We are thrilled to announce a brand-new initiative — the WestWords Daffodil Cottage Artist Residencies, situated in Katoomba, in the beautiful Blue Mountains and on the traditional lands of the Dharug and Gundungurra peoples. In early 2021, the owners of Daffodil Cottage, Rachel and Katy, very generously offered to make their property available for artists who require the time, space and quiet to work intensively on an artistic project in an idyllic mountain setting. Their primary motivation was to give back to the artistic community in-kind, thereby helping artists inject extra energy and inspiration into their work, and for this, we are extremely grateful.
You’ll have some questions, of course…
WHO CAN APPLY?
At WestWords we are all about storytelling in all its forms. As such, anyone working in an artistic field who feels that a chunk of concentrated time spent on a current project would be useful for completing or significantly progressing that project is free to apply.
DO I HAVE TO BE FROM WESTERN SYDNEY?
No. We welcome local, regional, interstate and international applications.
WHAT IS THE DURATION OF EACH RESIDENCY?
In 2021 we have been offered ten five-night slots (Sunday night to Thursday night), and three twelve-night slots (Sunday night to Wednesday night). Callouts will be held in three rounds, the first closing date is the 1st March 2021 with the remaining two for 2021 to be advised.
CAN YOU TELL US MORE ABOUT THE COTTAGE?
Daffodil Cottage is in North Katoomba and is a ten-minute walk from Katoomba town and railway station. The house is situated in a native-plant garden and is fully fenced and pet-friendly (with a couple of conditions). The cottage has two double bedrooms, an open-plan kitchen/lounge, a study with computer and printer, a north-facing sunroom/studio space, and a covered patio area where messier art projects can take shape. There is wi-fi, and no TV – perfect for focusing on that project.
When your writing for the day is done, residents are within an easy walk of restaurants, cafes, bars, galleries, live music, walking trails, and a public library with breathtaking views, as well as several supermarkets, a music shop, bookshops, and an art supplier.
TWO BEDROOMS, YOU SAY? WOULD I BE ASKED TO SHARE WITH ANOTHER ARTIST?
Not at all. One of the great opportunities built into these residencies is for collaborative partnerships. For instance: an author and an illustrator; two collaborating writers; a composer and a librettist; a writer and their editor. You might be an interstate writer with a Sydney-based publisher, in which case you might work in the cottage for the whole week, with your publisher joining you for a couple of days, so you can get properly serious about panel-beating that tricky project into shape.
CAN I BRING MY PARTNER?
You should feel free to bring your partner, and/or your dog. Some people need complete solitude to make their best art, while some work better when their partner is around for chats, walks and dinner after the writing is done for the day.
IS IT FREE?
No, but the costs are minimal and are structured to cover the overheads, such as utilities, cleaning and so on. The waged cost of the five-night residencies is $225 (for the whole house, not per person). We also have a reduced “special circumstances” price of $175, so that this opportunity can be as broadly available as possible. The twelve-night residencies are $325, or $225 for special circumstances). Contact us for more details.
Please note that this is a self-catered residency. There are supermarkets close by, and an excellent convenience store in the service station at the end of the street. All travel is the responsibility of the resident(s).
ARE THERE CONDITIONS ATTACHED TO THESE RESIDENCIES?
Only a couple. Keeping in mind that this is intended as a retreat to work on a specific project, these are the main conditions:
1.     WestWords’ selection process for these residencies is based on submitted work for a specific project. As such, we would like to see the time used productively. However, we also understand that the creative process is a private one. Therefore, we require a basic report at the end of your residency – just a couple of paragraphs talking about the experience, and what you achieved, as well as some photos that we can use in our reporting and publicity. We would also ask you to write in the guest book at the Cottage, and if your residency is key to completing a project, an acknowledgement within the project of Rachel and Katy’s generosity, and WestWords’ facilitation of the residency program would be appreciated.
2.     The low cost of the residency covers utilities and upkeep, and as such we ask that you refrain from taking paid local work unless it is organised and/or approved by WestWords. This is an artist residency, not an offer of cheap accommodation for (for example) a whirlwind Blue Mountains schools tour, a holiday or a romantic getaway.
3.     An important part of any artist residency is public engagement. For this reason, you will be required to participate in a single event of some kind while you are in residence – it might be a talk in a school, an appearance at our Kitten Club spoken word evening, or a bookshop event. This will be clearly negotiated with WestWords well in advance of the residency and is not intended to be terrifying or a massive time imposition.
HOW DO I APPLY?
The current callout is for the three residencies — two-week-long, and one for two weeks — in Round 1. You will be asked to nominate your order of preference for the dates available.
Please note that submissions close on 1st March 2021.
DATES
Round 1 (Submissions are now closed)
Sunday 21 March — Friday 26 March (5 nights)
Sunday 2 May — Friday 7 May (5 nights)
Sunday 23 May  — Thursday 3 June (11 nights)
Round 2  (Submissions open on 14 May, and close on 11th June)
Sunday 11 July — Friday 16 July (5 nights)
Sunday 8 August — Friday 13 August (5 nights)
Sun 15 August – Thursday 26 August (11 nights)
Sunday 5 September — Friday 10 September (5 nights)
Sunday 12 September — Friday 17 September (5 nights)
Round 3  (Submissions open on TBA, and close on TBA)
Sunday 10 October — Thursday 21 October (11 nights)
Sunday 31 October — Friday 5 October (5 nights)
Sunday 14 November — Friday 19 November (5 nights)
Sunday 21 November — Friday 26 November (5 nights)
Sunday 5 December — Friday 10 December (5 nights)
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HOW DOES THE SELECTION PROCESS WORK?
WestWords staff, and one independent assessor, will read the submissions and make their judgment based on the following criteria:
  1. The artistic merit of the project.
  2. Stage of development of the project (would the residency come at the best time in the project’s development to have the best impact?).
You’ll also be asked to supply a CV and a brief project outline, and to discuss how time spent at Daffodil Cottage would benefit you as an artist.
Once a decision is made by the panel, offers will be made to the successful artists. Because of the limited spaces available, we may offer to give strong but unsuccessful submissions consideration in subsequent rounds.
At this stage, we discuss the exact nature of your public engagement. Don’t worry, we won’t make it uncomfortable or difficult, and this is a conversation, not a demand. These residencies are primarily about finding the necessary time and headspace to work on a specific project, so we don’t want to impinge on that. Apart from one brief engagement, your time is entirely your own.
HOW DO I APPLY?
Send us an email at admin@westwords.com.au, with the subject line WestWords Daffodil Cottage Residency, and send us a covering letter which contains your contact details, and a response to the following questions:
1. Tell us a little about yourself as an artist and the work you do. Please include a short CV/publication record.
2. Tell us about the project you would be working on during your time at the Cottage, and how this residency would benefit you as an artist. Included in this, discuss the current stage of development of the project.
3. Are you seeking to treat this as a collaborative residency, and if so, who would be attending the residency with you?
4. Is there anything else we should know?
Please keep your entire response to fewer than 500 words.
I HAVE MORE QUESTIONS.
If you have further questions, please call email admin@westwords.com.au, or call 1800 WESTWORDS.