The Australian War Memorial Act 1980 requires the Memorial to "conduct, arrange and assist in research into matters pertaining to Australian military history". The Memorial has fulfilled this function, in part, through the Research Grants Scheme, Research Fellowships (both currently in abeyance), and Summer Vacation Scholarships.
An initiative of the Australian War Memorial, in partnership with Thales Australia and with support from the University of Canberra, The Napier Waller Art Prize is the first ever national art prize offered exclusively to current and former Defence personnel.
The $10,000 art prize aims to promote the healing potential of art for servicemen and servicewomen and to raise a broader awareness of the military experience and the impact of service on the individual.
The Australian War Memorial provides one or more Summer Vacation Scholarships for history students in the third or fourth year of an undergraduate course, or who are undertaking early-stage postgraduate studies. The scholarships are also open to students enrolled in museum or public history courses.
The Bryan Gandevia Prize of $5,000 is presented biennially by the Australian War Memorial to an outstanding honours, masters, or doctoral thesis on a significant subject in Australian military history, military-medical history or military-social history. The prize is intended to foster and promote research into Australian military history, military-medical history, and military-social history. The inaugural prize was awarded in 2012.
The Spiros Zournazis Memorial Fellowship has been initiated to support research into the Australian War Memorial’s extensive art collection by early career scholars. The Fellowship is open to honours or postgraduate students undertaking a thesis as part of their degree, or those who have completed a PhD since January 2012. Fellows are free to determine their own course of research provided it focuses primarily on the Memorial’s art collection. Scholars working in the fields of art history, cultural studies, museology, sociology and related disciplines may apply. The Fellowship is four weeks in duration and the recipient will be awarded return airfares to Canberra (from within Australia), accommodation in a studio apartment at the Gorman Arts Centre and a stipend of $2000 to cover other expenses.
The Australian War Memorial has a long history of working successfully with contemporary artists through the Official War Art Scheme. In 2013 the Memorial initiated the Artist Residency program to create opportunities for emerging contemporary artists to engage with the collection and provide new, creative perspectives on Australian military history and the interpretation of current and historical conflict. This was funded by the Australia Council for the Arts, through its Early career residency program, to stimulate innovative engagement with the AWM and its collection.
From the 1 July – 30 September 2013 Sydney based new media artist, writer and curator Baden Pailthorpe was the Memorial’s inaugural artist in residence.