National Islands Plan: Embedded Artist Call
The Glasgow School of Art/Scottish Government

Event Type:

Off-site event


The Glasgow School of Art


26 Apr 2019 - 17 May 2019
Fri - Fri, -



National Islands Plan
Embedded Artist Open Call

National Islands Plan: Embedded Artist Call

Event info

National Islands Plan: Embedded Artist Open Call
Artist Placement and Commission Opportunity
Deadline: Friday 17th May, noon


We are inviting applications from visual artists living on Scottish Islands to undertake a Placement & Commissionframed around, and directly responding to, the development ofScotland’s first ever National Islands Planby the Scottish Governmentand the unprecedented Islands-wide consultation process that is currently being carried out in order to gather the views of island communities in association with this. The selected artist will join the consultation team on a number of consultation events taking place in different Islands through June-July, as Embedded Artist. Following the Placement period, s/he will be supported to produce new work based on this experience, culminating in an exhibition in the autumn that will subsequently tour to island venues.

The NIP Embedded Artist Placement & Commission opportunity is offered and funded by the Scottish Government. The initiative has been developed and will be coordinated at The Glasgow School of Art by curator Mónica Laiseca (Senior Lecturer in Curatorial Practice – Contemporary Art), working in collaboration with fellow artist Susan Brind (Reader in Contemporary Art: Practice & Events) and the research centre Reading Landscape.

Scotland’s first National Islands Plan

Coming into force on 6 July 2018, the Islands (Scotland) Act 2018 has been greeted as a historic milestone in ensuring that the particular needs and circumstances of island communities in Scotland are clearly recognised. A provision within the Act is the development of a National Islands Plan (NIP), a document produced every five years that will set out a number of objectives across all policy areas to support, promote and empower island communities. The development of the Plan represents a concrete opportunity for island communities to shape a long-term vision that will guide how Scottish Government and other relevant authorities interact with island communities in the future. Scottish Ministers will be asked to report back annually on progress towards the goals included in the Plan.

The Act requires that the development of the NIP is foregrounded by a wide consultation with island communities involving island authorities, people who represent the interests of island communities and those who might be affected by, or have an interest in, the proposals contained in the Plan. By participating in the consultation, island communities have the possibility to highlight issues that they are currently facing as well as celebrate what works well on Scottish Islands, and ensure that these are directly reflected in the Plan.

The first NIP consultation as context for Embedded Artistic Practice

The consultation process informing the development of the first NIP is currently under way, led by Scottish Government in collaboration with the Strathclyde Centre for Environmental Law and Governance and with support from the Scottish Islands Federation. The process is two-fold, combining the results of a traditional on-line survey (available through the Citizen Space portal) with more qualitative data gathered through a series of events that will be carried out by Scottish Government throughout islands in Scotland. The consultations events are being organised in collaboration with local island organisations and will be promoted widely so that a broad spectrum of the island community can attend and participate.

Through the NIP Embedded Artist Placement & Commission we are inviting a visual artist to join the team who is leading on the consultation process, and contributing as an artist to the wide-ranging endeavour of policy implementation. S/he will be able to respond to the consultation from a different angle and provide an embodied and affective testimony that supplements the bird’s eye view of policy; connecting the voices and experiences of individuals taking part in the consultation in a different way (including potentially capturing complex ideas that may be difficult to incorporate or articulate as ‘goals’ in the final document), and making this accessible as an artwork to different audiences.

The NIP Embedded Artist Placement & Commission continues the tradition of ‘embedding’ artists within working contexts outwith the arts; notably developed in the U.K. through the activities of John Latham and Barbara Steveni’s Artists Placement Group (1966-1979), and grounded in the premise that placing artists within public and private sectors can have a transformative impact upon the world of work and is mutually beneficial for both artists and hosts.

This model has a strong legacy in Scotland, including through the work of David Harding, who was employed as Town Artist by the Glenrothes Development Corporation over a period of ten years (1968-1978). Harding served as a member of staff within the Planning Department and thus contributed to all phases of the development of built environment projects, having a voice from the outset. Organisations employing Embedded Artists in Scotland today include the charity Creative Carbon Scotland (as part of their Cultural Adaptations programme), and Glasgow City Council, currently delivering the SNP’s manifesto commitment to establish a city-wide artists in residence programme that will develop links between local culture and community regeneration. 

