Project information

Artist in Residence Programme

Within the redeveloped Aberdeen Art Gallery will be a specialist space enabling us to host an Artist in Residence for several months of the year.

This will combine opportunities for experiences and emerging artists to develop new work alongside a programme of public engagement activities.

January 2019 - December 2019

Charity information: Aberdeen Art Gallery & Museums Development Trust

Aberdeen Art Gallery & Museums Development Trust logo
  • Need


    The Inspiring Art and Music redevelopment project seeks to enable more people to engage with the very best in art and music in more ways than ever before, right in the heart of Aberdeen City.

    During our consultation artists residencies were highlighted as something visitors would like to see in the Gallery

    In the past, space constraints have meant that working with emerging and established artists in this way to add vibrancy to the city's culture has been something we've been unable to do.


    An artist / creative practitioner will take up residency at the Gallery on an annual basis. The Christmas Challenge will allow us to fund 2 artist residencies.

    The artist will have the opportunity to produce a piece of work for temporary display in or
    associated with the Gallery, Cowdray Hall or Remembrance Hall. The residency may result in the creation of a physical work of art, a performance or intervention within or associated with the Art Gallery.

  • Aims

    Aim 1

    Commission an artist in residence to take up a residency within Gallery 3 for a period of 3 months.


    » The residency may result in the creation of a physical work of art, a performance or intervention within or associated with the Art Gallery Complex.
    » The artist will work on their creation at the Gallery with opportunities for public viewing as they work in their studio surroundings.
    » The artist may also lead workshops / talks relating to their area of specialism, providing visitors with live insight in to the creation process.

    What success will look like

    Successful appointment and delivery of artist in residency, along with associated public sessions (masterclasses / workshops / talks)

    Aim 2

    Improve the retention of graduates of RGU's Gray's School of Art by creating local opportunities.


    » Where the artist in residence is an emerging artist, working with them to develop their craft, commercialisation and public engagement skills.

    What success will look like

    Supporting recent graduates as they develop their careers, with the aim of seeing a long term increase in the number of graduates choosing to remain in Aberdeen.

  • Impact


    This will contribute to the city’s creative economy and provide an outlet in a public gallery for new and emerging artists alongside the collection of works from established, contemporary and historical artists. We envisage this becoming an annual programme, following the successful first year of progamming.

    The opportunity for visitors to engage with a working artist, and for artists to showcase their work will add a vibrancy to the programming and local cultural offering.


    There may be a risk that we do not attract artists of the desired calibre, or that artist does not produce quality or quantity of work or workshops hoped for.

    A recent open commission we advertised attracted 40 submissions including artists such as Alec Finlay, Su Blackwell, Mary Bourne, Gordon Burnett, Alison Kinnaird, & Jeff Zimmer.

    We have also been in discussion with a number of artists and may approach them directly.

    A robust application and monitoring process will be implemented.


    Donors to this project will receive regular email updates as the project progresses, including the selection of artist, through to the launch event.

    Donors will also have the opportunity to be involved with workshops / public viewing events.

  • Budget

    Budget - Project Cost: £20,000

    Loading graph....
      Amount Heading Description
      £8,000 Production Production costs, including artists fees (residency 1)
      £2,000 Education /outreach Education and outreach events. (residency 1)
      £8,000 Production Production costs, including artists fees (residency 2)
      £2,000 Education / outreach Education and outreach events. (residency 2)
  • Background


    Generations of people first discovered a lifelong love of art and culture within our walls and the City's outstanding collection of fine art and decorative art has developed to reflect changing tastes and movements over the centuries.

    In recent years the major downturn in the oil price has had significant effect on the local economy, and art, culture and tourism are viewed as a key strand of the city's economic (as well as cultural) renaissance.


    In the run up to the closing of Aberdeen Art Gallery, we averaged around 175,000 visitors each year. After reopening, we expect to welcome 250,000 visitors annually.

    Significant effort is being invested in improving accessibility - both in terms of new audiences, and in terms of improving the physical access to the building. Gallery displays are being created to appeal to specific warm and cool target audiences. The Artists in Residence programme has been identified as key to this.

  • Why Us?

    Why Us?

    This project builds on our heritage and exceptional Recognised Collection of National Significance, and provides the opportunity to engage with new and existing audiences. Vibrant activities such as this are key to our future strategy, and will help spark Aberdeen's cultural renaissance.

    New facilities in the building leave us uniquely placed to develop vibrant programmes around our exhibitions, and offer new opportunities for artists and audiences alike.

    Read more about the Charity running this project.


    Helen Fothergill

    Helen will lead the commissioning process, leading the team who evaluate the artists submissions, ensuring an exciting choice of artist.

    Deirdre Grant

    Deirdre leads the team who are responsible for Aberdeen Art Gallery engaging with audiences through programming of the events as part of the residency

    Jacqueline Curtis

    Our Business Development Manager will work with the artists providing expertise and opportunities for commercialisation, merchandise and marketing.