Back to all News

Five questions with Lisa Anderson and Stone Motherless Cold

Lisa Anderson and Stone Motherless Cold have been selected as the artists-in-residence for 2023

The Convent's Studio Residency Program provides free studio space for six months to two talented artists every year. This program offers artists the opportunity to engage in site-specific research, investigation, and consideration, allowing them to invest in their own artistic practice and build their professional network.

Lisa Anderson and Stone Motherless Cold have been selected as the artists-in-residence for 2023.

Tré Turner, a proud Arrernte person born in Mparntwe, will explore Blak queerness and Blak trans femininity through their drag persona, Stone Motherless Cold.

Dr Lisa Anderson’s innovative projects and international residencies examine humanity’s relationship with the planet, particularly through folklore and superstition. Her multimedia installations probe and interact with evolving environments to create a unique experience.  

We had the pleasure of speaking with these incredible artists to discuss what led them to join our amazing community here at the Convent, as well as their plans for their upcoming residencies. 

Why were you inspired to become an artist in residence here at the Convent?  

Stone: The opportunity for space, networking and to be part of an institution like Abbotsford Convent. 

Lisa: I have visited the Convent for events and watched posts from friends who have enjoyed their time there. The place is spellbinding. The history of the place is fascinating. Working here to create among these amazing surrounds seems very special to me. When I first moved to Victoria some 10 years ago I wrote a catalogue essay for a group of artists who were creating a light installation at the Convent. The memory of this creative place has stayed with me, so I am keen to be here working in a studio. 

What do you plan to investigate while you are here for six months?  

Stone: I plan to follow in themes and mediums previously investigated (trans femininity, Blak futurism, drag, and visual art), while also experimenting and touching on things I haven’t yet had the capacity to explore. I also plan to find ways for me to move into interdisciplinary projects. 

Lisa: I am keen to begin some of my cape works which will open up the story of the precinct to inform my installation. I hope to engage with the Tenant community to share some ideas for the work. Perhaps even work on a collaboration. Abbotsford Convent sits on the edge of a river; those places carry tales of life past, present and future potential. 

 What is special to you about the Convent?   

Stone: The gardens are pretty gorge. I am a big fan of gardening and native plants, so having access to green spaces like that, as well as having Yarra right there is exciting. 

Lisa:The Convent holds a unique charm, woven into tales of creativity and resilience. It’s a place where innovators, creators, and thinkers converge. I can’t wait to delve deeper into these stories.

What’s your biggest dream as an artist? What kind of legacy are you hoping to work towards?  

Stone: Creating projects that exemplify all my passions and interests, in an entertaining, colourful, draggy, queer way.

Lisa: My own dream as an artist is about creating the stuff of the world that I ponder, the ideas that have interested me, and the journey we are on. My goal is to collect adventures and stories on the way to understand the topography, the landscape, and the geopolitics of lace. 

I had not thought about legacy specifically. I seem to learn new things all the time and love to share this through my art practice. I hope to make new video works that will encourage a more thorough understanding of environmental challenges. 

How do you hope to immerse yourself here at the Convent? What are you most looking forward to?   

Stone: I can’t wait to explore what this residency has to offer. This is not an opportunity I’m used to, so I’m open to seeing what comes up. I’m excited at really being able to use the Convent as a space to get into work/creative mode and into the thick of my projects 

Lisa: I think the genuine work of making will happen during the residency. I look forward to meeting the other creatives working here, listening to their stories and finding out more about this place. I have frequently undertaken residencies in remote locations, such as the Arctic and Antarctic, the Himalayas, and tropical jungles in Malaysia and Thailand. To use this experience of working with what is new to me, and revealing of landscape will be exciting to do at home, here in Melbourne. I look forward to engaging with this bend in the river as a place on a map, as cleared land, and as part of the history of the Yarra Delta. 

Learn more about these incredible artists and how they plan to spend their residencies below!

