Over £880,000 support for cultural activity across Scotland

Published: 29 Mar 2019

Loch Arthur Community performance

Over £880,000 of National Lottery funding was awarded to 46 recipients through Creative Scotland’s Open Project Fund in February, including individual artists, musicians, writers, theatre makers, festivals and organisations working across the arts, screen and creative industries.

The latest range of projects to receive support include the research, development and production of new work from a range of individual artists across the country including interdisciplinary artist Luke Pell, choreographers Laura Johnston-Scott, Bridie Gane and Mele Broomes, visual artists Wendy McMurdo and Lyndsay Mann, author Jamie Jauncey, playwright Jennifer Adam, composer Ailie Robertson, musician MALKA, indie pop band wojtek the bear and multi-award-winning Elephant Sessions, amongst others.

Krazy Kat Theatre Company will stage Sign Language theatre performances of the musical work Goldilocks and how many bears? for deaf and disabled community groups across Scotland; Freedom of Mind Community Choir in Falkirk will programme a series of group singing sessions for people with poor mental health, or experiencing social isolation; and Loch Arthur community in Dumfries will stage a new and original inclusive performance of Shakespeare’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream with local residents with learning difficulties.

Edinburgh’s Talbot Rice Gallery and Ullapool's Visual Arts centre An Talla Solais receive support towards their 2019 programmes; Literary, music and animation collective Neu! Reekie! receive support to present Remain In Light – a year-long monthly programme of cultural showcases; Composer Matthew Whiteside will programme The Night With… 2019; Soma Skool will educate the minds of tomorrow in how to gain a career in the electronic music industry and having generated over 600 short films over the past 10 years, the 48 Hour Film Project will run again in Edinburgh and Glasgow.

Stornoway’s multi-award-winning music and arts festival, HebCelt; Glasgow’s Take Me Somewhere, West Dunbartonshire’s Booked; Ayrshire’s Boswell Book Festival and Scottish Mental Health Arts Festival are amongst the festivals being supported across the country.

Heb Celt Festival

Iain Munro, Acting Chief Executive at Creative Scotland said:  “From Stornoway to Dumfries, these awards demonstrate the outstanding quality and diversity of artistic practice thriving across Scotland. Supporting the research, development and creation of new work from individual artists to artistic programmes from internationally renowned festivals, bringing together communities and people from across Scotland to enjoy high quality artistic and creative experiences.”

Further details on individual projects

New Work

Open Project Funding is designed to accommodate the widest possible range of activities for individuals and organisation including the time to research, develop or create work.

Edinburgh based interdisciplinary artist Luke Pell will undertake an 18-month programme of research, development and presentation of new and existing work nationally and internationally. Pell commented: “This support will enable me to significantly grow my body of work making a cultural shift in the way I approach my practice, working with a team, allowing for longer term planning and preparation and a level of responsiveness and care needed to realise more nuanced and questioning artistic explorations.”

Luke Pell and Kitty Fedorec. Photo Brian Hartley.jpg

Choreographer Laura Johnston-Scott will research, develop and produce In the Light of the Moon - a piece of dance theatre exploring compulsive behaviours, addiction and mental health.

Choreographer Bridie Gane will develop The Sylph, the Vixen and The Bombshell – a dance piece exploring constructed female identities. Bridie Gane commented: “As a female choreographer I feel it’s important to make my voice heard within the performing arts community, as well as by bringing women to the forefront.”

Visual artist Wendy McMurdo will develop new work Chatrooms – exploring the impact of data immersion on young identities. McMurdo commented: “Chatrooms continues my interest in the ways in which children now relate to each other in a world of increasing simulation.  I’m keen to further extend and develop a new piece of work which uses data visualisation and animation to explore the impact of social media and game playing on the contemporary imagination. This piece will use animated text, screen, projection and installation to construct an immersive piece of work which will fully engage its viewers.”

All or Nothing Dance and Aerial Theatre and Room 2 Manoeuvre will produce and tour Heroes. Light hearted with something for all the family, Heroes explores who our idols are through a mix of aerial skills with dance theatre and contemporary circus. Jennifer Paterson of All or Nothing commented: “We're delighted to have received funding for what will be our most extensive tour of Scotland yet, reaching the length and breadth of the country over 17 venues. It is exciting for All or Nothing to continue our creative collaboration with Room 2 Manoeuvre and to be able to take this theatrical combination of aerial, dance theatre and circus on the road.”

