An intensive music residency at The Australian National University (ANU) will help Indigenous musicians, audio engineers, producers and other industry professionals “rise to their calling”, Torres Strait Islander musician and one of the program’s leaders Will Kepa says. 

The week-long music residency called “Space to Create” is supported by the Australia Council for the Arts and will be delivered through the Yil Lull studio at the ANU School of Music in Canberra. Applications are open until 3pm AEST Tuesday 10 May 2022 for a number of residential places. 

Mr Kepa leads the Yil Lull studio, which was launched last year and offers free recording and music assistance to Indigenous musicians from across Australia. Yil Lull refers to a song written and performed by the Indigenous musician Joe Geia, which originally appeared on his 1988 album of the same name. 

“My hope is that we will find the next Joe Geia or Archie Roach – absolutely iconic Indigenous Australian musicians,” Mr Kepa said.

“I know from my own experience that it’s really important to ignite your fire, creatively. If I had found out about something like this residency at the ANU School of Music 10 years ago, I would have applied straight away to push me to that next step and help me decide what to do with my life.”

Will Kepa. Photo: Jamie Kidston/ANU

Space to Create will provide successful applicants:

  • $1,000 plus a $75 per day per diem to cover the week-long residency
  • accommodation, living and travel expenses
  • on-campus space to develop the residents’ music practice, professional and creative ideas and industry connections
  • technical support from ANU School of Music and Yil Lull staff
  • access to state-of-the-art recording studios and studio production support
  • access to mastering and video editing
  • music industry masterclasses and creative labs
  • one-on-one mentoring from music industry professionals
  • opportunities to engage with the Indigenous community and cultural activities in Canberra.

“I spent 15 years or so doing what I do with nowhere else to go at the time. It wasn’t until I left my community and came here to Canberra that I realised my true potential,” Mr Kepa said.

“I just wish for more people to come out. I can only speak for my own communities back in Far North Queensland and the Torres Strait Islands that there are people looking around for opportunities like this and pathways to a better life.

“Students here are working professionally already and they’re doing massive things, big projects. To be amongst it all here at the ANU School of Music and in Canberra, to absorb as much as they can and take that back to their own creative communities would be a wonderful experience.”

Michael Hutchings, Project Manager for First Nations Arts and Culture at the Australia Council for the Arts, said the Australia Council is excited to partner with the ANU School of Music and Yil Lull studio on Space to Create.

“The residency program gives First Nations musicians and industry workers the time, space and resources needed to work on creative and professional development projects,” he said.

Successful applicants will be notified in early June, and residencies will run from 15 to 21 August. To apply applications must be registered in the Application Management System a minimum of two business days prior to the closing date.

Learn more at Space to Create.

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