Stephen Palmer Travel Bursary Fund now open for applications

Published: 31 Jan 2022

Travel bursary fund for freelancers working in the visual arts in Scotland launched to honour Stephen Palmer, Visual Arts Officer at Creative Scotland.

It is the pleasure of Creative Scotland and Engage Scotland to announce the Stephen Palmer Travel Bursary Fund.

This opportunity has been established to honour Stephen Palmer, a highly regarded and deeply respected Officer and Visual Arts specialist who devoted much of his career to the work of Creative Scotland and its predecessor body, The Scottish Arts Council.

Established following his death in 2021, this annual award reflects Stephen’s deep belief in the value of travel to broaden horizons, to build new connections and to inform and inspire the development of new work.

The bursary is intended to support the creative and professional development of individuals working in the visual arts sector in Scotland. It is open to freelance artists, curators, producers, writers and educators at any stage in their career. Our priority is to work with respect for the environment and to use this bursary to encourage and support sustainable travel within Scotland and the rest of the UK.  We are especially interested in helping people who may have had limited opportunity to travel for work purposes to date.

The overall budget for the fund is £5,000 which will support 10 bursaries of £500.

The bursary has been developed by Creative Scotland in partnership with Engage Scotland, the lead advocacy and training network for gallery education, representing arts educators, organisations, freelancers and artists from across the country. The Stephen Palmer Travel Bursary Fund is supported by the National Lottery through Creative Scotland.

Sarah Yearsley, Engage Scotland said:

“Engage Scotland is honoured to be working with Creative Scotland to deliver the Stephen Palmer travel bursary fund. This fund is a great way for us to support people working freelance in the visual arts sector to be able to travel to broaden horizons, build new connections and inform and inspire the development of new work. We’ve favoured a light touch application process, with opportunities to ask for support and guidance when needed, and we’re looking forward to seeing where this funding leads the successful applicants.”

Amanda Catto, Creative Scotland said:

“We’re delighted to be working with Engage Scotland to establish this new fund, inspired by the work of Stephen Palmer. The approach we are taking reflects and builds upon Stephen’s strong belief in the value of travel and research as touchstones for creativity and innovation. With Covid restrictions beginning to ease the fund will give freelancers in the visual arts the opportunity to travel and to connect with peers across the UK. It is also an opportunity for those that face barriers to travel to make connections and to undertake research at a distance.”


Eligibility for the bursary

People working in the visual arts in Scotland on a freelance/ self-employed basis (e.g. artists, curators, producers, writers and educators) at any stage in their career, who have had limited opportunity to travel to develop their practice.

People who are not in a position to travel due to a health condition, disability and/or caring responsibilities, who would benefit from being supported to undertake research at a distance through digital and/or other facilitated means. Digital software/subscriptions for those who can’t travel and would require specific programmes etc are eligible.

Applying for the bursary

Deadline for applications: Monday 14 March 2022, 10am

Visit the webpage to view or download all the information you need regarding eligibility, criteria, funding and timelines.

The Engage Scotland Coordinator, Sarah Yearsley, can offer guidance on making an application.

Access support is available for disabled applicants, tailored to individual requests.

We can accept applications in video or audio format (including applications in BSL).

Email: Telephone: 07398 034044 (Mon – Wed)

About Engage

Engage is the lead advocacy and training network for gallery education. We support arts educators, organisations, and artists to work together with communities in dynamic, open exchanges that give everyone the opportunity to learn and benefit from the arts. Engage works across five priority areas: training the workforce, diversifying the workforce, increasing the profile and visibility of members’ practice, providing opportunities for members to debate and shape practice, and leading sector advocacy. Engage has 700+ members in the UK and abroad in c.270 organisations.

Engage is an Arts Council England Sector Support Organisation and receives funding for its programmes in Scotland from Creative Scotland and for the programme in Wales from the Arts Council of Wales. Funding has also been received from trusts and foundations, individuals, and the corporate sector.

Engage Scotland programmes are delivered by programme coordinators and supported by voluntary development groups. You can find more information about Engage on our website

About Creative Scotland

Creative Scotland is the public body that supports the arts, screen and creative industries across all parts of Scotland distributing funding provided by the Scottish Government and The National Lottery. Further information at Follow us on TwitterFacebook and Instagram. Learn more about the value of art and creativity in Scotland and join in at