Stephen Palmer Travel Bursary Fund recipients announcement

Published: 29 Apr 2022

Creative Scotland and Engage Scotland are delighted to announce the first ten recipients of the Stephen Palmer Travel Bursary awards.  

At a time when travel has been heavily restricted the fund provides support to freelancers working in the visual arts in Scotland to connect with peers across the UK. Each of the recipients has demonstrated a clear ambition to explore new ideas and connections and these awards will significantly inform and enrich their future work in the sector.

The research trips will take place between now and the end of October 2022.

Alison Scott, based in Arbroath, undertakes projects which are focussed on climate, energy politics, embodied experiences of weather, the idea of the commons and collaborative learning. Alison plans to use the fund to further explore these ideas and provide inspiration for how she might build projects in the future, particularly outwith the central belt.

Glasgow based Joey Simons will travel to Great Yarmouth, where he will work with local artists and poets to explore shared elements of radical history, a critique of ‘the city of culture’, and experimental writing practices. On the way, he will follow the pedlar poet James Macfarlane’s 1852 tramp along the Great North Road.

Ukrainian Canadian artist and educator, Ayla Dmyterko will travel from Glasgow to the Cairngorm Forest to embark on a residency at the Inshriach Bothy. Its nature will provide time and space to reflect upon a new body of work called Filling in the Frescoes. This project will iterate across moving image, textiles, painting and text.

Clay AD is researching examples of queer non-hierarchical radical community. Asking what makes a community in the first place, who is included and who not and what sort of strategies have worked overtime to build strong ties and kinship bond. Clay will use the bursary to travel to queer archives in the UK.

Lumsden based Alexis Zafiropoulos will visit a host of organisations across the UK that focus on community learning and radical education.

Alexis says “I am honoured to receive this Stephen Palmer Travel Award and I am excited to learn more about how specialist making skills are shared in non-hierarchical, innovative and inclusive ways. I am really looking forward to this, it's going be invaluable to me and a great honour to undertake this in Stephen’s memory.”

Olivia Irvine will make a study visit from Edinburgh to Gloucestershire and Oxfordshire to see frescoes and make drawings from them.  She will visit the churches of Saint Mary’s, Kempley, and Saint Mary’s, Chalgrove, as well as spending time in the Ashmolean Museum in Oxford where there are artefacts from Knossos, Crete.

Hannah Edward will travel from Glasgow to explore places of Queer history and resonance, gathering recordings and reflections for a moving-image work. She will be approaching this exploration from a somatic standpoint, to being and making space for healing embodied trauma and internalised homophobia, as a result of Section 28.

Sasha Saben Callaghan’s project ‘Breath. Blood. Bone.’ is based on the true story of a lost fortune and a family torn apart by a pandemic. The Stephen Palmer Bursary will enable Sasha to visit archives in London and Kent and put together the final clues in a real-life mystery.

Emily Price will visit institutions, practitioners and projects that adhere to Arte Útil including Tŷ Pawb in Wrexham. Arte Útil translates as 'useful art' but goes further suggesting art as a tool or device. It draws on artistic thinking to imagine, create and implement tactics that change how we act in society.

Rachel Walker will make visits to artist projects, growing spaces and communities around the country to meet with and discuss practices of ‘artist as gardener’, alternative food economies and the creative practice(s) of radical urban horticulture.

Creative Scotland and Engage Scotland established this bursary fund 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. Recipients are encouraged to work with respect for the environment and will undertake 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 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 quote:

“We were delighted to receive a very strong set of applications for the Stephen Palmer Travel Bursary Fund and fascinated to see the wide range of research trips that applicants proposed. We are looking forward to hearing how the funded trips go and to sharing more information on those later in the year. “

Amanda Catto, Creative Scotland quote:

“Many congratulations to all the recipients of the inaugural Stephen Palmer Travel Bursary awards.  It’s been inspiring to see the range of ideas and concerns that people across the sector are exploring, and we are delighted to be offering this support in Stephen’s memory at this time.  We wish everybody well as they set out on these creative journeys and look forward to hearing and sharing their experiences later in the year.”