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Louise O'Reilly


With investment from the Individuals Fund, singer/songwriter Louise O’Reilly participated in the NES artist residency program in Skagaströnd, Iceland.

‘NES is a process-orientated residency that strives to cultivate an environment where artists can craft their experience as they wish; whether that be through conceptual development, research, or intervention and experimentation’.

During her time in the program, Louise was able to focus on her writing and new musical works for creative development and commercial release. She invested in growing new skills in writing, composing and production, through research, experimentation and collaboration. The environment and surrounds of the residency encouraged her to take a new approach to her practice. She explored new compositional approaches including instrumentation and sonic aesthetics. From creation, production and to performance, she extended the opportunity to expand her process by creating installation shows for new and developing works.

The residency not only provided Louise with new approaches to attaining proficiency in practice, she also gained diverse networks to support career and international market development opportunities. 

Since her time in Iceland, Louise has pursued partnerships from this network, performing to new audiences and deepening her contacts with creative industries.

Photo of Louise O'Reilly


February – April 2016 


Skagaströnd, Iceland

Arts Queensland contribution

$9,700 – Individuals Fund   


  • The NES Residency assisted Louise to define a new direction for her future works. It also allowed for invaluable time for her material and skills to mature to a point of commercial release.
  • Louise developed greater technical and professional skills which significantly improved her capacity as a producer. 
  • Through experimentation with new  instruments and performance styles, Louise found new opportunities for collaboration with other artists. She is currently partnering with a creative director through a mentor program to continue to develop new audiences and diverse performance platforms.

‘The project afforded me the time to work with other artists and access to their critiques and reflection processes. Contemporary music does not often have a strong practice of this kind and I found it invaluable to have the space and feedback of other perspectives on my performance.’

  • An unexpected outcome of the residency for Louise was the opportunity to perform her work locally. The positive response to her shows deepened Louise’s awareness of her development and highlighted the unanticipated connections art presents between creators and audiences.
  • Travelling to a remote village on the other side of the world to live and work in a deep, dark winter was precisely what Louise hoped it would be, as an environmental influence. She is currently pursuing an opportunity to immerse herself in another extreme environment in central Australia, with a plan to visit Alice Springs in November.

‘My network of creative contacts has suddenly grown wider than my discipline of practice. The multi-disciplinary model of the residency I participated in, has allowed me to develop networks across the globe in diverse fields of work. I am presently in conversation with a New York based installation artist, Chelsea Culpepper on a piece from our shared time at NES. I am now also an active member of the international network for women in electronic music ‘female: pressure’. This network is incredibly supportive and important as an independent practitioner and woman in this field. Further, I have progressed to confirmation stage in a funded mentorship where I have drafted a program of development working with a creative director in the presentation of my live works.’

Learnings and reflections

Louise had the following reflections about the project:

‘Through this project, as an artist in residence, I was deeply absorbed in my daily practice for a two-month period. This included reading, writing, thinking, recording, discussion, experimentation, performance and reflection. At times this was joyous. At times it was really actually difficult! And all the time it was affirming.’ 

‘There were certainly tangible outputs from my time at the residency. But much more important to me, to my practice and to my career, has been the investment in that intensive, dedicated and undistracted time and space.’

‘This unique experience has been a transformative opportunity for my development. I have grown in many ways in my independent practice and have deepened my commitment to my vital passion as an artist.’

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Louise O'Reilly and Paul Hannan was were the 2012 receipients of the Arts Queensland’s Grant McLennan Fellowship, established in 2007 to recognise talented Queensland songwriters.