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Thursday 01 June 2023

Creative Research Residency

Umbrella and James Cook University (JCU) are planning an exciting residency focused on JCU Library's Special Collection at the Eddie Koiki Mabo Library and at The Studio, on Bindal and Wulgurukaba Country in Townsville.

The collections include rare books, books with hand-coloured prints and bookplates, newspapers, photographs, and art objects. While the collection has a focus on North Queensland and the tropics, it ultimately tells stories about Australia and its connection to places and people elsewhere. Research themes for the residency could include place, migration, colonies, missions, labour, the reef/ocean, water, pearling and sugar cane production.

Further information about the Special Collection can be found here. The 50 Treasures Project is a great introduction to the collections.

The residency will support one contemporary Australian visual artist with accommodation, an artist fee and a travel fee for a one-month program, divided into one week at JCU Library's Special Collection at the Eddie Koiki Mabo Library and three weeks at The Studio at Umbrella.

Applicants may indicate their preferred timeframe of the residency within the months of August, September, October, and November of the year 2023.

Applications closed on Tuesday 28 February 2023.

Pioneer Sugar Mill, Register of Pacific Islanders Employed at Pioneer in the District of Townsville: Schedule L (1895-1906), Manuscript (handwritten), 94 pages, 37 x 27cm, JCU Library Pioneer Sugar Mill Archive, Ⓒ James Cook University. Photography by Michael Marzik.

Sir Russell Drysdale (donor), Sir Russell Drysdale's Gift of Rare books, Printed Australiana: 56 Volumes, 36 publications - the majority having been published during the 18th and 19th Centuries (a selection depicted), JCU Library Rare Book Collection, Ⓒ James Cook University. Photography by Michael Marzik.

Payment and support

  • The successful artist will be paid $2500 (ex GST).
  • In addition, the successful artist can receive up to $1000 towards travel.
  • Accommodation (for one person) for the one-month duration of the residency will be provided. 

Application process

Applicants are asked to submit the following information for their application, at the latest by 5pm (AEST), Tuesday 28 February 2023:

  • a CV
  • a short biography of 300 words
  • a two-page (maximum) project proposal, outlining your ideas and (rough) plans for the residency and highlighting why you are interested in this opportunity and JCU Library's Special Collection
  • a portfolio of previous work (up to 10 artworks) with relevant links, with handles to social media pages (please ensure your portfolio is shared as a PDF document and is no more than 10MB in size)

Applications are to be sent to Arts Program Manager Jasmin Günther at [email protected]

Selection and eligibility

The residency will support one contemporary visual artist working in their area of expertise or preferred practice. Applicants are encouraged to research Umbrella and JCU Library's Special Collection and to contact Umbrella, when in doubt, prior to writing their proposal.

Please note: Collaborative artists may choose to apply; however, the payment and support outlined above remains the same.

  • All Australian residents over the age of 18 are eligible to apply.
  • Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander artists are strongly encouraged to apply.

 The successful artist will be selected by an assessment panel.

Expectations of the artist

There is no obligation to present finished work; however, there is the possibility to use exhibition opportunities, subject to agreement and availability. We encourage involvement with our community, e. g. through a workshop, work in progress presentation or artist talk. The artist will be asked to provide feedback on the outcomes their residency.

The successful artist will need to pay for their own art materials associated with their residency work, transportation while in Townsville and other expenses, e. g. food. Umbrella will cover the costs associated with The Studio, including electricity, water, and any workshops materials, if the artist chooses to facilitate a workshop during their residency.


Umbrella Studio Contemporary Arts is situated on Flinders Street in the heart of Townsville City. The James Cook University Bebegu Yumba campus with the Eddie Koiki Mabo Library is located in Douglas, a suburb of Townsville south-west of the CBD. Both locations are connected through a direct bus line (201).

The Studio / Workspace

As a multi-arts space, the creative possibilities are infinite. Through newly donated equipment, we have added silversmithing and darkroom photography to the highly specialised practices accessible in the space, alongside existing practices like printmaking. At the heart of The Studio is a long tradition of arts practice and innovation.

The Studio is located downstairs from the Umbrella Studio Contemporary Arts gallery space. It hosts workshops, education programs, creative partnerships and a key access studio user group. Find out more about The Studio here.


The Studio is usually accessed via stairs down through the gallery space; however, wheelchair access can be arranged via a back entry. If you have any access or support requirements, please feel free to let us know and contact us at any time.

COVID Safe Visits

Umbrella asks that visitors adhere to social distancing, visitor logs, and other COVID Safe directives and procedures as directed.

More COVID Information

Open Hours

Tues - Fri: 9am-5pm

Sat - Sun: 9am-1pm

Gallery closed Mondays, public holidays and during exhibition install weeks.

Follow our social media for updates.


(07) 4772 7109

408 Flinders Street,
Townsville, Qld, 4810 Australia

PO Box 2394,
Townsville, Qld, 4810 Australia

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Acknowledgement of Country

Umbrella Studio Contemporary Arts respectfully acknowledges the Wulgurukaba of Gurambilbarra and Yunbenun and the surrounding groups of our region; Bindal, Gugu Badhan, Nywaigi, Warrgamay, Bandjin and Gudjal as the Traditional Custodians of the land on which we gather, share and celebrate local creative practice. We pay our respects to Elders past, present and emerging. We acknowledge Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders as the first people of Australia. They have never ceded sovereignty and remain strong in their enduring connection to land and Culture.


Umbrella is supported by the Queensland Government through Arts Queensland, part of the Department of Communities, Housing and Digital Economy, and by the Visual Arts and Craft Strategy, an initiative of the Australian, state and territory governments.
Townsville City Council is a strategic partner of Umbrella's program.