2016 Awardee: Shane Quigley Murphy

Being a student in financial difficulty was an ever present worry while beginning my career as an artist. The assistance from such a prestigious arts award buoyed my confidence and artistic endeavours. I will forever be thankful to the Dewar Arts Award and I look forward to being in a position to help the new generation of talent myself.

Biography

Shane is a professional Actor and Voice Over Artist from Dublin, Ireland. He graduated from the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland with a BA in Acting in 2016. Shane was also the recipient of the Laurence Olivier bursary while studying in the RCS. He has since gone on to work professionally in Scotland, England and the Republic of Ireland in film, TV, theatre and voice over work.

How the Award Helped

After receiving the award, Shane was able to get headshots, commute to London for auditions, purchase recording equipment, enrol in film acting classes and buy a pint or two for his fellow actors and teachers who supported him while in his studies.

Since the Award

Shane has gone on to work extensively in Ireland and the United Kingdom. While primarily a theatre actor, he has transitioned into film and TV taking the well honed skillset developed from Scottish acting practitioners. He has also picked up multiple best actor awards for independent feature films.

Being a student in financial difficulty was an ever present worry while beginning my career as an artist. The assistance from such a prestigious arts award buoyed my confidence and artistic endeavours. I will forever be thankful to the Dewar Arts Award and I look forward to being in a position to help the new generation of talent myself.

Awardee News: Jen Hadfield

Dewar Awardee Jen Hadfield is one of the recipients of this year’s Windham-Campbell Prizes.

One of the most significant and prestigious international literary awards, the Windham-Campbell Prizes celebrate achievement across fiction, non-fiction, poetry and drama. The prizes are administered by Yale University’s Beinecke Rare Book & Manuscript Library and recognise how challenging it can be to work in the creative industries. The award allows recipients to focus on their creative practice, independent of financial concerns. Writers do not apply for the prizes, but are instead nominated by an anonymous prize-giving committee.

A quote from the prize committee said: ‘Jen Hadfield’s intricate poems slow down time, reveal overlooked details of the natural world, and forge complex relationships between language, history, and place.’

In 2007, a Dewar Award supported Hadfield to travel to Mexico and research Mexican devotional folk art. This research trip inspired the creation of ‘Nigh-No-Place’, a solo exhibition of Shetland ex-votos in the style of sacred Mexican folk art – ‘tiny, portable, insistently familiar landscapes packed in an array of weathered tobacco tins, incorporating rubrics of very short fiction’.

Speaking of her Dewar Award, Jen said:
“The Dewar Award represented a green light to put my creative work first for most of a year… I consider the Dewar Award to have marked a crucial stage in my developing confidence as an artist in multiple disciplines.”

Jen’s second poetry collection ‘Nigh-No-Place’ won the T.S. Eliot Prize in 2008, and her fourth poetry collection, The Stone Age, won the Highland Book Prize in 2021. Storm Pegs, her work of lyrical non-fiction about island life, will be published by Picador in July 2024.

Read more about Jen Hadfield on the Windham Campbell website

If you feel a Dewar Arts Award could support you in your progression as a young artist, or know someone else who might benefit, find out more about how to apply on our Eligibility and Application pages

2023 Awardee: Tessa Mackenzie

Biography

Tessa Mackenzie is a glassworker and illustrator based in Glasgow. She is interested in research-led projects, material focus in the built environment, and storytelling.

Tessa moved from London to Glasgow in 2012 to study Communication Design at the Glasgow School of Art. Since graduating she has developed a material-led practice, with a focus around how Stained Glass can enhance the way we experience architecture and the role it has to play in telling the stories of people that occupy a space.

Tessa has worked freelance since graduating, with selected clients including the BBC, Scottish Government, NHS, The Princes Foundation, Mind, Elephant Magazine and University of Edinburgh. She has also been featured by the BBC, Creative Review, It’s Nice That and Wallpaper.

How the Award Helped

Tessa’s Award supported her to explore the technique of acid etching. As Tessa is a self-taught stained glass maker, she didn’t have the opportunity to learn complex techniques in a traditional environment. Her Dewar Award allowed her to seek private tuition, access necessary facilities, cover material expenses and allocate dedicated time. This financial backing not only allowed her to learn the ancient technique but also paved the way for her to confidently explore innovative methods of production, enhancing and elevating her artistic practice.

Awardee News: Embedded Musicians

Dewar Awardees Calum Huggan and Rylan Gleave feature in new short film from Chamber Music Scotland.

Dewar Awardees Calum Huggan (2011) and Rylan Gleave (2021) are featured in a new short film ‘Embedded Musicians’ from Chamber Music Scotland.

Embedded Musicians was an artist-led project that set out to explore and transform chamber music performance. Taking chamber music out of the concert hall, Chamber Music Scotland supported five musicians to form long-term partnerships with performing arts venues across Scotland. The musicians collaborated with regional communities to develop inclusive events that responded to the needs of local groups with a diverse range of chamber music activity.

