Alastair Swayn Foundation – RMIT Architecture Affiliated Fellowship at the American Academy in Rome

New international fellowship to advance design practice. 

The Alastair Swayn Foundation and RMIT Architecture in partnership with the American Academy in Rome are delighted to seek expressions of interest for the inaugural Alastair Swayn Foundation-RMIT Architecture (ASF-RMIT) Affiliated Fellowship at the American Academy in Rome (AAR) to take place in 2024-25.

The Fellowship is open to early and mid-career Australian architects, landscape architects and design professionals. This eight (8) week residential fellowship provides the Affiliated Fellow with opportunities to work on their research, cultivate their practice, and make new connections in the interdisciplinary context of the American Academy in Rome and within the larger intellectual and creative setting of the city of Rome and region. The Affiliated Fellow will be encouraged to participate in Academy programs, including lectures, concerts, walking tours, and site visits and other public programs in the disciplines the Academy supports.

Successful candidates will not only be outstanding in their respective field, but also at a point in their careers when the Fellowship is likely to be crucial to their future growth and development. During their time at the Academy, the Fellow will work towards undertaking a specific project and will deliver a public lecture in Australia upon their return.

About the opportunity

The Fellowship provides eight (8) weeks of room, board, and a stipend or funds for travel of $7,500 to be used at the Fellow’s discretion. The Fellowship includes a room with a private bath, a studio, communal meals prepared under the Rome Sustainable Food Project and use and access to the Academy’s Library, archives, collections and gardens, as well as participation in lectures, concerts, study trips, and exhibitions. The Affiliated Fellow will also have access to services such as IT support and materials for their work. With a staff of fifty on the Rome campus, there is a support network and resources for Fellows, including twenty-four-hour access to the Academy’s Library.

The Fellow will undertake their eight (8) week residency between September 2024 and end July 2025 with specific dates to be negotiated with the successful applicant and the AAR.

The project is not required to be associated with Italian topics.

ASF-RMIT Architecture Affiliated Fellowship

The ASF-RMIT Architecture Affiliated Fellowship at the American Academy in Rome (AAR) is made possible through co-investment by the ASF and RMIT Architecture.

Alastair Swayn AO was one of Canberra’s leading architects and a lover of all things associated with Australian design. Alastair generously bequeathed his estate to a foundation in his name, to advance Australian architecture and design culture. The Foundation provides opportunities for those in Australian architecture and design related industries to conduct research in their specialised field. You can learn more here:

RMIT Architecture sits within the multidisciplinary, School of Architecture & Urban Design at RMIT University in Melbourne. The School A&UD is leading the establishment of international excellence in research and is recognised as a leader in Design-practice research with distinguished practitioner PhD cohorts geographically clustered around activities at RMIT sites in Melbourne, Barcelona, and Ho Chi Minh City. RMIT Architecture is characterised by strong links to the architecture profession and wider-industry nationally and internationally –innovation of design practice research methods and through staff - the majority of whom are registered architects and undertake research through design. RMIT Architecture has a commitment to differentiation, curated and vertically integrated scholarship and to venturous practice and experimentation that aspires to contribute to the future of the disciplines and to an increasingly complex world.

Established in 1894, the American Academy in Rome supports innovative artists and scholars living and working together in a dynamic international community in Rome. The Academy’s support of individuals in a variety of fields as they engage in an open exchange of ideas is among its greatest strengths and founding principles. As an overseas research centre for independent work, the Academy also sustains a robust array of international Affiliated Fellowships that engage scholars and artists from the United States and from international universities and cultural organisations. In addition to offering dedicated time to pursue their scholarly and creative projects, the networks forged at the Academy are beneficial to these individuals throughout their careers. Fellows describe their time at the Academy as an important professional experience and note the impact of this collegial multi-disciplinary community.

Who can apply?

  • Only individuals may apply
  • You must be an Australian citizen or an Australian permanent resident working in architecture, landscape architecture or a related design profession
  • Australian citizens currently based overseas are eligible

Who can't apply?

You can’t apply if:

  • You received a grant, or administered a grant, from the ASF in the past, which has not been satisfactorily acquitted
  • You owe money to the ASF or to RMIT
  • Applications from legally constituted organisations will not be accepted

Selection criteria

Applicants must address the following assessment criteria:

1. Merit

  • Suitability of your design/research practice to the residency program
  • Quality of work previously produced including through public and peer response to your work

2. Viability

  • Suitability of your proposed project to the residency program
  • Realistic and achievable planning, resource use, and evaluation

3. Impact on career

  • How the proposed Fellowship project strengthens your design/research practice
  • The relevance and timeliness of the proposed project
  • How the proposed activity strengthens your capacity as design professional, particularly in relation to international development and collaboration

Application process

There are three types of support material you must submit in your application.

