A residency opportunity to free you from distraction

Bundanon Trust is now calling for applications for their 2019 Artist-in-Residence program.
A residency opportunity to free you from distraction

Jane Theau and Sue Healey in residence at Bundanon 2017. Image supplied.

The distractions of life – particularly city life – can interrupt the creative process and slow us down just as we are on the verge of progress. How do we find focus when our attention gets pulled in a myriad of different directions, from the phone ringing to the well-meaning coworker who asks a simple but distracting question?

For many creatives, the answer lies in finding an opportunity to get away and find respite from the everyday, which is why residencies can be so helpful.


Australia’s largest and most diverse residency program is located only a three-hour drive from Sydney at Bundanon Trust. It is also one of few residencies that are open to all art forms.

Applications for the 2019 Bundanon Trust residency program are now open.

John Baylis, Head of Arts Program at Bundanon Trust, said the main feedback they get each year is how Bundanon’s rural location creates an opportunity for artists to be distraction-free.

‘Once you come down Bundanon Road, you feel like you’re in a totally different world all together and the outside world drops away.

‘We do have very good wifi so you can choose to stay in contact, but we don’t have very good mobile reception, which some people see as a plus as they can turn off their phones for a while,’ he added.

Approximately 5,000 artists have participated in the residency program since it started in 1997. Currently Bundanon Trust hosts 350 residencies each year.

Francois Reau Artist in Residence 2017. Image supplied.

But the location’s ability to help artists by providing a creative disconnect is only one part of the experience.

‘There are intrinsic benefits of a Bundanon residency, which are getting away from the hurly burly of everyday life and be able to focus precisely on the work at hand. But there are also the career benefits of being put into that small community of artists – artists from all over the country and of all different stages of career. Out of that often emerges friendships and partnerships that become fruitful and just because of the unique quality of being away from it all, it does tend to encourage these relationships,’ said Baylis.

How to apply

Applications for the Bundanon Trust 2019 Artist-in-Residence program are now open and close 18 June.

The Bundanon Trust Artist-in-Residence program is open to arts professionals from Australia and overseas, working in all disciplines. This includes artists, writers, performers, producers, directors, composers, curators and educators. Residencies can be for research and development or for the creation of new work.

The selection process is peer reviewed and there are a number of fellowships offered each year to cover accommodation costs.

Find out more about Bundanon Trust 2019 Artist-in-Residence program

Baylis said the program often appeals to mid-career and established creatives, but that doesn’t mean younger artists are ineligible.

‘Some younger artists may feel that it’s not for them, that’s it’s for more experienced artists, and this year we have artists such as Deborah Conway, Anne Ferran, Rosalie Ham – all artists who are very senior in their careers, but that’s only one part of what we are about. We also encourage artists who are at earlier stages of their career to also be part of the Bundanon experience.’

While the application process is largely judged on the artistic merit of the proposal, there are no required outcomes for the program and artists are left to their own creative exploration.

Once they are here, we don’t insist that they account precisely what they did,’ Baylis explained, adding that the residency experience is one that the artist is in control of.

‘If they change their project halfway or if the creative impulse takes them in a different direction, that is totally what the Bundanon experience is for. It’s different from the normal production process where you get on a straight line, you have a deadline at the end and have to run for it.’

Visit bundanon.com.au to find out more.

Brooke Boland

Thursday 26 April, 2018

About the author

Brooke Boland is a freelance writer based on the South Coast of NSW. She has a PhD in literature from the University of NSW. You can find her on Instagram @southcoastwriter.