Carol Archer and Kit Kelen were joint artist-and-writer-in-residence at New England Regional Art Museum from May 17 to 30 this year. Post pandemic, we were keen to reconnect with the worlds of nature and culture outside our local area, continuing to honour and celebrate trees and their role in complex social and cultural ecosystems.

We’d visited the area in November 2021 when we’d come up for the opening of the Locus printmaking exhibition. We were interested in a NERAM residency because we were struck by the landscape in the New England region, as well as being impressed by the range of the art that NERAM shows, and the creative community associated with the Museum of Printing. All of these things proved inspiring for our art practices  of printmaking, drawing, painting and poetry.

Kit Kelen’s daily poetic and visual art practices for this period spanned poetry inspired by New England environments as well as poems responding to works in NERAM’s collection. To see examples of this work please visit the the daily kit. For Carol Archer, the NERAM artist residency presented an opportunity to experiment, considering new approaches to suit a fresh environment, and examples of work in progress are pictured below.

A special feature of this residency was the opportunity to connect with Armidale’s vibrant and friendly arts community. On Saturday May 21, Carol Archer and Kit Kelen presented an artist talk and poetry reading, highlighting our respective creative practices. We offered some glimpses of our solo practices and works – Carol’s presentation featured recent drawings and prints, Kit read poetry and showed paintings and drawings. We discussed the role that artistic collaboration and artist residencies have played in our work.

During the residency, we were lucky enough to visit the studios of Leah Bullen and Cat MacGregor. We also had a chance to connect with other Black Gully Printmakers at the opening of the Ab Fab exhibition at the newly opened New England Contemporary Print Gallery. A vote of thanks are due to NERAM’s Director, Rachel Parsons, and Head Curator Belinda Hungerford.