1. Project proposal

Applicants must submit a one (1) page A4 format project proposal describing the project to be undertaken.

Applicants should explain how their projects and their own professional development will benefit from a residency within a multidisciplinary community in Rome and, if applicable, identify any resources in Italy that will be significant for their work (though they need not be working on Italian topics).

2. Portfolio

In support of your application, you must submit a brief portfolio, a brief biography and CV and referees. Assessors may review this material to help them gain a better sense of your project.

Please note, we do not accept application-related support material submitted via post. Application-related material received by post will not be assessed and will be returned to the sender. If you think you will have difficulty submitting your support material online or need advice on what type of material to submit, please contact Chelsea Denny on

Applicants must submit a maximum five (5) page A4 format portfolio in pdf format. This should include relevant examples of your practice work (built or unbuilt).

3. Biography/CV and list of referees

You must include a maximum two (2) page biography/curriculum vitae (CV) A4 format.

You must also provide the names of three (3) referees who can speak in support of your application. You must include their full names, email addresses, and telephone numbers. Applicants will be notified before referees are contacted.

Selection process

RMIT Architecture will appoint a jury to consider applications according to the assessment criteria and make their final recommendations to the ASF Board for endorsement.

Successful applicant will be notified of the outcome of their application in April 2024.

Interviews may be held with shortlisted applicants.

Key dates

Date Details
1 February 2024 Expressions of Interest LAUNCH
11 March 2024 11:59pm (AEDT) Expressions of Interest CLOSE
March 2024 Interviews (if required)
April 2024 Advise applicant of their selection
September 2024 - July 2025 8 week residency in Rome (dates to be negotiated)

The judging panel for the 2024-25 ASF-RMIT Affiliated Fellowship includes Rodney Eggleston, Director of March Studio Architects; Amy Muir, Director of Muir Architecture; and Vivian Mitsogianni, Dean of the School of Architecture & Urban Design.


Accommodation and workspace

Accommodation is in the AAR’s historic building on the Janiculum Hill.

Affiliated Fellows receive a room, meals, a studio, and access to community amenities.

The Affiliated Fellow will be required to follow all current protocols, including COVID safety protocols, as determined by the AAR.

Families and guests

The Affiliated Fellowship is intended for the successful candidate only. Affiliated Fellows can accommodate their personal guests overnight only in their living quarters on the premises of the American Academy in Rome. A guest policy is in place that will be provided to the ASF-RMIT Affiliated Fellow.

Access and inclusion

The AAR have a room and a studio that are designed for accessibility. Please note that not all parts of the Academy are accessible.


The successful Affiliated Fellow agrees to:

  • Actively promote their appointment and time at the Academy through media and social network channels
  • Submit an illustrated report and/or relevant exhibits for publication on Swayn Open Research at the end of their Fellowship
  • Develop and deliver a public talk on their return to Australia
  • Contribute to promotion of the ASF-RMIT Affiliated Fellowship in out years


Apply Here

To apply for this grant, you will need to complete this online application form.

If you would like to submit sections of your application in accessible formats such as audio or video, please contact us at least two weeks before the closing date (see contact details below).


All enquiries should be directed to Please do not submit applications via this email as they will not be processed. All applications and uploads must be made through our application system.

aboriginal flag
torres strait flag

Acknowledgement of Country

RMIT University acknowledges the people of the Woi wurrung and Boon wurrung language groups of the eastern Kulin Nation on whose unceded lands we conduct the business of the University. RMIT University respectfully acknowledges their Ancestors and Elders, past and present. RMIT also acknowledges the Traditional Custodians and their Ancestors of the lands and waters across Australia where we conduct our business - Artwork 'Luwaytini' by Mark Cleaver, Palawa.

aboriginal flag
torres strait flag

Acknowledgement of Country

RMIT University acknowledges the people of the Woi wurrung and Boon wurrung language groups of the eastern Kulin Nation on whose unceded lands we conduct the business of the University. RMIT University respectfully acknowledges their Ancestors and Elders, past and present. RMIT also acknowledges the Traditional Custodians and their Ancestors of the lands and waters across Australia where we conduct our business.