Overcoming Adversity: Awardee Gains First Class Honours

We were delighted to receive an update on one of our youngest ever Awardees, Oliver Smith. 

Oli received a Dewar Arts Award in 2007, when he was just 12.  We supported him in developing his skills in animation, after he won a competition intended for adults at the 2006 Inverness Film Festival and went on to be shortlisted for a National Young Filmmakers Award.

Oli has now graduated from Abertay University in Dundee, with a First Class Honours BA in Computer Game Design and an Achievement of Excellence Award.

This is a particularly significant achievement for Oli, who has faced a long battle with ME.  This stripped him of his ability to concentrate, to do fine work, and to complete basic tasks in mathematics. It impacted on his day to day life and on his education.  He spent long periods in bed and became very isolated.

In spite of these challenges, Oli home-schooled himself and gained sufficient Highers and Advanced Highers to to gain a place to study on the competitive Computer Game Design course at Abertay.  There he proved his tenacity and determination once again by overcoming struggles with health to achieve his First Class bachelors degree.

Oli has now set up his own business with a team of five people.  Recent achievements include contracts with Carnegie and the Curriculum for Excellence.  You can find Oli's work here:


Oli was selected as a Queen's Baton Relay carrier in Dundee, as a mark of his achievement in spite of his illness, and on behalf of all young people in Scotland with 'hidden disabilities'.

We are proud to have been a part of Oli's journey and wish him every success in the future.

Read More: Oliver Smith - Dewar Arts Award Profile

Oliver Smith - 'Time Traveller', Revisiting Scottish History, Curriculum for Excellence


We have supported more than 300 talented young artists. Find out more about them here.


View multimedia examples of previous Awardees’ work, including films, music and images.