Awardee success at the Scots Trad Music Awards

The Scots Trad Music Awards celebrate the scope and scale of Scotland’s traditional music talent, with Dewar Awardees featuring in the winners’ list.

The 20th annual MG Alba Scots Trad Music Awards took place at the Caird Hall in Dundee on Sunday 4th December 2022. Organised by Hands Up for Trad, the awards celebrate the scope and scale of Scotland’s traditional music talent, and we were delighted to see Dewar Awardees featured in the winners’ list!

Composer of the Year – Heal and Harrow

The Composers of the Year award went to Rachel Newton and 2006 Dewar Awardee Lauren MacColl for Heal & Harrow, a project inspired by the Scottish witch trials in the 16th and 17th centuries. The project pays a humanising tribute to the women persecuted for witchcraft, exploring historical beliefs in the supernatural and modern day parallels in our society.

Read Lauren MacColl’s Awardee profile here

Folk Band of the Year – Breabach

Formed in 2005, Breabach are now securely ranked among Scotland’s most skilled and imaginative contemporary folk acts. The band features the talents of 2007 Dewar Awardee Calum MacCrimmon on Highland Bagpipe, whistle, bouzouki and vocals. 2022 saw the release of their latest album Fàs, which was heavily inspired by the natural environment of Scotland.

Read Calum MacCrimmon’s Awardee Profile here

Visit the Hands Up for Trad website to view a full list of winners

Interview with Sarah Rogers, Rojhe Design

We spoke to jewellery designer and maker Sarah Rogers about how a Dewar Arts Award will support the development of her work.

The Trustees of the Dewar Arts Awards are delighted to announce that we have a new £90,000 fund to support ambitious, talented young people across Scotland who have a passion for traditional rural and craft skills.

Sarah Rogers, a jewellery designer and maker, is the first recipient of an award from this funding stream. We spoke to Sarah to find out more about how her Dewar Arts Award will support her work.


To find out more about Sarah’s work, visit her website at You can also follow her on Instagram and Facebook.

To find out more about our new funding stream, read the news article here: New funds to support talented young people across Scotland

Blog from Jill Miller

Jill Miller, Chair of the Dewar Arts Awards, discusses our new funding stream.

Having recently stepped into the role as Chair of the Dewar Arts Awards, the responsibility for ensuring that we invest our funds with those who truly need us has never been more pressing.

After two years of a pandemic and the ever-increasing price of food and energy (in fact everything we need in our daily lives), we’re even more focused on connecting with talented young people who need funds to be able to pursue or develop their talent – across any art form.

And now, thanks to the support of the William Grant Foundation, we have additional resources to invest for the next three years. We want to use these funds to extend the work we do to support young people from across Scotland who have a passion and talent in the arts and in related craft areas.

So, if you know someone who is pursuing a specialist craft skill in leather work, glassmaking, jewellery, textiles, wood, stone, instrument making… please connect them with us via

Our application process is simple – visit our Apply page for further guidance and to submit your application. If you require further please contact:

Read the news article: New funds to support talented young people across Scotland

New funds to support talented young people across Scotland

The £90,000 fund will enable the Trustees to broaden the scope of their work.

As the Dewar Arts Awards enter their 21st year, the Trustees are delighted to announce that we have a new £90,000 fund to support ambitious, talented young people across Scotland, thanks to support from the William Grant Foundation.

The new fund, to be invested over a 3-year period, will enable the Trustees to broaden the scope of their work. Trustees are keen to receive applications from young people who have a passion for developing their talent or skills across a broad range of interests including:

  • craft skills – supporting training to work with stone, textiles, wood, leather, metals, glass
  • traditional rural skills – you may need help with training / materials / equipment


  • you may need help to fund classes or courses that will help you to develop your talent across any art form

The Trustees are committed to inclusion and diversity and are keen to hear from young people of all backgrounds including those who may be care experienced or from under-represented communities.

Applying is easy – find out more and submit your application via our Apply page. However, if you feel you need help you can always contact us at for further information and support.

