The Scottish Arts Trust is holding it’s inaugural Landscape Awards in 2023. After nine years of promoting the arts in Scotland, this new venture provides an exciting challenge to artist in the region.

Can you tell us about the history of your trust?

The Scottish Arts Trust was established in 2014. Our aim is to support and promote innovation and creativity in the arts in Scotland through voluntary action. We provide new platforms for showcasing and promoting the work of Scotland’s artists, writers, musicians and other practitioners, while also mobilising and drawing on the skills, energy and vision of volunteers committed to the creative arts. Our initiatives span awards, exhibitions, performances and publications in the visual and literary arts as well as new music with awards including the renowned Scottish Portrait Awards, the Edinburgh Short Story Award and the Edinburgh Flash Fiction Award.

What makes your trust different from others in this space?

Our work has enabled established artists to reach new audiences, while creating opportunities for new artists to exhibit, be published, and be heard on a national platform for the first time. We wouldn’t be able to deliver these opportunities without the dedicated experience of our volunteers. Around seventy volunteers are involved in our projects – from filmmakers to publication designers, data wizards to social media content enthusiasts. Our volunteers are a diverse global network, fifty of whom are readers in Australia, New Zealand, Canada, Ireland and the USA as well as the UK who read and discuss the plot, character, pacing, language, style of each of our story entries.

Ade Adesina RSA. Courtesy of the artist

Who is eligible to enter this award? Are there any restrictions?

With a first prize of £10,000, the hotly anticipated awards are open to anyone regardless of experience. Work can be submitted by an individual artist, by a collective or a collaboration of artists as long as all are over 16 years on 1 November 2023 and born, living or studying in Scotland. To qualify for the Young Landscape Artist award, the artist or artists in the collective or collaboration must be under 25 years on 1 November 2023. Our entry deadline is 31 May 2023 so we’re encouraging everyone to enter now!

David Mach in his studio (2020) by Sean Ebbsworth Barnes

What is the most important advantage for artists who might be considering entering your exhibition?

Think outside the box!

As one of our selectors, internationally renowned artist David Mach, RA HRSA, eloquently puts it:

“Shock me. Make me laugh. Make me think I have found the best work of art in this show…
Set the ******* heather on fire!”

This is the first time you are running a Landscape Award. What response are you hoping to get from artists?

This exhibition seeks to redefine the boundaries of what contemporary landscape art is. Work entered may be imaginary, surreal, abstract, documentary, ecological, realistic – anything is possible as long as the work carries a strong sense of place or context.

Killpallet Rig by Barbara Rae. Mixed media on paper

What kind of media can the artworks be in? Are there any restrictions on media or size?

We want works to be as diverse as possible, a snapshot of Scottish contemporary art. Works can be in any media – painting, drawing, printmaking, collage, all forms of sculpture, animation, textiles or photography – and more. We’re especially interested in receiving entries in animation, installation, film and video, multimedia and virtual reality. Full details of restrictions and dimensions can be found on our website.

What awards are you offering?

We’re incredibly grateful to all our donors and supporters who have contributed to making the awards Scotland’s biggest prize in contemporary landscape art.

  • £10,000 First Prize The Lapeca Scottish Landscape Award. For works in any medium.
  • £5,000 Second Prize – Donated by the Robert Haldane Smith Foundation. For works in any medium.
  • £1,000 Third Prize – Donated by the Scottish Arts Trust. For works in any medium.
  • £5,000 The City of Edinburgh Award – Donated by the City of Edinburgh works in any medium depicting the Edinburgh landscape. The winning work will become part of the City of Edinburgh collection.
  • £3,000 The Scottish Landscape Award for Environmental Art – Donated by the Cruden Foundation. For works in any medium.
  • £1,000 Young Landscape Artist (16-25 years) – Donated by Irene Adams OBE. For works in any medium.
  • £1,000 The Scottish Landscape Photography Award – Donated by the Friends of the City Art Centre and Edinburgh Museums. For works produced using any photographic process.
Marian Leven in her studio. Courtesy of the artist

What were the qualities you looked for in your panel of selectors?

Our distinguished panel of judges comprise Ade Adesina, Marian Leven, David Mach, Barbara Rae (chair), and Jane and Louise Wilson. Each bring something unique to the table, demonstrating the breadth of what contemporary landscape art can be. Filmmakers Ryan Williams and Penny Bel have created an inspirational series of short films about the judges and what they will be looking for.

How many rounds of selection do you hold? Are any of them in person?

The judges use OESS to pre-select works based on everyone’s digital submission. The panel of judges will then meet to review, debate every pre-selected work and decide on the shortlisted works. The selection process is entirely digital. Every shortlisted artist will be invited to exhibit their work at the inaugural exhibition held at City Art Centre, Edinburgh, 4 November 2023 – 3 March 2024. Once the exhibition is hung in situ, the selectors will choose each of the award winners. The prize winners will be announced during the Scottish Landscape Awards Preview on Friday 3 November 2023.