Studio Residency Program

At the Convent, we aim to transform people’s lives through diverse cultural experiences and our precinct’s striking landscape. In our quest to be renowned for stimulating community engagement and cultural exchange, we launched the Abbotsford Convent Studio Residency Program in 2017, and are thrilled to be offering it again in 2021.

2021 Studio Resident

Hellen Sky

Hellen Sky is a digital choreographer, performer, writer, researcher, and visual artist recognised internationally as a leader in the digital performance field. She is valued for her research and reflection on dance embodiment and human-computer interaction. Her work transcends the paradigms of investigating choreographic forms, giving dancers agency to shape sonic and visual elements as an expansion of artistic expression.

In her installation and performance projects, Hellen places equal value on the movement between all aspects of the worksound, light, objects, body, texts, screen, textures—considering the potential of the site; and the potential of a gesture. Her projects are complex and multi-layered—articulated and refined over a number years and advanced through multidisciplinary collaborations.

Hellen Sky was the co-founder and artistic director of Dancehouse Melbourne; and the co-founder of internationally recognised new media performance company, Company in Space. With Hellen Sky & Collaborators, Hellen develops and presents her work in Australia and overseas.

During her residency, Hellen Sky will develop She’s leaving home—a new body of work to be experienced as installation, performance, and published writing. This work is conceived as a sister piece to QUAKE which was performed at the Convent for Dance Massive in 2019. Interweaving tangible and ephemeral matter, She’s leaving homeunsettles time and affect. It inhabits the porous borders of past and present. The personal and political, perceived from the experience of a women’s expanded sense-abilities, to craft a series of future re-imaginings.

The residency will involve interdisciplinary, intersecting strands of research, writing, imaging, archival photography, and lived experience. The development will also engage and interact with the Convent precinct—with its interconnecting architecture and garden environments creating a system that echoes the inherent tension captured in the project’s title.

About the Abbotsford Convent Studio Residency Program

The Abbotsford Convent Studio Residency Program focuses on supporting artists to investigate site-specific and/or site-responsive practice. Artistic investigations undertaken through the studio residency will be presented throughout our precinct to foster delight and dialogue, as well as encourage engagement between our site, urban landscape, artistic community and audiences.

The residency offers a unique opportunity to have time, space and support to undertake site specific or responsive research, investigation and consideration. It offers you an opportunity to invest in your own artistic practice and at the same time build your professional network and share your work with diverse audiences.

The Convent, with its many buildings, generous landscapes, many and diverse people, and textured history is fascinating and layered. However the continual change experienced across the history of our site combined with the spaces within and in between our built environment are delightfully porous and ripe for artistic investigation.


2021 Studio Resident

Jacob Boehme is a Melbourne born and raised artist of the Narangga and Kaurna Nations, South Australia. Jacob is the founding Creative Director of Yirramboi Festival, recipient of the 2018 Green Room Award for Curatorial Contribution to Contemporary and Experimental Arts.

Jacob is a multi-disciplinary theatre maker and choreographer, creating work for stage, screen, large-scale public events and festivals. Jacob has led the artistic direction of Tanderrum (Melbourne Festival), Boon Wurrung Ngargee (Yalukit Willam Festival), Thuwathu (Cairns Indigenous Arts Fair) and choreographed for the opening ceremonies of Dreamtime at the G, FINA World Swimming Championships and the Cricket World Cup. Jacob is the writer and performer of the critically acclaimed solo work Blood on the Dance Floor, recipient of the 2017 Green Room Award Best Independent Production. Jacob currently sits on the Board of Directors for Dance House and Polyglot Theatre and is a member of the Ministry of Culture Taiwan South East Asia Advisory Panel. Alumni of the Victorian College of the Arts, (MA in Arts – Playwriting, MA in Arts – Puppetry) Jacob is currently the recipient of the 2018 Australia Council for the Arts Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Fellowship and the Artistic Director of Geelong After Dark.

2020 Studio Resident

Hayley Tanzer

2019 Studio Residents

Acacia Christensen
Leisa Shelton

2018 Studio Residents

Minna Gilligan
Luke George


“As an Artist in Residence with ACF, I have been offered the key elements of all artistic practice which have enabled and strengthened both my practice and my resilience as an artist. SPACE within which to house and hold my work, SUPPORT to continue to build the courage to continue to make work in these demanding times and CONFIDENCE in my current projects and my place as an artist here in Australia.”
– Leisa Shelton

“My residency at the Convent gave me unprecedented freedom in my creative practice. The program was incredibly encouraging and flexible in terms of my creative outcomes, and providing spaces with which I could create. While COVID-19 restrictions meant I couldn’t complete my intended activity, I was able to develop and film several video works within the space that ensured my creative practice could continue during an incredibly challenging time. The staff’s continued support surrounding the eventual delivery of my main project goes above and beyond what I could ever have expected. I cherish my relationship with the Convent and it definitely made me feel a sense of support and community at a time I needed it most.”
– Hayley Tanzer

“Having the opportunity to be the artist-in-residence at the Abbotsford Convent has allowed me to widely expand what my arts practice looks like. This unique chance to have a large and dedicated, hands-on support network within the Convent itself while being able to keep my time there self-directed is something that I haven’t had access to with other programs in the past. Going forward, this residency has given me some new skill sets and a different approach to how I produce and curate large-scale work and continue to adapt my art to fit different spaces than the norm. I’m looking forward to continuing to make art with the Convent.”
– Acacia Christensen