🎥 Watch the film below or on YouTube:

2022 Awardee: Shubbe Kabanda

The opportunity to study what I am passionate about with support from the Dewar Arts Award is something I am incredibly thankful for and appreciate greatly.

Biography

Born in Glasgow, classical guitarist Shubbe Kabanda has been involved in music from an early age. Initially playing percussion and participating in school and community choirs, she later took up the guitar. During her senior years of secondary education, she was chosen to receive cello lessons, which inspired her to progress down the path of becoming a classical musician. Her season at the Junior Conservatoire reinforced her desire for music and kickstarted her journey into higher education. She is now an undergraduate at the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland under the tutelage of Sasha Savaloni.

In 2023, Shubbe achieved runner-up in Glasgow’s Scottish Young Musician Competition at the City Halls. She was part of the 2022 and 2023 Big Guitar Weekend events at the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland. She was also a part of the Glasgow CREATE guitar ensemble, choirs, and percussion ensemble, performing in their Christmas and spring concerts. For the Gold Music Leadership Award in secondary school, she was given the opportunity to work with the BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra, volunteering in the community.

How the Award Helped

Shubbe’s award helped her to purchase a classical guitar and supports her BMus studies at the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland.

The opportunity to study what I am passionate about with support from the Dewar Arts Award is something I am incredibly thankful for and appreciate greatly.

Awardee News: Alyth Ross

Dewar Awardee Alyth Ross will make her professional stage debut in James V Katherine this Spring.

Alyth Ross will make her professional stage debut in James V Katherine, the latest instalment in Rona Munro’s renowned James Plays.

Alyth received a Dewar Arts Award in 2019 to support her studies at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama. Speaking at the time she said:

“The Dewar Arts award has provided me and so many other young people with a life-changing opportunity; to achieve things I never dreamt I would. As a Scottish student from a rural background, I had never anticipated that I’d have to pay for my higher education, and so when I was first offered my place at Guildhall I almost had to turn it down due to funding. However, thanks to the incredibly generous support from Dewar Arts, I’ve been able to continue my training at this exceptional institution, which is without a doubt everything I’d anticipated and more. I am extremely grateful. From the bottom of my heart, thank you.”

Since graduating from Guildhall in 2021, Alyth has appeared in various TV and radio productions, including Traces, Dalgliesh, and Bad Sisters. Her first major TV role was in Last Light (2022), in which she appeared in five episodes. Her appearance in James V: Katherine marks her professional stage debut.

James V: Katherine is the fifth instalment of Rona Munro’s renowned James Plays. A Raw Material and Capital Theatres co-production, the production will receive its world premiere in Edinburgh in April, before embarking on a tour of smaller-scale venues across Scotland.

Visit the Raw Material Arts website for more information on James V Katherine

Visit Alyth Ross’ Awardee Profile

2023 Awardee: Erin McQuarrie

The Dewar Arts Award has provided vital funding to set up my studio in the Scottish Highlands and purchase essential weaving tools. I would like to sincerely thank the committee for all their encouragement and support.

Biography

Erin McQuarrie is a textile artist and researcher from Glasgow based in the Scottish Highlands. She believes ancient methods of making provide an innovative means of interpreting and responding to contemporary life. Through textiles McQuarrie reacts to the everyday – the language of warp and weft is her vocabulary, providing an antithesis to our fast-paced consumerist society, an outlet to explore health and wellbeing, and a platform for historical recovery.

Erin completed her BFA in Textiles at The Glasgow School of Art (2018) and her MFA in Textiles at Parsons School of Design, NYC, on a Fulbright scholarship (2021). Her work has been exhibited in Scotland and internationally, including Jane Lombard Gallery, L’Space Gallery, Mana Contemporary, The Royal Scottish Academy, and New York Textile Month.

How the Award Helped

Support from the Dewar Arts Award enabled Erin to finance an enclosed studio space and acquire essential tools for her practice. By purchasing a Saori floor loom, Erin is able to produce more ambitious textile work at a larger scale than with handmade tools at home. The studio also provides the space needed for lengthy dyeing and weaving processes.

Since the Award

In 2024, Erin presents her first solo show ‘The Time Between The Lights’ at The Briggait in Glasgow.

The Dewar Arts Award has provided vital funding to set up my studio in the Scottish Highlands and purchase essential weaving tools. I would like to sincerely thank the committee for all their encouragement and support.

Awardee News: Rylan Gleave

In Chemical Transit, the debut album from All Men Unto Me, explores Rylan Gleave’s vocal journey from Mezzo-Soprano to Bass-Baritone.

The debut album from All Men Unto Me, a project led by 2021 Dewar Awardee Rylan Gleave, has been released to critical acclaim.