The fund is open now and we look forward to hearing from you!

Visit our application page to read further guidance and submit your application.

Jen Hadfield nominated for the Highland Book Prize 2021

The 2007 Dewar Arts Awardee is one of four writers on the shortlist

Dewar Awardee Jen Hadfield has been shortlisted for the Highland Book Prize 2021 for her poetry collection ‘The Stone Age’. Based in Shetland, Jen is a poet and visual artist who has been described as “one of the brightest and most talented poets of her generation working in Britain”.

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’.

The following year, Jen published her second collection of poetry, also called ‘Nigh-No-Place’, inspired by her travels in Shetland and Canada. The collection went on to win the T S Eliot Prize for Poetry in 2008, making Hadfield the youngest female winner of the prize. In his role as chair of the prize, Andrew Motion said that ‘Nigh-No-Place’ showed ‘[Hadfield] is a remarkably original poet near the beginning of what is obviously going to be a distinguished career”. His words were proven correct, as Jen went on to win the Edwin Morgan Poetry Prize in 2012, and in 2014, she was selected as one of the Poetry Book Society’s “Next Generation Poets”.

Jen’s most recent poetry collection, ‘The Stone Age’, was released by Picador in March 2021, and has been described by her publisher as ‘an astonished beholding of the wild landscape of her Shetland home’. The collection has now been shortlisted for the Highland Book Prize 2021. Established in 2017, the Highland Book Prize celebrates work that recognises the rich culture, heritage and landscape of the Highlands. Kapka Kassabova, serving on the judging panel for the Highland Book Prize, said of ‘The Stone Age’: ‘In a pantheistic journey of Shetland, Hadfield converses with her environment. The human and more-than-human worlds are perceived to be a seamless whole, and every rock has a voice. This book is a literary, environmental, and spiritual adventure.’

Congratulations Jen – we wish you all the best in the final!

The winning title will be announced at an award ceremony on Thursday 26th May.

Visit the Highland Book Prize website to find out more

Read Jen’s Awardee Profile

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

Elaine Woo MacGregor shortlisted for Jackson’s Painting Prize 2022

The 2008 Awardee has made the final 42 from 8948 entries

Dewar Awardee Elaine Woo MacGregor has been shortlisted for the Jackson’s Painting Prize 2022 for her painting ‘Portrait of Nan Shepherd: Camping by the Wells of Dee’, making the final 42 from 8948 entries.

Born in Edinburgh and brought up by her traditional Chinese parents, Elaine moved to Glasgow at the age of 18 to study Fine Art at the Glasgow School of Art. She received a Dewar Award in 2008, which supported a Partial Fellowship Artist Residency in the Vermont Studio Center, Johnson in Vermont. Elaine told us that the Award gave her ‘an exciting opportunity to work in a creative environment within the unique New England setting’ and opened up ‘new directions’ for her practice. In 2012, Elaine’s work was displayed as part of Roots to Shoots, an exhibition celebrating ten years of Dewar Arts Awards in the visual and applied arts. Elaine is now based in Linlithgow and works as an Art Tutor at the University of Strathclyde’s Centre for Lifelong Learning.

The Jackson’s Painting Prize exists to champion exceptional artworks made by international artists at all points in their careers, with tailored prizes that aim to give successful applicants the exposure and resources to support them in their practice. Elaine’s painting ‘Portrait of Nan Shepherd: Camping by the Wells of Dee’, has made the final 42 from 8948 entries to the competition.

In an interview with the Edinburgh Evening News, Elaine said “The painting was inspired by passages in the book ‘The Living Mountain’ and the life of Nan Shepherd. I was interested in finding out about individual writers’ demeanour and habits, as well as sense of place, and how this shaped their identity and the themes in their work.”

“With the break due to the pandemic, I reflected on what it means to be a creative during these times, our relationships with natural and urban environments and our sense of ‘self’.”

Congratulations Elaine – we are proud to have been part of your journey and wish you all the best in the final! The winner of the Prize will be announced on Wednesday 13 April 2022.

