Australia Indigenous Arts Residency Exchange

RMIT in Melbourne

In 2011, an annual residency and exchange partnership began between the Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology’s (RMIT) International Artist in Residency Program (iAIR) and the Gushul Studio Residency Program at the University of Lethbridge in Canada. This project was developed to connect and illuminate Indigenous culture and expand ideas of Indigeneity.  The residency will provide the successful applicant with a residency in Melbourne and an exhibition in the RMIT Project Space gallery.

This exchange is directed specifically to practicing Canadian artists that identify as indigenous peoples.  As well, the body of their practice would need to reflect ideas and perspectives on indigenous culture and identity. 

Questions regarding the residency exchange can be directed to Sarah Hilliard at

The 2014 Exchange Artists have been selected!
The Canadian collaborative duo Neon Kohkom have been selected to travel to Melbourne for a residency and exhibition at RMIT.  Amy Malbeuf (Michif/Métis) and Jordan Bennett (Miʼkmaq) work in performance, sculpture, installation, digital/new media, and Indigenous art forms, such as beading and caribou hair tufting.  They involve the process of re-appropriating and reclaiming traditional and contemporary components of their respective cultures, to convey notions surrounding identity, tradition, spirituality, consumerism, and pop culture.  While in Melbourne, they will build new works that continue and expand upon the themes of misrepresentation, exaggeration, and humour, in relation to global ideas of Indigeneity as they interact with staff, students, and local indigenous cultures at RMIT.

Jordan Bennett - ReAppropriating the WheelAmy Malbeuf - Unbodied 4Neon Kohkom - More Nativer Than You #1

Bianca Beetson (BAVA) is a Kabi Kabi (Sunshine Coast) Waradjuri (NSW) artist, and will be residing in the Gushul Studio for September and October of 2014.  Bianca’s work is concerned with her individual identity as an indigenous Australian, as well as the identity of Australia as a nation in terms of its history and governance and it’s colonial construct.  She is also a former member of the ProppaNOW aboriginal artists collective and currently works as a conveenor of Contemporary Indigenous Australian Art at the Queensland College of Art.  Her time in Canada will focus on research and cultural exchange with the Blackfoot and Blood nations of Alberta, gaining a broader understanding of colonial history from a First Nations perspective, and furthering her doctorate studies on the politics and authenticity of skin.  

Bianca BeetsonBianca BeetsonBianca Beetson

2013 Exchange Artists
For the 2013 exchange, Canadian artist Scott Benesiinaabandan was selected to present his exhibition, Blood Memories, in the RMIT Project Space gallery.  This project has emerged from research into interactive projection media, using processing programs and webcam technology to create fields of images that record and capture the physical space they inhabit. A slit-scan camera technique creates not only a still of a moment but a time-based image that captures space in a unique “time-smear” capturing both the space, time and movement within a singular customizable frame. 

Australian artist Vicki Couzens (MA) was selected to come to Canada to reside in the Gushul Studio.  Her project entails the collaborative creation of a Possum Skin Cloak with local Aboriginal artists from the Blood Tribe, Blackfoot Nation, in Blairmore, Southern Alberta.  She will participate in both the Art NOW (October 2 and 4) and Speaker Series (October 16) at the University of Lethbridge campus.