Sydney Observatory Residency Program

Photo by James Horan
Observatory stage set
Glass plate negative (1 of 193), a stage set of an astronomical observatory in wood panelled room, glass, photographer possibly Arthur Phillips, Australia, c. 1895-1905

Sydney Observatory Residency Program

Expressions of Interest are now closed.

The Sydney Observatory Residency Program invites practitioners across scientific and creative disciplines to create new work or research inspired by Sydney Observatory’s history, collection and disciplines. The program builds upon the rich history of research on the site that has inspired generations of scholars, scientists, artists and audiences.

The program offers space in-kind at the Observatory alongside the opportunity for residents to collaborate with curators on projects that engage audiences with the Observatory collection with potential project outcomes across programs, research and exhibitions. The residency creates an exchange of ideas, knowledge and information between the residents, the Museum, our professional networks and audiences. Each 2022 resident will receive a $5,000 honorarium.

Built in 1858, Sydney Observatory is a significant site in Australia’s scientific and pre and post-colonial history. Geographically positioned on the highest point of Warrane (Sydney) and overlooking the harbour, it is considered a site of significance for the Eora nation. Beginning as the centre of scientific research of the colony of New South Wales, the Observatory has a seminal role in the history of timekeeping, meteorology and astronomy in Australia. In the 19th and 20th centuries, the Observatory was essential to shipping, navigation, meteorology and timekeeping as well as to the study of the stars as seen from the Southern Hemisphere.

In its over 160 years, the Observatory has led many significant projects, including the creation of the colonies’ first meteorological records, the chartering of over 430,000 stars in the southern sky, and has employed dozens of female staff and scientists to meticulously measure the stars. Government Astronomers worked and lived in the building until 1982 when Sydney Observatory became part of the Powerhouse.

The Residency Program operates on a seasonal model, with residents undertaking 4–12 week placements and further extends the Powerhouse’s support of contemporary creative and scientific practice and research.

Expressions of interest closed on 11 October 2021.

Key Dates:

11 October 2021 – Expressions of Interest Closed

1 November 2021 – Applicants notified

3 January 2022 – Summer Season Commences

1 March 2022 – Autumn Season Commences

1 June 2022 – Winter Season Commences

1 September 2022 – Spring Period Commences


Update: 12 October 2021

Registrations are now closed.
Applicants will be notified by 1 November 2021.

Sydney Observatory Residents 2021