Artist bios

Stone Motherless Cold

Stone Motherless Cold is an Arrernte Sistergirl and queer performing artist on Stolen Aboriginal Land. Since 2019, she has worked as a creative director and programmer with a particular focus on the realms of Blak futurism and its intersection with the fluidity of gender, storytelling and transformative beings. Stone has worked as a curator, producer, performer and visual artist in multiple events and showcases over the last four years including A Rainbow of Tomorrows, at Koorie Heritage Trust, featuring her own and ten local Blak queer artists winning Best Visual Art and Film by Melbourne Fringe Festival & Best Emerging Indigenous Artist 2022; Textures of Country 2022, a solo exhibition on Country in Mparntwe; Residency at Watch This Space; SMASH: the Drag Show, Midsumma Festival 2022;  The Fae, a performance at SIGNAL, Yirramboi Festival 2021; spoken word, The Bogong: Blak Futures, Emerging Writers Festival 2020; Drag of Kwatye, an IBPOC drag and queer performer showcase, 2019 Melbourne Fringe; Dis Rupt, Hamer Hall, Yirramboi Festival 2019; The Reveillon, Lets Take Over, Northcote Town Hall 2019.

The Residency

Over six months, Stone will explore recurring and new themes in her work through experimentation with new media, and consultations with new and existing collaborators. Her practice explores the porous transmutations across gender, Futuristic realms and Indigenous stories where humans become stars, rocks, trees… Over the course of the Residency, Stone seeks to extend her practice in Blak futurism, escapism, Blak queerness, Blak femininity and gender roles in a colonial state, through experimentation across a range of media, including textile techniques that reflect elements and textures of Country; themed photographic portraits of queer community and Blak queer icons; performance around a Kwatye (water) nymph; poetry; and immersive installation settings towards an exhibition. As a contributor and facilitator, Stone draws on ongoing conversations with other creatives to inform her multilayered works. Over the next six months, Stone also aims to research funding streams and build connections with multidisciplinary arts touring and festival networks.

Lisa Anderson


Lisa Anderson’s projects and international residencies explore connections to the stewardship of the planet through histories and stories found in folklore and superstition around the world. Lisa’s installations use multi-media including video/sculpture/installation to explore and engage with landscape and built environments experiencing dramatic change due to the geopolitics of weather and mass migration.

Previous work includes festivals and projects such as Singing up Stones, the first projection on the Sydney Opera House for Mardi Gras; Writing the City in the Brisbane Festival of Big Ideas and Sydney Writers Festival; Tiga Tiga for Ten Days on the Island, Tasmania and Venice Biennale Fringe Festival; special projects for ISEA with Istanbul Biennale; and NightTime Bangkok French Embassy.

Dr Anderson has lectured at a number of Australian and International institutions such as Creative Fellow at the University of Wollongong, Visiting Fellow at Tianjin University China; Inaugural Fellow and Artist at the Australian Museum; an Honorary Professorship at Federation University; and Innovation Fellow in Architecture at UTS.

Dr Anderson is currently the 2023 Rupert Bunny Fellow in Port Phillip and is creating a project titled Beguiling, using her polar imagery alongside new local imagery to create unique digital-based works.

The Residency, January — June 2024

Over the course of her residency at Abbotsford Convent, Lisa will extend her ongoing practice around water and its future amid climate change, through the mediums of photography, costume, and colonialism. She will explore Abbotsford Convent’s indigenous history as a meeting place and verdant site to live, followed by a timeline of occupiers, and the Convent’s location on the edge of Birrarung (Yarra River), to consider the question, “How do we understand and engage with the geopolitics of ‘land meets water’?”

Lisa’s artistic process engages a mash of landscape photography with unique handmade costumes and other elements to make video works. She enhances the layering of these works with elements such as neon and inflatables. On-site research and a process of engaging with landscape and spaces inform how her costume elements look and feel. Their construction involves a meditative process that draws on pages of books, gold leaf, acres of tulle, and comics and engenders time to talk with people, work with them, weave the patterns, actively think through stories and place, and research elements of science or history. On video, the participation of “dancers” brings the costumes to life. This exploration will contribute work to future exhibitions/performances within Australia and overseas.

Learn more about the Convent’s Studio Residency Program.