The idea for NIP Embedded Artist Placement & Commission has gestated over the course of the collaborative research project Law, Arts and Island Resilience, funded by the Royal Society of Edinburgh and undertaken by The Glasgow School of Art and Strathclyde Centre for Environmental Law and Governance in 2018-19. The project explored how the Islands (Scotland) Act will promote resilience on Scotland’s islands and the role of arts and creativity in the implementation of key legislative principles. A central question throughout the project was what the arts could contribute to the implementation of legislative principles, which led to considering relational perspectives between the fields of art and law and how they can complement one another. The Placement & Commission that we are proposing are a natural next step from these conversations.

Placement & Commission Details

The Placement & Commission are fully funded and the anticipated maximum commitment is 25 days, with daily fees following the Scottish Artist Union rate of £230.70 p/day. The artist must be able to fulfil an agreed timetable between June – November 2019.

During the Placement phase, the Embedded Artist will attend NIP consultation events held across different island locations, meeting and interacting with island community members. Availability for three four-day long trips through 1st June – 17th July is required; the full schedule and travel itinerary will be determined with the artist in advance of beginning the Placement. The artist will be provided with accommodation, travel expenses and subsistence. At a mid-point through the Placement, the artist will present a proposal for developing new artwork(s).

The Commission phase will run from mid July until November 2019. A budget of up to £1,000 has been allocated for materials and production costs, with the artist providing his/her own studio overheads and equipment. The final exhibition will be organised to coincide with the launch of the NIP, following its approval by Scottish Government; dates and venue will be confirmed in due course. Transportation, insurance and installation costs for the first exhibition up to a maximum of £2,000 will be covered, as well as travel and accommodation for the artist to attend the installation, press preview and opening event, and to deliver an artist’s talk.

It is anticipated that a tour of the exhibition will be organised across island venues through 2020-2021. Further details will be provided upon confirmation of venues.

Throughout the Placement & Commission phases, the artist will be supported and mentored by Mónica Laiseca and Susan Brind at The Glasgow School of Art.

Artwork(s) Terms

It is expected that the new artwork(s) will: be created as a result of the experiences of the artist while working with the NIP consultation team; be of high quality and of strong artistic integrity; and adhere to the Health and Safety regulations of the exhibition venue(s).

The artist will retain ownership of the artwork(s), including copyright, but will grant the Scottish Government and The Glasgow School of Art the right to exhibit the artwork(s) in different venues for a period of 18 months following the first public presentation of the project, as well as to use artwork(s) image(s) and information for all current and future marketing, educational, research and reporting purposes. 

How to apply

Individual visual artists, working in any medium, who are currently living on Scottish Islands, are eligible to apply. We are looking for an artist who can demonstrate a strong understanding of the unique geographical, natural heritage and cultural characteristics of Scottish islands, and who is interested in using their creative skills to explore the role arts can play in the implementation of policy.

Applications will consist of:

  • An up-to-date CV demonstrating appropriate experience (max 2 pages)
  • A covering letter (max 2 pages) stating why you are interested in this opportunity, relevant skills and experiences that you would bring, how it would inform the development of your practice, and what you feel you can contribute to the NIP consultation process.
  • Up to 5 examples or descriptions of relevant previous work, including images (max 3 pages).

Please email your application to nip-embeddedartist@gsa.ac.uk by Friday 17th May, noon. The title of the email will be ‘NIP Embedded Artist Application: YOUR NAME’.

Shortlisted candidates will be notified by email on Monday 20th May and attend a Skype interview on 21st May, in the morning.  The selected artist will be confirmed on 24th May, and travel arrangements for embarking on the Placement will begin immediately.


- Mónica Laiseca and Susan Brind (The Glasgow School of Art)

- Amanda Catto (Head of Visual Arts, Creative Scotland)

- Emma Nicolson (Head of Exhibitions, Royal Botanic Garden)

Karen MacNnee (Senior Policy Analysit, Scottish Government)

For further information email: nip-embeddedartist@gsa.ac.uk