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.

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.

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.

2017 Awardee: Ryan Corbett

I am extremely grateful to the Dewar Arts Awards for their generous support that has enabled me to play on an instrument of the finest quality.

Biography

Ryan is a classical accordionist who has studied at the Music School of Douglas Academy (Milngavie), St Mary’s Music School (Edinburgh) and the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland (Glasgow). Ryan began playing accordion aged eleven and taught himself until he started learning with Djordje Gajic when he was fourteen.

His awards include the Allie Cullen prize for most outstanding performance at the Glasgow Music Festival, the Directors Recital Prize at St Mary’s Music School, second prize at the International Accordion Festival in San Vincenzo (Italy), third prize at the Akkordeonwettbewerb in Klingenthal (Germany) and third prize at the Harbin International Accordion Art Week (China), where he was the youngest competitor to be placed. In 2021, he was the winner of the keyboard category of the Annual Music Competition at the Royal Overseas League in London.

Ryan has given solo concerts at venues including the Berlin Philharmonie, University of Glasgow, Brunton Theatre (Edinburgh Festival), Cannongate Kirk (Edinbach Festival), an all-Baroque programme at the Museu de la Musica de Barcelona (Bachcelona Festival) and at the Jesus-Christus-Kirche Dahlem. His experience as a concerto soloist includes performing Václav Trojan’s ‘Fairytales’ concerto at the Queens Hall, St Mary’s Cathedral, and RCS, recording Bach’s fourth keyboard concerto with the Berliner Symphoniker as part of the Piazzolla centenary celebrations. He also performed as a soloist with the National Youth Orchestra of Scotland in June 2022.

As an active chamber musician, he has played duets with violin, viola, cello, flute, piano and voice, and has been invited to play with Red Note Ensemble, Hebrides Ensemble and the Maxwell Quartet. In 2021 he formed an accordion duo with Djordje Gajic, the programme features an arrangement of Stravinsky’s ballet ‘Petrushka’ and Ryan’s own arrangement of Bach Prelude and Fugue in Eb which was described as “musically unified and utterly compelling” (Seen and Heard International). He also arranged a short orchestral piece by Rameau for three Accordions which was performed for HRH Prince Charles during his official visit to the Conservatoire.

How the Award Helped

Ryan’s Award supported his studies at the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland.

Since the Award

In 2021, Ryan was the winner of the 2021 ROSL Annual Music Competition Gold Medal. He has also been appointed to the BBC Radio 3 New Generation Artists Scheme for 2022-2024.

I am extremely grateful to the Dewar Arts Awards for their generous support that has enabled me to play on an instrument of the finest quality.

2021 Awardee: Mollie-Mae Aiken

I can’t describe how thankful I am to have this unreal opportunity thanks to Dewar Arts Award. I work hard every single day and my dream is coming true. This has been an opportunity of a lifetime and I couldn’t thank them enough for it. 

Biography

Mollie-Mae Aiken is a talented young dancer from Rothesay. She has been trained in Highland Dancing, and has achieved much success on the competing circuit. She placed in 3rd for two consecutive years at the Cowal World Championships of Highland Dancing. An overall 1st place in a competition in Inveraray qualified her to be part of the Argyll and Bute team that competed at the Oban Championships.

How the Award Helped

Funding from the Dewar Arts Awards supported Mollie-Mae to attend Hamilton Theatre Arts and further her dance training.

I can’t describe how thankful I am to have this unreal opportunity thanks to Dewar Arts Award. I work hard every single day and my dream is coming true. This has been an opportunity of a lifetime and I couldn’t thank them enough for it. 

2021 Awardee: Gina Wright

"This Dewar Arts Award has allowed me to experience a wonderful first year at RCS Juniors. I have been able to gain expertise from acclaimed musicians from all over the world as well as make life-long friends."

Biography

Gina is a violist who was born in Scotland to a Scottish father and a German mother. From a young age she has enjoyed spending time with her family and friends in Germany and Scotland, and likes to share her passion for music by giving small informal concerts to her loved ones.

Gina became a pupil at the Music School of Douglas Academy in Milngavie in August 2020 and started her journey as a student of Dr. Lev Atlas (viola) and Claire Haslin (piano). Although new to the piano she quickly progressed to Grade 6 in her first year, and now enjoys teaching as well as exploring the exciting repertoire the instrument has to offer.

