Artist in Residence

Applications closed

Applications open on Monday, 12 May 2025 at 9 am AEST.

Creative artists are invited to interpret or respond to the Library’s public and behind-the-scenes interior spaces or our collections.

About the residency

The Library’s Artist in Residence is a program aimed at connecting artists with the iconic buildings of the State Library of NSW and its rich collections. The program provides a three-month residency designed for artists to creatively respond to the physical spaces and/or interpret our collections. The program aims to create awareness of the Library’s collections and the role art can play in documenting life, society, buildings and landscapes in NSW.

What is a creative artist residency project?

Sydney Public Library

Projects should demonstrate the applicant’s creative response to the Library’s buildings, spaces or collections. Works may be developed in the artist’s preferred medium; however, restrictions apply when using collection materials and in certain Library spaces, in accordance with Library policies.  

Who is eligible? 

The Artist in Residence program is designed to assist creative practitioners and artists to practice/exhibit their artistic format. Applicants should be professional practising artists who are at any stage of their career. Applicants must be able to demonstrate previous work and a capability to communicate their artwork to a general audience. 

Applicants should provide information about any association with a gallery or cultural institution in their attached CV. Applicants should also outline any scholarships and grants that will operate concurrently with this residency. 

The Library can also discuss residencies directly with artists, provided that they can supply the relevant documentation outlined under How do I apply? 

What does the creative artist residency provide? 

Residents will enjoy access to the Library’s Fellows Room and behind-the-scenes access to our buildings and collections.    

Artists will receive: 

  • special access to collections and staff expertise  
  • access to office facilities and a workstation in the Fellows Room, Friends Room and Mitchell Library  
  • discount at the Library café and bookshop. 
  • copies of collection materials (within reasonable limits and access conditions) 
  • will receive a membership of the Library Friends for one year 

Please note that this is an unpaid opportunity.   

The Artist in Residence program is not automatically acquisitive, but the Library would like the opportunity to acquire works created during the residency should the work fall within the parameters of the Library’s Collection Development Policy.   

What are the requirements for a creative residency? 

The Artist in Residence will be required to:   

  • Be self-directed.   
  • Be open to participating in a public program, lecture or event.  
  • Assist in promoting the residency through media and public communications.   

Copyright and intellectual property  

The artist retains copyright of their own artistic works created during the residency with the non-exclusive exception of the use of images of works by the Library for its promotional purposes.  

How many residencies will be offered each year? 

Two positions will be offered each calendar year. There is flexibility for the timeframe for the residency, but this should not extend longer than three months.   

How do I apply? 

Applications will be received at any time during the year and scheduled by negotiation. Applications are submitted online and must include:  

  • CV (no more than two pages) that outlines your professional career  
  • documentation that provides evidence of your work  
  • a one page covering letter outlining your project which explains how the Library, or its collections, are relevant to your work, and how the residency will benefit your project. 
  • two referees. 

The Library’s Executive, or its delegate, confirms final selection for these residencies. 

Previous creative artists include: 

  • 2015 John Bokor 
  • 2016 Joe Frost  
  • 2017 Wendy Sharpe 
  • 2019 Hadyn Wilson 
  • 2020 Idris Murphy 
  • 2021 Fernando do Campo  
  • 2022 Anna Glynn 


Past artists in residence


Wendy Sharpe took inspiration from the panoramic views from the Mitchell Library rooftop and captured our buildings in a period of transition during the Mitchell Galleries Project.


Joe Frost focused on the Library as a social space and also found inspiration in the Library’s collections.


John Bokor focused on capturing the historic Mitchell Library Reading Rooms from the balconies.

Last updated:  12 July 2024

Fellowship Information

For further information please contact Scholarship:

Phone: 02 9273 1765