Residencies Research

In 2014-15 the Australia Council conducted research on artist residencies directly and indirectly funded through our grants and programs.

The aim of the research was to better understand the impact of our support on artists’ careers and the factors which support a successful residency experience.

This research has enabled Council to reflect on what role we should play in providing residencies, and ensure our activities are efficient and effective in maximising the value and impact of residencies for artists. It has supported the development of the International Residencies Program.

The following factsheets summarise key findings from the research.

What are the motivations and benefits for artists?

What makes a successful residency?

Residency location: where and why?

What support is needed for an artist on residency?

These factsheets have been compiled using data collected by the Australia Council’s Research, Evaluation and Data Analysis Team, and BYP Group.

The quotes included in these factsheets were sourced from survey respondents and interviews with artists and residency providers.


The research was based on:

  • Focus groups and face-to-face interviews with artists who had been supported by the Australia Council (24 participants).
  • A survey of artists who had been supported by the Australia Council to undertake residencies. These residencies could have been self-organised, through an Australia Council residency program, or through an organisation funded by the Australia Council to deliver residencies (244 responses).
  • A literature review of available research on artist residencies.

Artists who had applied directly to the Australia Council were emailed a link to the survey. Organisations funded by the Australia Council to deliver residencies were asked to distribute the survey to their residents. The survey was open for the last two weeks of January 2015.

There were 244 completed responses. Of these, around 40% identified their art form as literature, 40% as visual arts and craft, and the remainder practiced another art form. While this is broadly representative of the key art forms funded for residencies by the Australia Council, it should be noted that findings may not be applicable to all artistic residencies, particularly residency programs that have a bigger focus on the performing arts.

Glossary of key terms used factsheets

Residencies: provide artists and other creative professionals with time, space and resources to work, individually or collectively, on areas of their practice that reward heightened reflection or focus.

Mentor: an experienced artist that partners with a less experienced artist to provide guidance and advice. Mentors can also introduce artists to others in the sector.

Broker: plays a significant role in brokering market opportunities or connections with a company, other artists or a mentor.

Host: the organisation that delivered one or more of: the residency creative space; the accommodation; the residency program (the set of activities that make up the residency). 

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