In 2008, Melbourne joined the UNESCO Creative Cities Network when it was designated the first and only City of Literature in Australia, and the second in the world after Edinburgh.

The network of Cities of Literature has grown considerably since then and one of the wonderful initiatives between these cities is to arrange virtual residencies for writers. This is the first year the RHSV has taken part and we are thrilled to host Bria Cotton, from Manchester UK, throughout November. Bria will work, at a distance, on aspects of our collection and she will host 2 free Zoom workshops as well as submitting a piece of writing based on her interaction with the RHSV.

A little more about Bria …

Bria is a fledgling worker in the museum sector in Manchester, England. The chimera accent you hear is the result of her being raised in Australia, the US (California, to be exact) and Singapore before moving to the UK with her Northern Irish and English family. She’s been in the UK for over 10 years and still hasn’t lost the accent, at this point it is probably out of spite.

Her main interests revolve around cultural memory, 19th century international histories, and fantasy of the paranormal persuasion. One day she will write about a topic that melds all three together.

When she is not running around Manchester’s cultural institutions, she is producing theatre and facilitating history workshops. Somehow, she still finds time to relax by either reading, fooling around with her friends, or trying out a new restaurant on the scene.

Writing for her is a way to make sense of the nonsense, or to make nonsense of the sense, so she is always hopping between creative writing and non-fiction in her spare time.

And a little more about Melbourne as a UNESCO City of Literature …

Melbourne’s designation as a UNESCO City of Literature is acknowledgment of the breadth, depth and vibrancy of the city’s literary culture. Melbourne supports a diverse range of writers, a prosperous publishing industry, a successful culture of independent bookselling, a wide variety of literary organisations and a healthy culture of reading and engagement in events and festivals.

The designation was made in recognition of the following factors, amongst others:

  • The quality, quantity and diversity of publishing and editorial initiatives in Melbourne;
  • The quality and quantity of educational programmes in Melbourne;
  • Melbourne’s urban environment in which literature is integral;
  • Melbourne’s experience at hosting literary events and festivals, and promoting foreign and domestic texts;
  • Melbourne’s libraries, bookstores and cultural centres; and
  • The use of new media in Melbourne to promote and strengthen the literary market.