This is a blog of Australian writer Jane Williams  supported by the Bridge Guard Residential Art/Science Centre, the Cultural association Štúrovo and Vicinity and the Copyright Agency Career Fund. All images and words subject to copyright. Please feel free to share with acknowledgment of original source.


In 2012 I became aware of the Bridge Guard Residency in Štúrovo, Slovakia. Over the next few years my interest grew as I found myself inexorably drawn to the residency’s philosophy.

Connecting the towns of Štúrovo (Slovakia) and Esztergom (Hungary) across the River Danube is the Maria Valeria bridge. Built in 1895, the bridge was destroyed in 1919 and again during World War II when it was blown up in 1944. Rebuilt almost sixty years later in 2001, the bridge now lies at the heart of the residency, both physically and as a symbol for building virtual bridges between people.

The purpose of the residency is to encourage artists to work on projects that contribute to shifting boundaries (mental, social, religious, political) by uniting, connecting and bridging.

For the first three months of 2016 I will be the 36th Bridge Guard in residence. During this time I am privileged to work freely on my own project(s), with minimal duties. One of these duties is to make a daily inspection of the bridge and record my observations; to observe the physical bridge with a view to maintaining the virtual one. Integral to (my) artistic practice and human development is being present and attentive, being open (as the residency’s brief suggests) to ‘the unknown in oneself and others’. I look forward to the journey and invite you to join me as I explore and record some of my experiences.

Travel plans 

begin to take on small forms;

euros and forints take their place

in my purse between Australian

and Irish library cards

and the photo of my daughters

curled at the edges now

from my touch –

in these ways I suppose

I’m still a little old fashioned,

preferring my reality tactile

with overlapping borders

and roots that go way back,

until thirst drives them up

to the next alien surface

where introductions

must inevitably,

tentatively, be made –

Volám sa Jane ja som básník …

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