2006 Awardee: Claire Wheeldon

I am ecstatic, and cannot thank the trustees enough! It will make an incredible difference to the year ahead


Claire graduated from Edinburgh College of Art with a first-class degree. While at art college she won two achievement prizes and was the first student winner of the prestigious Schweppes Award (formerly: John Kobal Portrait Award).

In 2002 she was the youngest artist commissioned to create artwork for the Scottish Parliament, producing a stunning series of photographs entitled Inclusion.

After working as a freelance photographer – one of her commissions was to photograph the former director of the National Portrait Gallery, Charles Saumerez Smith, and the staff of the gallery – she won a place on the Masters course in Fine Art Photography at the Royal College of Art, London.

Claire, who was brought up in Broomhill in Glasgow, is an extremely talented photographer who has already won admiration and notice for her work.

She has recently been commissioned by the charity Make Poverty History to travel overseas to produce work for their Poverty Ticker Screensaver project.

How the Award Helped

The Dewar Arts Award will go towards Claire’s tuition fees and photographic expenses.

Since the Award

Claire successfully gained an MA in Photography.

She writes that “in the desire to break from my previous working practice and find new ways of working, I branched into video as a way of exploring my ideas and concerns. I found this very challenging, as it was a break in the control and direction I had previously employed in my work.”

One of Claire’s videos, ‘Samantha Singing’ was shown in the monumental 150th anniversary of all the South Kensington cultural and education institutions, from the V&A Museum to the RCA. The two-week exhibition had over 10,000 visitors. Subsequently, Claire was invited to show her video at the ‘Late at Tate’ event at Tate Britain, alongside artist Bruce McLean and human rights activist, Peter Tatchell. Claire’s video of ‘Samantha Singing’ was also shown at the Dewar Arts Award 10th anniversary Showcase, much to everyone’s evident enjoyment.

I am ecstatic, and cannot thank the trustees enough! It will make an incredible difference to the year ahead