Final The Backyard BusWelcome to A Beautiful Somewhere…….

The Backyard Bus is an artist in residence program located in Newcastle, Australia which seeks to provide artists of any discipline, who are committed to creating work with a strong alignment to health and well-being, social justice and/or community development values, with free accommodation and studio space in which to immerse themselves in their practice.

Three residencies of three weeks each will be offered in 2014 (from June onwards) and all residencies will be offered at no charge to the artists.  Four residencies were offered in 2013 which  constituted the pilot phase of this program.  More details here: 2013 Resident Artists

A key feature of the residency is the requirement for all artists to make a tangible contribution to the local community by devising and facilitating a community engagement activity such as a lecture, workshop, performance, master class or other event of an agreed format.


What is included in each three week residency?

  • Free accommodation in a restored vintage bus housed in a backyard of the character filled inner city suburb of Maryville, Newcastle
  • 24 hour access to a  lockable studio space located in an nearby artist studio complex
  • Access to the main house for kitchen, bathroom and laundry facilities (fully equipped kitchen, shower and spa bath, washing machine)
  • Free WI-FI in the bus
  • Use of a gorgeous bike to access the studio as well as the cultural and industrial delights of inner-city Newcastle
  • Project management of and support in organising and promoting the community engagement activity

Further information on what is and isn’t included can be found in the guidelines section of: The Backyard Bus Application Form_EXTENDED DEADLINE 2014


How will successful applicants be chosen?

A panel has been established to provide strategic guidance and leadership to this residency program as well as review and select applicants. This includes:

  • Dr Nasir Warfa: Associate Professor at Queen Mary University of London currently in the process of establishing the world’s first Masters program in mental health and creative arts.
  • Mrs Justine Potter: Savvy arts manager with over twenty years of experience in the arts and community cultural development in Australia and the UK.
  • Ms Amy Vee: Award winning independent singer/songwriter who is an advocate for the role music and creativity plays in promoting mental health and wellbeing.
  • Ms Emma Cother: Founder and funder of The Backyard Bus.

Why the focus on health, social justice and community development values?

This focus is aligned with Emerald Violin’s commitment to developing, advocating for, and leading initiatives that foster the critical role creativity plays in nurturing social and emotional wellbeing at the individual and collective level.

How do I apply?

Complete the following application form and submit by 3rd February 2014 (extended deadline): The Backyard Bus Application Form_EXTENDED DEADLINE 2014

How is The Backyard Bus Funded?

The Backyard Bus is self funded by Emerald Violin in honour of the legacy of Ms Mary Barry – former doyenne of Dalby in rural Queensland, extraordinarily generous community supporter, deeply committed owner of the town’s ‘meeting place’ – The Commercial Hotel – for almost sixty years and my much loved Great Aunt. Vale Mary.

Special thanks must also go to the Sydney chapter of the Awesome Foundation and a Sunday Soup Session at the Red Rattler for their financial contributions in the initial set-up period during early 2013.

Who has undertaken a residency in The Backyard Bus previously?

For further information on past residents please refer to: 2013 Resident Artists

Who deserves praise and thanks for their creative input to The Backyard Bus?

  • Exquisite mural on the bus painted by Mitch Resevsky
  • Beautiful photography by Justine Potter
  • Gorgeous logo designed by Brigid Dighton

Video courtesy of Mitch Resevsky

 Res Artis Worldwide Network of Artist in Residence spaces

Emerald Violin acknowledges and pays respect to the Awabakal people, the traditional owners of the land on which The Backyard Bus is situated.