Moray Artists Bursary helps foster a sense of community

Lorna Van der Stighelen

In December we announced the successful applicants of the Moray Artists Bursary 2019, with twelve recipients securing grants of up to £1,500 to develop activities, skills and creative practice

We spoke to one of the previous recipients of the Moray Artists Bursary, artist and illustrator Lorna Van der Stighelen, to find out how receiving the funding and support has impacted her career.

In 2018 I was awarded £800 through the Moray Artists Bursary to allow me to update my equipment and continue my career as a freelance digital artist and illustrator.

In order to continue producing the highest quality work, experimenting with my creativity, and to further develop my skills, I needed to purchase a new drawing tablet to replace the outdated graphics tablet I had been using previously.

Due to the funding I was awarded I was also able to put money towards a new computer, an essential piece of equipment for my work as a digital artist. These pieces replaced previous technology which was not only outdated but didn’t have the software capability I needed to truly drive my career forward at the pace I wanted and needed to.

As a result of being awarded the Moray Artists Bursary I have been able to take on freelance work and continue my own personal development, thanks in no small part to the new technology I’ve been able to utilise. Not only has being able to purchase this new equipment played an integral role in my working life, it has also helped me manage a positive work life balance by allowing me to work wherever and whenever I need.

The Moray Artists Bursary has also allowed me to get more involved with the creative community in Moray, something I’ve learned and grown from as an individual and an artist. I’ve been able to take part in Culture Café events, where I’ve met other creatives and learned from their artistic styles and experiences.

Through my engagement with the local community in Moray I’ve also become involved in the Moray Wellbeing Hub, something I’ve now become a strong champion for. The work they do to support people with their mental wellbeing has encouraged me to look into gaining mental health qualifications, something I’ve long been interested in since my first ambitions to become an art therapist many years ago.

While I received monetary support from the Moray Artists Bursary this hasn’t been the only thing I’ve received, and in fact the community support and ability to meet with likeminded individuals has made just as powerful an impact on my career.

Going forward I hope to continue to establish myself as a freelance artist and also develop my own practice and skills. I also hope to continue my involvement within the local creative community in Moray.

To anyone considering applying for an initiative like the Moray Artists Bursary I would say it’s definitely worth it. Take your time with your application, really consider how it will further your practice, and be open to getting involved with your fellow creatives.

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£15,000 awarded through Moray Artists Bursary 2019

The arts, screen and creative industries in Moray have been bolstered by £15,000 funding through the Moray Artists Bursary from We Make Moray, with 12 applicants receiving grants of between £800 and £1,500 to develop activities, skills and creative practice.

We Make Moray is funded by Highlands and Islands Enterprise (HIE) and Creative Scotland, as part of Creative Scotland’s Place Partnership Programme. It was created to encourage and support local organisations to work together in the community to strengthen creative development and widen access to creative activity in the area.

Following the success of the inaugural Moray Artists Bursary in 2018, 26 individuals applied for the 2019 Bursary, an increase on the 23 applicants received last year. Successful applicants include visual artists, choreographers, media artists, musicians, craft-makers, a silversmith, a singer and a sculptor.

The funding allocated through the 2019 Bursary will see a number of projects brought to life. From the development of a walking art project in Moray that connects art, the landscape and cultural settings, through to collaborative work, the production of a musical album featuring local artists, and new installations and performances.

The Moray Artists Bursary will also support an emerging artist to create new two-dimensional works while pursuing opportunities to exhibit. Additionally, the grants will allow Moray-based creatives to learn more about their craft from experts in their field, bringing back traditional little-practised skills to the region to benefit future generations and the local industry.

Scotland’s creative industries contribute more than £5 billion to the Scottish economy each year, and initiatives like the Moray Artists Bursary will help the arts, screen and creative industries in the region continue to thrive.

Sandra Morrison, Place Partnership Co-ordinator, We Make Moray, said: “The creative industries in Moray are continuously growing and it was fantastic to receive so many applications for the 2019 Moray Artists Bursary. The panel was impressed by the high standard of applications received, and the diverse work taking place here, making the final decision a very difficult one.

“I’d like to once again congratulate the 12 successful applicants, who each demonstrated a passion for their practice and desire to showcase Moray’s creativity and skillset. Last year 10 projects were awarded funding, so it’s fantastic to be able to support even more individuals to develop activities, skills and creative practice this year and I look forward to seeing each project develop and positively impact the local community.”

Jennifer Tipton, Place, Partnerships and Communities Officer, Creative Scotland, commented: “The applications for this year’s Moray Artists Bursary programme were hugely diverse and truly reflected the breadth of creative talent in Moray. The We Make Moray Place Partnership has empowered artists and makers across the community to develop their practice and contribute to the cultural growth of the region.”

The Moray Artists Bursary was established by We Make Moray, a place partnership project which supports arts and culture initiatives. The bursary is designed to enable the recipients to realise their own potential while helping to advance the wider Moray Cultural Strategy.

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