Indigenous Artists-in-Residence

The Sydney Conservatorium of Music has established the Indigenous Artists-in-Residence program, a pathway for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander artists to interact and collaborate with Conservatorium students and staff in the sharing of music, knowledge and culture.

The Sydney Conservatorium of Music (SCM) sits on Country that has witnessed the making of music and cultural knowledge for millennia. The establishment of an ongoing program of Indigenous Artists-in-Residence seeks to reconnect with this heritage and welcome Indigenous voices.

The inaugural Indigenous Artists-in-Residence welcomes Troy John Russell (Biripi/Gamillaroi) and Nardi Simpson (Yuwaalaraay).

Dean of the SCM Professor Anna Reid notes: “The program recognises the deep cultural knowledge embedded in the music of First Peoples artists. Our students and faculty will have the opportunity to learn and grow through these sustained interactions. We are so delighted that Nardi and Troy will be our first Artists-in-Residence!”

“Nardi and Troy will deliver a range of activities designed to embed Indigenous perspectives into our students’ education,” said Dr Damien Ricketson, Senior Lecturer of Composition and Music Technology.

Nardi and Troy will engage with all the major areas of study at the SCM including classical performance, composition, contemporary music, jazz, musicology and music education with discussions and workshops in areas including: new approaches to listening and storytelling, appropriate collaboration with Indigenous artists, as well as linking with our existing First Peoples students.

“I am really looking forward to sharing cultural perspectives and ways of thinking with students and staff at the Con. I’m also looking forward to the opportunities tha come from this residency to incorporate cultural business into the fabric of the institution,” said storyteller Nardi Simpson.

Importantly, Nardi and Troy are also accessing the resources of the SCM to realise a creative project of their own devising. The Artists-in-Residence will work with our students over the remainder of 2021, with their new creative works presented to the public in 2022.

Troy John Russell commented that he was “looking forward to working with the young musicians at the Conservatorium on bringing a new music project to life”.

The Indigenous Artists-in-Residence initiative is intended to be an ongoing program.

About Troy John Russell

Troy is of the Biripi people of the Greater Manning area near Taree, and the Gamillaroi people of the New England area. He has produced many commissions including those for the Sydney Living Museums and River City Voice and is also an award-winning filmmaker winning an Australian Teachers of Media award and a Flickerfest award for his documentary The Foundation 1963-1977. Troy is currently teaching DanceFilm at the National Aboriginal Islander Skills Development Association (NAISDA). He continues to write music in collaboration with his band GiiMusic and plays guitar with Green Hand Band.

About Nardi Simpson

Nardi is a Yuwaalaraay storyteller from NSW’s north west freshwater plains. As a member of duo Stiff Gins, Nardi has travelled nationally and internationally for the past 22 years. She is also a founding member of Freshwater, an all-female vocal ensemble formed to revive the language and singing traditions of New South Wales river communities and the current musical director of Barayagal, a cross-cultural choir based at the SCM.

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