Media Release: Winners of Creative Scotland’s Vital Spark Awards announced

SEVEN unique collaborations have won the Creative Scotland Vital Spark Awards.

The winners were selected from a shortlist of 16 by a panel of creative experts to receive a share of the £500,000 Vital Spark Fund to develop their collaborative projects.

Creative Scotland has committed a total of £1 million, spread over two years, from its £5m Innovation Fund for the Vital Spark awards to enable creative practitioners to work on new collaborations across a range of art forms and disciplines.

The successful projects include a wide range of collaborations; from a new theatre production involving music animation and text to the production of an artist-conceived shelter for stargazers in Galloway and the compilation of a free ‘world map’ or poetic atlas composed on journeys throughout Scotland, made available free from an innovative website and as audio at partner venues.

Ewan Brown, chair, Creative Scotland 09 Ltd, said:

“Competition was extremely high for these awards, which are about are about encouraging different approaches to creativity. Creative Scotland will challenge creative boundaries and the winners of these awards certainly rose to that challenge with some very exciting new projects and I am looking forward to seeing them come into fruition.”

Fiona Hyslop, Minister for Culture, said:

The Vital Spark Awards are a clear example of the innovative and collaborative approach that will distinguish Scotland’s new arts development body Creative Scotland.

‘One of Creative Scotland’s tasks will be to support the best of new creativity in its different forms.  I am delighted to announce the winners today from a host of highly original projects encompassing a rich variety of art forms.”

The judging panel was chaired Jim Tough, CEO Scottish Arts Council and comprised:

Julie Ellen – creative director, Playwrights Studio Scotland

Mary Brennan – performance and dance critic

Mary Miller – director, Stavanger2008, European Capital of Culture

Damien Smith – director of ISO (digital media studio) and Central Station

Luke Sutherland – author and musician

Judith Winters – curator, Dundee Contemporary Arts

Neil Wallace – artistic director, De Doelen Concert Halls, Rotterdam

Speaking on behalf of the judges, Jim Tough CEO Scottish Arts Council said:

“The standard of applications received was extremely high and there was an exciting mix of both established and emerging artists. All experimental, radical and innovative, these seven collaborations aim to creatively engage with audiences and cross boundaries uncharted before now.”

The seven successful collaborations comprise:

  • Curators/ producers Lucy McEachan and Catriona Duffy; fashion designer, Beca Lipscombe; visual artist, Lucy McKenzie and illustrator, Bernie Reid will present new work and ideas that examine and rework the curatorial forms and presentation of craft practice in Scotland today
  • Artist Torsten Lauschmann and Dr Jochen Ehnes from the University of Edinburgh will research and develop tools to create and view site specific art using augmented reality, mobile devices and video projections throughout Scotland and abroad.
  • Composer and musician Raymond MacDonald alongside visual artist Martin Boyce and film director, David MacKenzie, will experiment with new forms of work that will adapt to gallery, concert hall and cinema spaces produced by three artists
  • Rob Drummond will undertake a training programme with the Scottish Wrestling Alliance, culminating in a piece of theatre work that straddles both theatre practice and authentic wrestling match in collaboration with film makers Lindsay Goodall, wrestler James Tyler and the Arches.
  • An artist-conceived shelter for stargazers in Galloway Forest, ‘The Bothy’, will be created by visual artist Mandy McIntosh, composer Kaffe Matthews in partnership with the Scottish Universities Physics Alliance/Institute for Astronomy and the Forestry Commission Scotland.
  •  The production of a ‘world map’ or poetic atlas composed on journeys throughout Scotland, made available free from an innovative website and as audio at partner venues. The work will be produced by poet Ken Cockburn and artist and poet Alec Finlay
  • Nicholas Bone, director of Magnetic North Theatre Company with partners David Shrigley (visual artist) and David Fennessy (composer) will develop and produce a live performance that will combine theatre, animation, text and live music in an event that is part theatre, part gig.  


Notes to Editors

1         Creative Scotland the statutory NDPB is expected to be formally established in 2010 and will:

  1. encourage and sustain artists and creators of all kinds
  2. ensure that their work is accessible to all
  3. ensure that as many people as possible can participate in creative activities; and,
  4. extend and increase the wider benefits of arts and culture, including their contribution to the promotion and development of our unique national culture and its wider place in the international sphere.

2         The arrangements for establishing Creative Scotland as a statutory NDPB are undergoing further Parliamentary scrutiny through the Public Services Reform (Scotland) Bill (published May 29, 2009). The Scottish Parliament agreed the principles of the Bill at the Stage 1 debate on 7 January 2010. Stage two amendments have now been submitted. The bill and amendments will be debated through a Stage 3 meeting of the whole Parliament on the 25 March 2010.

3         The Vital Spark Awards are one strand of the Creative Scotland Innovation fund. The focus of the Innovation Fund is:

  1. Supporting Scotland’s artists by funding new work, inspirational collaborations and residencies
  2. Encouraging and supporting innovative working between public agencies and artists
  3. Extending practical help to new creative entrepreneurs
  4. Supporting and sustaining Scotland’s artistic community and economy now, at this time of recession, by offering new ways of getting funds into the hands of artists and creative practitioners across a wide range of disciplines

4         Other Innovation Fund projects include:

  1. £1.5 million for the Digital Media IP Fund – this will maximise the creative, cultural and commercial opportunities presented by new and emerging technologies, in partnership with Scottish Enterprise (who have contributed £1.5 million match funding) and other investors
  2. £1 million for the Starter for Six (S46) – an enterprise support programme for start-up creative entrepreneurs across Scotland, extending a successful NESTA programme
  3. £750,000 for The Creative Scotland Rural Innovation Fund – a fund to support innovative, cross-agency working in rural areas
  4. £500,000 for the Creative Scotland Partners artists’ residency fund – to provide additional innovative residencies for artists to work with communities in education, health and the environment. The Innovation Fund doubles the funding currently available from the Scottish Arts Council
  5. An additional £250,000 for Own Art – an interest free credit scheme that encourages and makes it easier for people to buy original art and craft. This additional investment over the next two years will support a new strategy for galleries to develop online sales and promotion. There will also be new marketing campaigns that raise awareness of the accessibility of the Own Art scheme and the rewards of art collecting generally

Media contact:

Creative Scotland

12 Manor Place, Edinburgh. EH3 7DD

T: 0131 240 2476

MEDIA RELEASE posted by Creative Scotland. You too can post a media release (aka a press release) on For more information, email here.

Contact: Lorna Wharton
Phone: 07980 756891