Read Elaine’s Awardee Profile

Read Elaine’s Interview with the Edinburgh Evening News

Dewar Awardees at Celtic Connections 2022

We’re delighted to see Dewar Awardees featured in the programme for Celtic Connections 2022, Glasgow’s annual celebration of folk, roots and world music.

Celtic Connections, Glasgow’s annual celebration of folk, roots and world music, returns from 20 January – 6 February 2022. The festival will see over 2,100 musicians from around the world bring the city to life for 18 days, and we’re delighted to see that the programme features many Dewar Awardees. Here’s a round-up…

Violinist and composer Catriona Price will release her debut album, Hert, and perform a launch concert as part of the festival. Initially inspired by George Mackay Brown’s iconic poetry, Hert (Orcadian Scots for ‘heart’) is a folk, jazz, classical and pop-infused suite in eight movements for vocal trio, string quartet, jazz trio, harp and flute. She is also performing at the festival as a member of the band Fara.

Lauren MacColl will perform new work Heal & Harrow at the festival. A collaboration with Rachel Newton, the two award-winning musicians will interweave instrumental and vocal music with spoken word and visual projections to explore the Scottish witch trials’ cultural and political context, as well as modern-day parallels.

Steven Blake will perform with his band RURA, who are known for their electrifying mash-up of pipes, flute, bodhran and guitar. The concert will feature a premiere of music from their upcoming release, a unique collaborative EP with four folk music luminaries.

Louis Abbott is performing as part of the Roaming Roots Revue, 10th anniversary concert, which will showcase contemporary artists’ dynamic dialogue with iconic forebearers.

Calum MacCrimmon is a member of the band Breabach and they will present a live premiere of their new work Dùsgadh at the festival. Produced in collaboration with BAFTA-winning animator Cat Bruce, Dùsgadh is an animation inspired by a folk tale of the sea maiden, set to new music by the band.

Double bassist Duncan Lyall will be performing in Ross Couper’s New Voices concert.

Hamish Napier is performing ‘Nae Plans’ with long term collaborator, Adam Sutherland. Distilling the essence of a traditional session, Nae Plans gigs involve no set-list – the pair simply sit down together, take a deep breath, and go where the music takes them.

Nuala Kennedy is performing as part of Irish music trio, The Alt, who combine flute, whistle, guitars, bouzoukis and three lead vocals in magically harmonious renderings of favourite songs and tunes.

Jenna Reid will be performing with Harris Playfair as part of Shetland 550, Celtic Connections’ anniversary concert series celebrating the distinctive culture of the islands.


Success for Music Awardees

New releases, rave reviews and Artists of the Year

It has been an exciting time for music, with a number of Awardees achieving particular success with a range of projects. Here’s a round-up…

Calum Huggan's Album Cover

Calum Huggan signed to award-winning record label Delphian in 2020, and on 27th August 2021 he releases his debut album – American Music for Marimba. Calum brings his classical, rock and jazz influences to the Western canon in a uniquely expressive way.  Composer Ivan Trevino praises Calum for his ability to let the pieces “speak their truth, quietly and clearly”. Read more below.

Calum’s Awardee Profile


Sean Shibe with Guitar

Image: Iga Gozdowsk

Sean Shibe‘s latest album – Camino – is receiving five star reviews in the press.  Featuring a repertoire of Spanish and French classical guitar music, Sean’s playing is described as beautiful and introspective.  Read more below.

The Guardian ***** – ‘Spellbinding and intimate’
Read Review

The Times ***** – ‘Exquisite and tender’
Read Review

Sean’s Awardee Profile


Màiri Chaimbeul has performed a prestigious session for The Scotsman. Born in Skye and now living in North America, Màiri received an Award back in 2009 to help her buy a pedal hard. She has since been nominated for the BBC Radio 2 Young Folk Award twice, has been a finalist in the BBC Young Traditional & Jazz Musicians of the Year, and is now a graduate of the Berklee College of Music (which she attended with full scholarship).  For her Scotsman Session recording, she performed Gaelic-inspired music from North America. Watch her performance above and read more below.

