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Sydney Observatory Announces Scientists and Artists Selected For Inaugural Residency Program

The residents will work across a diverse field of practices from astrophysics, science, philosophy and the environment to visual art and theatre.

Sydney Observatory Announces Scientists and Artists Selected For Inaugural Residency Program

Sydney Observatory has today announced the 11 residents selected for its inaugural residency program beginning this summer. Working across a diverse field of practices from astrophysics, science, philosophy and the environment to visual art and theatre, the residents are: Dr Nancy Cushing, Elizabeth Gadsby, Michaela Gleave, Amala Groom, Annie Grace Handmer, Dr Ángel R. López-Sánchez, Rami Mandow, Kate Rees, Imara Savage, Jane Sheldon and Catherine Sarah Young.

The program was launched earlier this year, open to expressions of interest, and received more than 700 applications from established and emerging academic researchers, artists, scientists and creative organisations. The program offers space in-kind at the Observatory and will see the residents collaborate with the Museum on projects that engage audiences with the Observatory's disciplines, collection and program.

Leading environmental historian Nancy Cushing will explore the working and social history of Sydney Observatory's Time Ball, focusing on what it meant to the people who managed it.

Artist and scenographer Elizabeth Gadsby, together with award-winning theatre and opera director Imara Savage and soprano and composer Jane Sheldon, will collaborate to create an audio-visual installation inspired by eyewitness accounts of solar eclipses authored by four women: astronomer Maria Mitchell, editor and observatory assistant Mabel Loomis Todd, and writers Virginia Woolf and Annie Dillard.

Contemporary artist Michaela Gleave will create a new series of work inspired by the astronomical data in the Gaia and Hipparcos star catalogues.

Amala Groom, a Wiradyuri artist whose practice is informed and driven by First Nations methodologies, will engage with the Observatory's collection of Time and Timekeeping to expand her research on the relationships between time as a western construct and Wiradyuri epistemologies.

Annie Grace Handmer, researcher at University of Sydney School of History and Philosophy of Science, and host of Space Junk podcast, will present a series of interviews with the team at the Observatory as a behind the scenes exploration into the collection and stories within the building.

Spanish-Australian astrophysicist and science communicator Dr Ángel R. López-Sánchez will create a body of images connecting the Observatory, the city, and the Sky through Astrophotography.

Astrophysicist Rami Mandow will further develop a community project SpaceAusScope, providing the tools for space enthusiasts to build their own backyard radio telescopes.

Award-winning poet Kate Rees aims to develop a language of the nocturne and night, inspired by the collection, history and sky views from the Observatory.

Chinese-Filipina award-winning artist, designer and writer Catherine Sarah Young will research into the archives to explore how rain was measured and historical references to extreme weather in Sydney, as part of her work exploring climate change and the environmental future.

Lisa Havilah, Chief Executive, Powerhouse Museum said: "Sydney Observatory is one of the most significant sites in Australia's scientific history and the launch of this residency program will provide unique and special opportunities for artists and scientists to engage communities with our rich histories. We are thrilled to welcome our first residents and look forward to presenting the work they create in collaboration with our team."

Built in 1858, Sydney Observatory is positioned on the highest point of Warrane (Sydney) boasting panoramic views of Sydney Harbour and is considered a site of significance for the Eora nation. The Observatory plays a central role in the history of timekeeping, meteorology and astronomy in Australia. In over 160 years, it has led many significant projects, including the creation of New South Wales' first meteorological records and the chartering of over 430,000 stars in the southern sky.

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