All or Nothing - Heroes - credit Eoin Carey

Perthshire-based author Jamie Jauncey will research and write a biography of his Don Roberto (RB Cunninghame Graham, 1852-1936). Jauncey commented: “RB Cunninghame Graham, my great-great-uncle, was one of the most iconic figures of early 20th century Scottish political and cultural life. I simply want more people to know about him, to be amazed and hopefully inspired by his extraordinary life and its relevance to so many of the issues we face today.”

Glasgow based indie pop band wojtek the bear will record, release, and promote four digital singles, complete with accompanying promotional videos. The releases will be supported by independent label, Scottish Fiction Records. Thomas Killean of wojtek the bear commented: “This project would help wojtek the bear’s development hugely. It will enable us to keep releasing music and to build on the momentum that we have amassed so far.”

wojtek the bear

Tamara Schlesinger will record and master new MALKA album, recorded with Paul Savage at Chem19 in Blantyre. Schlesinger’s music has amassed a vast amount of play on national radio, and she regularly syncs her music to domestic TV shows (Skins) US TV shows (Awkward, Finding Carter) and Hollywood films and trailers (Scream 4, 127 Hours). Schlesinger commented: “I’m so excited about the direction of the music that Paul and I will be creating. Having the chance to dedicate 3 weeks to creating this record with such an incredible producer has only been made possible thanks to Creative Scotland and I can't wait to share the results.”

Multi-award-winning Elephant Sessions will record, produce and release their third studio album. Last year the band picked up the Live Act of the Year award, received a nomination for 'Best Group' at the BBC Radio 2 Folk Awards and were the winners of the first ever Belhaven Bursary Award. Alasdair Taylor of Elephant Sessions commented: “This album is integral to the development of the band. It will help to cement our place in the folk scene, as well as promoting our music and Scottish culture worldwide to new audiences.”

Elephant Sessions

Composer Ailie Robertson will research and develop a new chamber opera adaptation of The Yellow Wallpaper by Charlotte Perkins Gilman. The Yellow Wallpaper is regarded as an important early work of American feminist literature.

Playwright Jennifer Adam will research and develop a new play - The House that Melts with the Rain, exploring how individuals are affected by incidents of national security and the impact they can have on our mental state, and the role the media plays in contributing to instilling fear. Jennifer Adam commented: “This funding will allow me to explore a number of aspects regarding story, structure, character and will also allow me to bring a designer into the process to discuss the visual elements of the play.”

Jennifer Adam


The fund also supports activity which broadens - or removes barriers - to participation, reaches more people and encourages more people to take part.

Loch Arthur community will stage a new and original inclusive performance piece for community actors, musicians and dancers based on Shakespeare’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream. Loch Arthur is a working community near Dumfries, South West Scotland, which includes men and women with learning disabilities.

Loch Arthur Community

Freedom of Mind Community Choir - an independent, non-audition choir, providing regular singing opportunities for adults from or near Camelon, Falkirk, will programme a series of group singing sessions for those with poor mental health, or experiencing social isolation.  Emily Simpson Choir Manager commented: “The project will improve the physical, mental and emotional wellbeing of participants, while building skills in vocal technique, group and solo singing, musical understanding, harmonising, song writing and arrangement.”

Krazy Kat Theatre Company will stage Sign Language theatre performances of the musical work Goldilocks and how many bears? for deaf and disabled community groups across Scotland. Kinny Gardner commented: “We will be offering 10 performances over two weeks, looking to engage an audience of over 1,800 children aged 3-7 years, throughout Scotland. There will be no charge to the schools or community centres for this visit.”

Educating the minds of tomorrow in how to gain a career in the electronic music industry the 2019 Soma Skool will run on Saturday, 20 April 2019 at SWG3, Glasgow. Rosie Shannon, Project Manager of Soma Skool, said: “Soma Skool is a great opportunity for anyone of any ability to come down and learn some valuable knowledge about the inner workings of the electronic music industry. Whether it’s learning how to make techno or how to be a music journalist, the aim of the event is for everyone to leave with a satisfied feeling they’ve made the first stepping stone into their new career.”