Scotsman Session Page

Màiri’s Awardee Page


BAFTA Finalist Banner

In 2019, Joseph Stevenson was one of only 8 applicants to gain a place to study on the Composing for Film and TV course at the National Film and Television School in London. In 2021, his compositions appeared in the animated short film ‘Night of the Living Dread’.  This film has now been nominated as a finalist for the BAFTA Los Angeles Student Film Award.  Find out more below.

BAFTA Los Angeles

Joseph’s Awardee Profile


Cross Trust Artists of the Year

Three Dewar Arts Awardees were named Cross Trust Artists of the Year.  Lauren McQuistin (soprano voice), Neil Birse (jazz piano) and Hugh Mackay (cello)  performed as part of the Perth Festival in July – a welcome return to live music after the long hiatus of the Covid-19 pandemic. Read more about each of the musicians and their performances below.

Cross Trust Artists of the Year

Cross Trust Artists of the Year at Perth Music Festival



Awardees Create a Play in BSL with Deaf School Students

Petre Dobre and Jack Nurse delivered the project with Wonder Fools theatre company  and the RCS

We were delighted to hear about the success of Awardees Petre Dobre and Jack Nurse, who teamed up to work with a group of deaf students at St Roch’s Secondary School in Glasgow.

Petre is a deaf actor who was appointed as Scotland’s first ever BSL Director Trainee in 2018 at Macrobert Arts Centre.  He teamed up with Jack, who runs the theatre company Wonder Fools, to deliver the project on behalf of the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland.  They focused on the play The Pack by Stef Smith, making it accessible for deaf audiences by transforming it into British Sign Language.

The team worked together for seven hours a day over five days to complete the project, then performed to their peers in the first school production since the outbreak of the coronavirus pandemic.  Parents and carers were unable to attend the performances due to Covid-19 restrictions, however they will still get to enjoy the show.  There is a documentary of the project and performance in production, which the school will host at a special screening with popcorn and treats.

The project was featured in the Glasgow Times.  Read more in their article.

We are proud of Petre and Jack for their work in making theatre more accessible and inclusive.

Dance on Film – Update from Awardee Jennifer Bruce

Awardee Jennifer Bruce recently wrote to us, updating us on an achievement she is proud of. 

Jennifer received a Dewar Arts Award in 2019, to support her studies in musical theatre at Bird College in South East London.  This was her dream place to study, and her award helped her to get there.

Jennifer was excited to tell us about a competition she took part in, exploring dance on film;

“This last term at college, a choreographic competition was set at Bird College…The task was to create movement and film it, thinking about your artistic choices as a director, choreographer and artist.”

Using Amanda Gorman’s poem ‘The Hill We Climb’, Jennifer chose parts of the poem that inspired and resonated with her;

“This was something I really wanted to do as I love capturing dance on film, and wanted to develop myself as an artist who can discover and delve into multiple disciplines within the art form. It felt amazing to get creative during this difficult present climate.”

Jennifer explained that her training had been quite challenging since the start of the year, as since January she unexpectedly had to study online and stay home in Scotland. However, she didn’t let this hold her back;

“Using my iPhone, free editing software and a cold hill at home, I managed to make a piece of work I was really proud of.”

Participants submitted their videos to be judged externally.  The top 10 entries were selected by international company Alleyne Dance. They were then judged by Mark Smith – the founder and director of Deaf Men Dancing – and Stephen Mear CBE – a choreographer and director of musical theatre shows including Mary Poppins.

“I am over the moon to say my piece was selected in 3rd place.  It was truly an honour to have people of such high calibre watch my work. I am proud of myself as it really was something I wanted to do for me and for my love of dance.”

Jennifer added;

“I also wanted to thank the Dewar Awards especially for their continued support in my training…it is a great help in my journey towards the pathway to my goals.”

Congratulations Jennifer!

// Watch Jennifer’s video below
// Read more on her Awardee Profile.

Jennifer Bruce – The Hill We Climb