In 2021, Gina received a Dewar Arts Award, which enabled her to become a member of the Junior Royal Conservatoire of Scotland. This opened up incredible opportunities to her, such as playing at the COP 26 Conference in the Glasgow Royal Concert Hall alongside the Undergraduate and Postgraduate students of the RCS.

Since the Award

In March 2022, Gina took part in a masterclass with the Brodsky Quartet where she played the 1st Movement of Debussy’s string quartet in G minor with her school’s senior quartet. Upon receiving an exceptionally high mark after their first performance, the quartet went on to compete in the finals for the Allie Cullen Memorial Prize of the Glasgow Music Festival 2022.

Gina was also delighted to be selected as Principal Viola of the West of Scotland Schools Symphony Orchestra in 2022, and enjoyed playing the viola solos in Vaughan Williams’ London symphony. Additionally, Gina has been privileged to receive two Awards from the Awards for Young Musicians Charity, namely the Hilary McKenzie Johnston Award and the Robert Lewin Scholarship, which was awarded in recognition of a strong commitment to musicianship and musical excellence.

"This Dewar Arts Award has allowed me to experience a wonderful first year at RCS Juniors. I have been able to gain expertise from acclaimed musicians from all over the world as well as make life-long friends."

2022 Awardee: Haneen Hadiy

"This award has been a privilege and opportunity to pursue a dream. The award has fully supported me in conducting a solo exhibition in Iraq to reveal my work to the people of my homeland. My years of practice in the making have been immensely involved in my Iraqi culture therefore, an opportunity to visually present my creations in the land of Iraq is a huge successful step forward in my career as a visual artist."

Biography

Haneen Hadiy was born in Glasgow, Scotland to Iraqi parents in 1999. She started her career as a visual artist at the age of eighteen. Haneen Hadiy has exhibited around Scotland, London, New York and Los Angeles, revealing the unseen attractions of her motherland. In 2018 she organised an exhibition in Glasgow, giving the opportunity for exposure to Iraqi artists living in Iraq. Haneen regularly travels back and forth from Iraq to Scotland to explore her identity within both cultures. When travelling to Iraq, Haneen continuously focuses on revealing the existing scenic attractions of her homeland. Her works are known for their distinctive intimacy and integrity. She continuously experiments through a variety of mediums to explore her family history, cultural heritage, and identity as a diasporic artist.

How the Award Helped

Haneen’s award will support the development and installation of a solo exhibition of her work in Iraq. The exhibition will feature a collection of personal works that address and diminish cultural stereotypes.

"This award has been a privilege and opportunity to pursue a dream. The award has fully supported me in conducting a solo exhibition in Iraq to reveal my work to the people of my homeland. My years of practice in the making have been immensely involved in my Iraqi culture therefore, an opportunity to visually present my creations in the land of Iraq is a huge successful step forward in my career as a visual artist."

2022 Awardee: Kira Charleton

Kira Charleton

“Receiving an award from the Dewar Trust has honestly been life changing. It has allowed me to complete my final year of Master’s at the Royal Welsh College of Music and Drama whilst preparing for the next step in my journey. They have allowed a small town girl to keep working towards her big dreams of changing lives through music.”

Biography

Kira Charleton is a soprano singer from Ayrshire, who possesses a fresh sounding voice and the ability to sing both classical music and music theatre. Her talent and hard work earned her a place at the Royal Welsh College of Music and Drama, from where she graduated with a 1st Class Honours Degree in 2021. During her undergraduate studies, Kira was the only female candidate selected to compete and represent the college in the highly regarded, Junior Kathleen Ferrier competition. Following this, she partook in many performances, with the main highlights being selected as a finalist for the E A Redman competition and playing the Mezzo-Soprano role in the Edward Barnes opera “The Hiding Tree”.

Kira regards herself as an enthusiast who thrives in a challenge and when collaborating as part of an ensemble or company. In 2019, she worked alongside choral master, Steven Harris and conductor, Carlo Rizzi as part of RWCMD’s 70th Anniversary Opera Gala celebration. Upon moving to Cardiff, Kira also became a member of the BBC National Chorus of Wales as a choral Scholar. This provided her with a wealth of performance opportunities, such as regularly appearing live on BBC Radio Three and in televised performances as part of the London Proms in the Royal Albert Hall.

