New Norcia Artist Residency

The New Norcia Artist Residency is a unique opportunity for an artist to live and create artwork in Australia’s only monastic town. Mandorla Art Award in partnership with the New Norcia Benedictine Monastery are offering this inaugural one-month residency in spring of 2025, to be awarded to a selected finalist from the 2024 Mandorla Art Award.  

Studio, Accommodation & Fees 

The residency provides a studio, accommodation and meals courtesy of the Benedictine Community and $10,000 towards all travel, art materials and other residency costs.  

Currently under renovation, the Mandorla Centre is an historic trading post cottage that will house a gallery as well as an artist studio with self-contained accommodation. 

Large enough to accommodate a family, the building includes a kitchen-living area. Artists are welcome to self-cater or to share in the communal meals of the monastery provided through the New Norcia Guesthouse Dining Room. The meals offered are simple and generous, reflective of the warm hospitality offered by the monks. Lunch is the main meal of the day (three courses).  A light supper is offered in the evenings. Artists may join the monks, on occasion, in their refectory for meals by request. 

Residency Expectations 

The New Norcia Artist Residency is open to visual artists working in any medium.  The selected artist will create new work in response to the unique site and context of New Norcia. There is no expectation for the artist to complete a body of work within the residency period, however, there is a requirement to commence new work with the option to exhibit the completed residency artwork(s) at a later date in the Mandorla Centre. 

The New Norcia community has a busy calendar of annual events as well as the daily and weekly rhythms of prayer and mass. Many visitors come to New Norcia as a spiritual retreat and a place for peace and reflection. It is also a site steeped in history, surrounded by beautiful scenery and renowned for the production of baked goods, olive oil and wine. There are many ways for an artist to respond to the site and also opportunities to interact with the community. The artist will be asked to present an artist talk during their stay and may be invited to participate in other activities and public programs taking place during the month of the residency.  

New Norcia Benedictine Monastic Community 

New Norcia is located approximately 1.5 hours’ drive North East of Boorloo Perth. It is on the unceded lands of the Yuat Nyoongar people, within an area broadly termed the Wheatbelt Region. New Norcia was founded in 1847 by Spanish Benedictine Monks and the town has had many purposes: a mission, a monastery, a provider of education and as a place of spiritual retreat. 

The Monastery, where the monks live, work and pray, is at the heart of New Norcia. The monks of New Norcia live according to the guidance and rhythms of The Rule of St Benedict, which has been followed by monks since the sixth century. Monks who do so are referred to as ‘Benedictines’. Unlike many priests and nuns, monks do not join an ‘order’ as such, but instead join an autonomous monastery where they promise to remain for the rest of their lives. 

New Norcia is a small community focused on the Monastery. It also operates a hostel, guest house, gallery and a roadhouse with a petrol station and café. A range of products and foods made in New Norcia are sold from the roadhouse, along with limited groceries. The roadhouse café has a small licensed bar open from 11am to 5pm. Residency artists are encouraged to plan for the limited range of amenities or to consider bringing a vehicle / using part of the residency fee to hire a car. More information about New Norcia can be found on the website.  

Safeguarding 

New Norcia takes the safeguarding of children and adults at risk very seriously. The successful applicant will be required to produce a recent National Police Check, apply for a Working with Children card, and complete the standard induction in place for all New Norcia personnel. 

Application & Selection Process 

The inaugural New Norcia Residency will be awarded to a finalist in the 2024 Mandorla Art Award. Only artists selected as finalists for the Award will be eligible for the Residency Prize. Entry is via the 2024 online entry form and artists will need to: 

  • Select the New Norcia Artist Residency option within the 2024 entry form. 
  • Upload a 2-page Artist’s CV.  
  • Provide a written statement outlining any previous experience undertaking artist residencies and describe how the artist would approach the New Norcia Artist Residency.  

The selection process will involve short-listing and interviewing candidates. Interviews will be conducted via online video. The Selection Panel will comprise members of the Mandorla Committee, New Norcia’s Abbot and the Curator. The successful artist will be announced along with the other prize categories at the opening of the 2024 Mandorla Art Award.