Australia Indigenous Arts Residency Exchange

RMIT in Melbourne

The call for applications for the Australia Indigenous Arts Residency Exchange 2015 has closed!

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.

Indigenous artists - photographers, painters, filmmakers, video/audio artists, installation/digital artists - are invited to make application for the residency at RMIT University School of Art in Melbourne, Australia.

The successful candidate will be required to undertake the residency for 6 weeks between April 13 to May 24, 2015. This residency will be accompanied by an exhibition at RMIT’s Project Space Gallery ( from May 18 to July 5, 2015.

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.

RMIT, School of Art Melbourne, Australia

Through an outstanding education in art practice and theory, RMIT’s School of Art has established a reputation as Victoria’s number one art school of choice. The school is committed to fostering a collaborative culture where students, artists, writers, academics, communities and arts organizations from around the world join to explore and lead this evolving and interdisciplinary field.

International Artists in Residence (iAIR) program

The iAIR program facilitates residencies in Australia for international artists and sends Australian artists overseas. The program was formed to contribute to the international focus within the School and to build links with innovative global networks enhancing RMIT’s role in contemporary art discourses.

The residency provides a residence, a stipend, a private studio, personal support, access to office facilities (computer, internet and printer) and access to various RMIT studio areas and facilities. The residency will provide the successful applicant with an exhibition in the RMIT Project Space gallery (see above). Should you wish your application to be considered without an exhibition component to the residency, please note so in your cover letter.

In addition to the exhibition, the successful applicant will be expected to deliver 1 to 3 presentations on their work to the University, and assist by providing feedback at 2 to 4 student tutorials.

The artist residency is generously supported by the RMIT with an AUD$2000.00 stipend, as well as by the Canada Council for the Arts with a grant of CAD$3000.00 to assist with travel costs.  We encourage applicants to apply for additional funding through their provincial and federal arts funding bodies as they may require.  Applicants are advised to be aware of the financial responsibilities (such as freight costs and insurance) that will not be covered by the residency agreement and stipend, or by the Canada Council grant.  It is the responsibility of the applicant to apply for other forms of funding or grants, if required, for additional costs such as travel, insurance, and materials. Please be aware of the deadlines, requirements, and anticipated distribution date for those grants.

For full details and submission guidelines, please read the RMIT Exchange Call for Canadian Applications document.

The selected artists will be announced here once the decisions have been made and the artists contacted.  Questions regarding the residency exchange can be directed to Sarah Hilliard at

We acknowledge the support of the Canada Council for the Arts, which last year invested $157 million to bring the arts to Canadians throughout the country.

Nous remercions le Conseil des arts du Canada de son soutien. L’an dernier, le Conseil  a investi 157 millions de dollars pour mettre de l’art dans la vie des Canadiennes et des Canadiens de tout le pays.

2014 Exchange Artists

For the 2014 Exchange, Canadian collaborative duo Neon Kohkom were 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. 

"Through our project and attending various other art events at RMIT and in Melbourne, we were able make many professional connections with students, staff, and general members of the arts community. Through this we engaged in dialogue surrounding issues of Indigeniety in contemporary art. This dialogue continued at our exhibition opening reception, which was well attended.

This program has enabled us to situate our art within an International understanding of Indigenous arts practice, giving us a broader perspective on the ways in which we view and produce our own art; which will resonate with us for years to come. This program has also had an immediate impact on our career. Through our exhibition at the RMIT Project Space gallery and our newfound network of Australian arts professionals, we were offered two more exhibitions in Melbourne from independent curators, scheduled for later this year." - Neon Kohkom: Amy Malbeuf and Jordan Bennett

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 participated in both the Art NOW (October 2 and 4) and Speaker Series (October 16) at the University of Lethbridge campus.