Kira is fiercely dedicated to music and believes that her life will continue to be moulded around music. She is a determined individual who has faced the odds and is aware of the hard work required to be successful. Kira believes that to be a singer is to understand the art of storytelling and she has the commitment and abilities to achieve her goals.

Kira has generously received support to study from a Peter and Janet Swinburn Scholarship, a Girdlers’ Charitable Trust Award, and the Dewar Arts Award. In 2021, Kira won the Eileen Prize Price for lieder singing and the Mabel Linwood Prize.

In May 2022, Kira played the Dutchess of Montalbano, in Lennox Berkeley’s comic opera, A Dinner Engagement. As well as this, she took part in the chorus of RWCMD’s spring production of The Marriage of Figaro in the Sherman Theatre, Cardiff. Kira was also awarded a bursary to perform in the Welsh National Youth Opera’s production of Cheryomushki in October 2022.

How the Award Helped

Kira’s Dewar Arts Award has enabled her to further her studies at the Royal Welsh College of Music and Drama, where she is pursuing a MMus degree in Performance.

Kira Charleton

“Receiving an award from the Dewar Trust has honestly been life changing. It has allowed me to complete my final year of Master’s at the Royal Welsh College of Music and Drama whilst preparing for the next step in my journey. They have allowed a small town girl to keep working towards her big dreams of changing lives through music.”

2021 Awardee: Blise Orr

Blise Orr

"Without this award, it would have been impossible for me to fulfill this ambition [of attending the Williem De Koon Academy]. The Dewar Award will enable me to develop my practice over the next two years and work on larger scales with many more people positively affected by my designs and strategies for more sustainable and considered designed environments. "

Biography

Blise completed an undergraduate degree in Interior Design at the Glasgow School of Art in 2019, before taking up a place on the Interior Architecture Masters course at the Williem De Koon Academy in Rotterdam in 2021. Blise’s practice looks at urbanism and interior architecture through the design of more sustainable and considered cities, with a focus on the spatial experiences of every day and how design can positively impact us. Working between Glasgow and Rotterdam, Blise continues to develop her practice with a new focus on climate, migration and inequality in cities. Blise has also hosted panel discussions, creating connections and contrasts between cities of similar scales across the globe and working to design better more transparent cities for all.

How the Award Helped

Blise’s Dewar Award supports her Masters studies in Interior Architecture in Rotterdam, for which she secured one of only twelve places available. This enables her to develop her practice from Interior Design into Interior Architecture and work on larger scales and focus on producing designs and strategies for more sustainable and considered design environments.

Blise Orr

"Without this award, it would have been impossible for me to fulfill this ambition [of attending the Williem De Koon Academy]. The Dewar Award will enable me to develop my practice over the next two years and work on larger scales with many more people positively affected by my designs and strategies for more sustainable and considered designed environments. "

2021 Awardee: Layla Ballard

Layla Ballard

"To receive the Dewar Arts Award has provided me with the opportunity to continue my passion of music and study the BMus Performance course at the Royal College of Music. This will allow me to continue developing my playing whilst being surrounded by other aspiring musicians - I can’t wait to get started!"

Biography

Layla is a cellist from Edinburgh, Scotland. As part of the National Youth Orchestra of Great Britain, Layla has played in high profile venues such as the Royal Albert Hall, Konzerthaus in Berlin and Queens Hall in Edinburgh, both as an orchestral player and soloist.

In 2021, she won the annual St Mary’s Music School Director’s Recital Prize Competition and was a finalist of the school’s Lord Clyde Concerto Competition. She won the Leonid Freidman Chamber Music prize as a member of the St Mary’s String Quartet in both 2020 and 2021. Layla has also played in masterclasses with Steven Isserlis, Nicolas Aldstadt, Gautier Capuçon, Leonid Gorokhov, Natasha Brofsky and Hannah Roberts.

In September 2021, she started her studies at the Royal College of Music in London under the tuition of Melissa Phelps.

How the Award Helped

Layla’s Award supports her Bachelor of Music studies at the Royal College of Music (RCM) in London.

Layla Ballard

"To receive the Dewar Arts Award has provided me with the opportunity to continue my passion of music and study the BMus Performance course at the Royal College of Music. This will allow me to continue developing my playing whilst being surrounded by other aspiring musicians - I can’t wait to get started!"