Scotland + Venice 2019 Professional Development Programme participants from left to right: Isaac Stanesby, Thomas Abercromby, Katheryne Morrison, Lauren Ferguson, Emma Blackhall, Courtney Barr, Maria Oliver Smith, Foxy, Eleanor Beale, Grace Carroll. Standing left to right: Soorin Shin, Aki Hassan, Harvey Dimond, Aisling Ward, Frances Driscoll, Kaya Fraser, Jenny Sprenger.  ©

Photo credit: Alan Dimmick

Seventeen young Scottish arts professionals have been selected to take part in the Scotland + Venice 2019 Professional Development Programme.

Led by Cove Park, an international artists residency centre based in Argyll, the Programme is partnering with six Scottish art schools and colleges, and benefiting from new collaborations with the Scottish Contemporary Art Network (SCAN) and Templar Arts and Leisure Centre (talc), Argyll and Bute. The aim is to open up the opportunities beyond those currently in further or higher education to help address the significant barriers that people can face in pursuing or progressing a professional career in the visual arts.

The Programme receives support from the participating institutions, with additional funding from British Council Scotland, Art Fund, and from the National Lottery through Creative Scotland.

Leading the group’s inaugural training residency at Cove Park, Alexia Holt, the centre's Director & Visual Arts Programme Producer said: “Residency programmes for artists and professional development training for arts professionals are key to supporting the arts in Scotland and we’re incredibly pleased that the Professional Development Programme’s model has been expanded to include those based within Cove Park’s own region and those identified through our new partnership with SCAN.”

As key members of the Scotland + Venice team at the exhibition space, the 17 team members will have a unique and valuable opportunity to stay in Venice, learn new skills, develop professional and international networks and gain professional experience in the unique setting of the Venice Biennale, one of the world’s biggest and most prestigious contemporary visual arts festivals.

Colleges, organisations and individuals taking part are: 

  • City of Glasgow College: Emma Blackhall 
  • Duncan of Jordanstone College of Art: Kaya Fraser and Katheryne Morrison 
  • Edinburgh College of Art: Aisling Ward, Eleanor Beale, Frances Driscoll and Maria Oliver Smith
  • Glasgow School of Art: Harvey Dimond, Aki Hassan and Soorin Shin 
  • Gray’s School of Art: Courtney Barr and Lauren Fergusson 
  • Templar Arts and Leisure Centre (talc.): Grace Carroll and Isaac Stanesby 
  • Scottish Contemporary Arts Network (SCAN): Thomas Abercromby and Foxy
  • University of Highlands and Islands: Jenny Sprenger

An integral part of the Scotland + Venice presentation, the Professional Development Programme began 15 years ago and, to date, over 100 students from eight Scottish art institutes of further and higher Education have taken part, many of whom have gone on to secure work throughout the visual arts sector.

2007 participant Lottie Thorne commented: “This is a great opportunity for anyone taking part.  Not only are you living and working in one of the most historically rich and beautiful cities in the world, you have access to the best of the best in terms of contemporary art. The impact on my career is directly linked to this opportunity; people I met, both artists and partners, informed my understanding of and passion for working in the visual arts sector in Scotland. The reputation of the project, and connections I made being associated with it, equipped me with knowledge and confidence to secure work at the Scottish Arts Council, Creative Scotland and British Council Scotland, engaging with senior partners, practicing artists and project producers.”

Norah Campbell, Head of Arts, British Council Scotland said, “We are proud to support this initiative to widen the reach of these valuable international opportunities, as they offer the potential to make significant contributions to the careers of those who will be taking part”.

La Biennale di Venezia runs from 11 May to 24 November 2019. 

Charlotte Prodger’s exhibition will take place at Arsenale Docks, S. Pietro di Castello, 40, 30122


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