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Scotland's creative community adapting work during COVID-19

Published: 30 Jun 2020

A woman stands in front of a large piece of orange and blue textured fabric

Image: Orains Artwork, Credit - OrainsDesign

A live literature experience, a public realm print exhibition, and a nature-based design project are amongst 68 projects across Scotland that have received a total of £1.6million from The National Lottery through Creative Scotland’s Open Project Fund, to reimagine work and create new opportunities during COVID-19.

Neu Reekie has been rethinking its year-long 10th anniversary programme, adapting and refocusing plans to reach audiences digitally.

Kevin Williamson, Co-founder, Neu Reekie said: “For our 10th year we organised our fullest, most diverse, and most ground-breaking programme of events to date in Edinburgh, with a year-long series of core shows, as well an ambitious tour of Scotland's towns and islands.

“All of these have had to be postponed because of coronavirus. To this end we've marked Edwin Morgan's centenary with a live streamed show on the weekend of his birthday which was conceptualised and programmed in the same unique way we do for our live shows. We're hosting the Scottish leg of the BBC's Words First talent development scheme over the summer months to help discover new spoken word talent; as well as launching a public appeal for new commissioned work from poets.

“We'll be at the ready to re-organise our core events, our national tour, and collaborative events when the coast is clear.”

A person views a print as part of a gallery exhibition

Image: Out of the Blueprint Exhibition Opening, Credit - Out of the Blueprint

Social enterprise and print studio, Out of the Blueprint is developing Walk Don’t Walk, an exhibition of work by 20 young illustrators and comic-makers. Originally imagined as a summer presentation at Leith’s Drill Hall, plans are now underway to showcase work on the streets of Leith.

Johnny GaileyManager at Out of the Blueprint, said: “There’s a real need this summer to put art and community up front and central, and I can't think of a better way than to showcase some of the amazing young talent we’re working with.”

Orains, an art and design partnership in Argyll and Bute, has also received support to research and develop a unique set of natural coloured dyes, created using only plant materials available in Scotland. Inspiration for the colour ways has been drawn from both the natural world and from literature, such as the work of Scottish flower painter Patrick Syme and Jean Fraser’s Traditional Scottish Dyes. The new colours will be used to create hand-dyed fabrics.

Pieter van der Werf from Orains said: “We started the project two days before lockdown and as a result some of our plant collection and analysis has been brought forward. We’re lucky that our studio is located in an area where flora and fauna is thriving even more now, uninhibited in the main by human intervention, and there is an abundance of materials to work with.”

Joan ParrDirector of Arts and Engagement at Creative Scotland said: “COVID-19 has had such a significant impact on artists and organisations working across the country that it is sometimes difficult to think positively at this time. We’re therefore pleased to share news of these projects where artists have been able to adapt their practices and work, finding new and engaging ways to connect with audiences and contribute to our national wellbeing in these challenging circumstances.”

View the full awards listings

Open Project Fund Awards - February 2020

Download the February 2020 Open Project Fund Awards in Excel spreadsheet format.

Open Project Fund Awards - March 2020

Download the March 2020 Open Project Fund Awards in Excel spreadsheet format.

Open Project Fund Awards - April 2020

Download the April 2020 Open Project Fund Awards in Excel spreadsheet format.

Notes to Editors

  • These projects are amongst 68 across Scotland receiving a total of £1.6m National Lottery funds through Creative Scotland’s Open Project Fund throughout February, March and April 2020. Neu Reekie has received £85,000, Out of the Blueprint has received £14,990 and Orains has received £5,000.
  • In response to the developing needs of the creative sector as a result of COVID-19, Creative Scotland’s £7.5million Open Project Fund has been repurposed to focus more specifically on sustaining creative development and practise for individuals and organisations through this unprecedented time. The Open Fund: Sustaining Creative Development is open for applications, with grants of between £1k and £50k available to enable individuals and organisations to explore new ways of working as circumstances change.
  • A list of other helpful resources and sector specific support groups and organisations is also available in our Covid-19 Resources Directory
  • 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. www.creativescotland.com 
  • The National Lottery has raised more than £41 billion for more than 565,000 good causes across the UK since 1994. Thanks to National Lottery players, up to £600 million has been made available to support people, projects and communities throughout the UK during the Coronavirus crisis.

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