In Chemical Transit explores Rylan’s vocal journey from Mezzo-Soprano to Bass-Baritone and serves as a window intothree moments in his transition: pre-transition, 8 weeks on Testosterone, and 2.5 years on Testosterone. Using historic recordings of Rylan’s voice, In Chemical Transit is a time capsule of voices that will never sound again. The album is underpinned by Cherubino’s aria Voi che sapete from Mozart’s Le Nozze di Figaro. The aria’s themes permeate the entirety of the record, with a repeated appeal to know “s’io l’ho nel cor”—“if it is in my heart”—returning multiple times in both Italian and English.

Gleave’s exploration of the operatic material is influenced not only by his classical training, but also his avant-garde metal vocals for band Ashenspire. There are also additional themes drawn from minimalism, church music, post-punk, and drone. His broken voice alternates between strangled falsetto, guttural shrieks, and full-bodied classical baritone, and has been likened to ‘Tilt-era Scott Walker’ by C.M. Queen.

The critical response to the release has been positive, with Echoes and Dust calling the album “a provocative sound capsule for the more open minded music lover” and Noob Heavy calling In Chemical Transit “an utterly singular work, the sort of daring project that sits at the forefront of art in both the musical and sociological sense”.

Rylan’s 2021 Dewar Award supported him through an MMus Degree with Dr. Linda Buckley at the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland, where he won the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland Composition prize.

A digital edition of the album can be downloaded from Bandcamp. Congratulations Rylan – we can’t wait to see what you do next!

Awardee News: Martin Lee Thomson

Congratulations to Dewar Awardee Martin Lee Thomson, whose duo Dopey Monkey have been appointed Chamber Music Scotland’s 2022-24 Ensemble in Residence.

Dopey Monkey have been appointed as Chamber Music Scotland’s 2022-24 Ensemble in Residence. The euphonium and tuba duo were formed in 2015 by Danielle Price and Martin Lee Thomson, a Dewar Awardee in 2017. The duo have since become known for their diverse and innovative new music, which blends jazz, folk, classical, and experimental music influences. They are passionate about showcasing the versatility of their instruments with original performances and cross-arts projects.

A Dewar Awardee in 2017, Martin’s award supported his studies at Trinity Laban Conservatoire of Music and Dance, where he studied under tuba soloist Oren Marshall on the BMus Jazz course.

As a duo, Dopey Monkey have been invited guest artists at Gravissimo Festival 2018 and the prestigious International Tuba and Euphonium Conference in Iowa, 2019. They were Dandelion Scotland Musicians in Residence for Findhorn Bay Arts in 2022. They are excited to find ways of further sharing their work, both in Scotland and internationally as CMS’s Ensemble in Residence 2022-24.

Listen to the duo performing in the video below.

Read more about Chamber Music Scotland
Read Martin’s Awardee Profile

New Contemporaries 2023

Dewar Awardees Thomas Cameron and Haneen Hadiy among artists selected for the 2023 programme

We’re delighted to see Dewar Awardees Thomas Cameron (2019) and Haneen Hadiy (2022) among the artists selected for New Contemporaries 2023. New Contemporaries celebrates emergent art practice in the UK, supporting contemporary visual artists to successfully transition from education into professional practice.

Running since 1949, the programme has held a vital role in the UK arts scene, introducing audiences to a list of well-known artists that includes David Hockney, Derek Jarman, and Rachel Maclean. This year’s selection includes final year students and recent graduates from arts institutions across the UK, as well as practitioners on alternative peer-to-peer learning programmes.

Thomas Cameron

Born in Helensburgh in 1992, Thomas is a painter with a distinctive poetic vision. He completed a BA in Fine Art at the Duncan of Jordanstone College of Art and Design, Dundee in 2014. He received a Dewar Arts Award in 2019, which enabled him to maintain studio space and to create a body of work focusing on the people and places of Glasgow. His work captures the optical pulse of the city and examines the detachment induced by consumerism, as well as pushing back against it. He now works and lives in London, and recently graduated with a MA Fine Art degree from the City and Guilds of London Art School.

Awardee Profile | Website

Haneen Hadiy

Haneen Hadiy was born in Glasgow, Scotland to Iraqi parents in 1999. Hadiy’s visual artistic practice explores her cultural heritage, family history and the reality of belonging between her motherland Iraq and her land of birth Scotland. Her 2022 Dewar Award supported the development and installation of a solo exhibition of her work in Iraq. Her works are known for their distinctive intimacy and integrity, and she continuously experiments through a variety of mediums to explore her family history, cultural heritage, and identity as a diasporic artist.

Awardee Profile | Website

Work by Thomas, Haneen and the other artists selected for the 2023 programme will be featured in an exhibition that will tour to the Grundy Art Gallery in Blackpool and Camden Art Centre in London. As well as being included in the 2023 Exhibition and Online Platform, these artists will have access to a range of opportunities including mentoring, talks, and workshops through New Contemporaries bespoke Bridget Riley Artists’ Development Programme.

Congratulations to Haneen and Thomas, we can’t wait to see what you do next!