The 48 Hour Film Project receives support towards the 2019 editions in Edinburgh (17-19 May 2019) and Glasgow (October 2019). Sam Goldblatt of48 Hour Film Project commented: “We have created over 600 short films over the past 10 years, all of which have received professional public screenings in cinemas before enthusiastic crowds. Many of our filmmakers have gone on to work for BBC, STV, and on major film and television productions and our films have been screened at major international film festivals.”

Artistic Programming

Talbot Rice Gallery receives funding towards their 2019 exhibition programme. Tessa Giblin, Director commented: “For several decades, Talbot Rice Gallery has played an important role in the Scottish visual arts landscape and has mounted some of Scotland’s most memorable solo exhibitions of major international artists. Talbot Rice Gallery is dedicated to furthering curatorial research through solo exhibitions with artists who are given access to the University’s collections and research capacity, and also in the creation of conceptual group exhibitions.”

Ullapool's Visual Arts centre An Talla Solais receives funding towards their 2019 programme. Outside In will involve commissioning and exhibiting new artwork, establishing a new network of curators in the north of Scotland and a focus on the professional development of artists in this region.

Running from 17-20 July 2019, multi award winning HebCelt in Stornoway will showcase emerging artists, Gaelic arts and a wide variety of local talent within a programme featuring music from Celtic, traditional, world, rock, roots and contemporary alternative genres. Festival Director Caroline Maclennan said: “HebCelt is a not-for-profit charitable event managed almost entirely by voluntary effort. Open Project Funding is, therefore, invaluable in assisting us stage an international festival that is rooted in its community.”


The Scottish Mental Health Arts Festival (SMHAF) receives support towards the 2019 programme with events taking place across Scotland from 3 – 26 May. SMHAF is the biggest festival of its kind in the world, and its ground-breaking model – combining high artistic quality with strong grassroots support, community engagement and social activism – has been imitated internationally.

Scottish Mental Health Arts Festival

Contemporary performance festival Take Me Somewhere, receives support towards its 2019 programme in Glasgow from 11 May – 2 June 2019. Artistic Director LJ Findlay-Walsh commented: “We’re delighted to unleash the third edition of Take Me Somewhere, a fearless international festival that both compliments and disrupts the city”

Literary, music and animation collective Neu! Reekie! receive support to present Remain In Light – a year-long monthly programme of cultural showcases, provocations and collaborative events, featuring poetry and spoken word, alongside music, animation, theatre and dance. Michael Pedersen commented: “This is our boldest and most varied project to date. We'll take Neu! Reekie! around Scotland, out of Scotland, and back to favourite haunts with shows that ask social and cultural questions as well as entertain. We'll revisit poets of the past in fresh and innovative ways as well as explore new contemporary verse.”

Neu Reekie

Booked! 2019 an annual celebration of the written word in all its forms will give people in West Dunbartonshire the opportunity to meet leading fiction and non-fiction writers, hear their work and discover new books. David Main, Team Leader, West Dunbartonshire Libraries commented: “For 2019, our team have yet again pulled out all the stops to compile a mouth-watering collection of free events that will broaden the mind, inspire the soul and keep us all on the edge of our seats.”


Open Project Fund awards - February 2019

Download February 2019's Open Project Fund awards in Excel format.

Notes to Editors

Open Project Funding

is available to a wide range of organisations and individuals working across Scotland in the arts, screen and creative industries. It supports a broad spectrum of activity including creative and professional development, research and development, production, small capital requirements, touring and collaborations, festivals, arts programming, audience development, etc. A full list of activities supported through this route is set out in the Open Project Funding application guidance. Support is available for projects of different scale and duration with the maximum period of award being set at 2 years. Awards are made in the range £1,000 to £100,000 (or up to £150,000 by exception).

See more details of our Open Project Fund and other funding routes.

Please note the funding awards listed above remain offers of funding until such time as all terms and conditions have been formally accepted and fulfilled by the award recipient. If an award recipient fails to accept any offer, the funding award will be withdrawn and credited to future Open Project Funding Panels.

About Creative Scotland

Creative Scotland is the public body that supports the arts, screen and creative industries across all parts of Scotland on behalf of everyone who lives, works or visits here. We enable people and organisations to work in and experience the arts, screen and creative industries in Scotland by helping others to develop great ideas and bring them to life. We distribute funding provided by the Scottish Government and the National Lottery.

For further information about Creative Scotland please visit www.creativescotland.com. Follow us on Twitter @creativescots, Facebook www.facebook.com/CreativeScotland and Instagram www.instagram.com/creativescots.

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