tell of life in Singapore and the region before its independence.

Our collection of cultural and heritage resources is housed at levels 10 – 13 of the 16-storey National Library building at 100 Victoria Street. The library's Singapore and Southeast Asian Collections consist of over 400,000 items, with collections dating as far back as the 18th century, such as the:

  • Raffles Library Collection
  • Dr Carl Alexander Gibson-Hill Collections
  • Rare Materials Collection
  • Singapore/Malaya Newspapers Collection

Aims of the Award

The Fellowship's goals are to:

  • Enhance the NLS Singapore and Southeast Asian special collections;
  • Elevate the research standards and capability of librarians through mentorship and collaboration with Fellows;
  • Facilitate NLS's networking with other eminent collectors and subject experts;
  • Promote NLS as a research centre for Singapore and Southeast Asian Studies.

Special Collection Areas

Preference is given to developing collections on the following topics:

  1. Straits Settlements/ Colonial governance e.g. city planning, legislation, politics
  2. Early Education e.g. the first Madrasahs and Chinese schools
  3. Local community histories e.g. cultures, traditions & lifestyles, groups & societies
  4. Early Trades e.g. pioneering businesses & industries, including the early publishing trade (mission presses, local publishing houses)
  5. Arts e.g. the archives of pioneering poets, writers and artists in Singapore

Who Can Apply?

All applicants must be nominated by libraries, established research and academic institutions, museums, archives or other experts in the subject fields above.

Preferred candidates include professionals or scholars from libraries, established research institutes, universities, museums, archives and professional associations (e.g. the Library Association of Singapore, the Singapore Heritage Society).

Candidates should possess minimally a Masters’ qualification in a relevant subject field; be nominated by their department head, peers or past project heads, and fulfil at least two of the following criteria:

  • Minimum 10 years' relevant experience in their chosen field;
  • Published and presented extensively in leading publications and conferences;
  • Acknowledged experts in their respective fields.

Terms of the Award

The award of the Fellowship is for a minimum six (6) months, with Fellows given the flexibility to split up the six (6) month Fellowship term into two (2) blocks of two-to-three (2-3) months during the year of the Fellowship. Up to three Fellows will be awarded every year. If there are no worthy candidates, no award will be made. Any potential conflict of interest must be declared at the point of application. It is preferred that awarded Fellows commence their Fellowship undertaking within 3 months of the award.

A stipend of S$5,000 per month will be provided to help GLH Fellows meet living expenses, local transportation and photocopying expenses. Overseas Fellows will be provided with the following additional allowances on a case-by-case basis:

a. One-time relocation package to Singapore of S$3,000.

b. One-time return economy air ticket of up to a maximum of S$5,000. Exceptions can be made on a case-by-case basis if the lowest prevailing market rates for airfares still exceed the above capped amounts at time of purchase.

c. Monthly accommodation allowance of up to a maximum of S$5,000/month subject to market rates and approval from the Evaluation Committee.

Notes: Stipends and all other allowances are subject to withholding tax. Overseas applicants may require visa/entry permit to Singapore.

For foreign applicants, please click here to download a guide for overseas candidates.

All Fellows will also be provided with the following:

  • A research space at the NLS including a computer with internet access.
  • Access to the library's collections, including its Rare books, Maps and Manuscripts collection.
  • Research Assistance.

Obligations of the Fellow

All Fellows shall undertake to complete the following project deliverables for NLS, namely:-

a. To advise on the NLS's collection development efforts for its Special Collections;

b. To recommend best practices that the NLS can adopt in acquiring the collections;

c. To mentor NLS Librarians in evaluating and acquiring the identified collections;

d. To submit a collection assessment report on the identified collection area(s), that includes identified gaps, and a list of materials and sources from which the materials can be acquired;

e. To provide referrals and to connect the NLS with the relevant institutions, organizations or collectors, world-wide;

f. To give a public lecture(s) at the NLS about one’s area(s) of collecting expertise, at the end of the term of the said Fellowship.

To fulfil these obligations, GLHF Fellows are expected to understand the collections of both NLS and the National Archives of Singapore.

How to apply?

Each application must include:

  1. A completed application form, with details on:

    • Chosen area of collection development and proposed method to develop the collections and foster networks
    • Proposed schedule of work and time frame; including number of days spent onsite at the National Library during the course of work.
    • The method /approach to be used to facilitate and impart skills/knowledge transfer.
    • A brief write-up of similar collection development projects in the past and references, if any.
  2. A Curriculum Vitae that includes the following information:

    • Details of any awards or relevant appointments previously or currently held.
    • Details of professional seminars/conference papers/public lectures presented.
    • List of major publications written.
  3. A Reference from your Nominator, which should address the following:

    • The applicant's qualifications, ability and experience.
    • The quality of the applicant's previous work.
    • The applicant's demonstrated capacity to complete projects within a reasonable time frame.
  4. Applications must be submitted in English.
  5. NLB reserves the right to interview or request for a presentation to seek clarifications.

About George Lyndon Hicks

Mr George Lyndon Hicks has been an NLB donor since 2008, donating over 6,800 books that covered mainly the areas of science and technology, politics, economics and history. Some of the highlights include a map on Rubber Estates in Java (1911), Atlas to Lord Macartney's Embassy to China (1793), Dutch Atlas of Indonesia (1883-85), and Plates to Accompany Marsden's History of Sumatra (1831). An economist and writer on Southeast Asian and Asian politics, economics and history, he has authored and edited of over 17 books including books on the overseas Chinese, Chinese political developments and the economic roles of Southeast Asian Chinese. His most famous work, Comfort Women: Sex Slaves of the Japanese Imperial Forces, was published in 1995 after years of intensive research and documentation in Southeast Asia, Japan and the United States. It has been translated into Chinese, Japanese and Korean.

Applications should be emailed to, or mailed to the following address by 27 April 2018.

Attn: The Administrator
George Lyndon Hicks Fellowship for Southeast Asian Collections
National Library, Singapore
100 Victoria Street,
Singapore 188064

Late or incomplete applications will not be accepted. Notification of acceptance or rejection will be made known within 3 months of the closing date.

For further information about the Fellowship, please contact:

The Administrator, George Lyndon Hicks Fellowship for Southeast Asian Collections
Tel: 6718 3247

The National Library Board is pleased to announce the recipients of the George Lyndon Hicks Fellowship 2018.

  • Assoc Prof Tan Chee Lay

Hear from our Fellows

Curious about the George Lyndon Hicks Research Fellowship?
Find out what our fellows have to say about the fellowship.

Prof Peter Borschberg

  Prof Peter Borschberg

Mr Ronald Milne

  Mr Ronald Milne

Dr David Clinnick

  Dr David Clinnick



Last Updated On 30 October 2018

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