Historic Environment Scotland On The Search For Artist Collective To Work In Kirkcudbright

Historic Environment Scotland (HES) is looking to commission an artist or artist collective based in Dumfries and Galloway with a focus in socially engaged practice and either digital technologies or traditional arts/crafts to work with local communities to respond to the beautiful site of MacLellan’s Castle in Kirkcudbright.

There is a total budget of £10,000 available.
The deadline for submissions is 9am on 26 th June 2023.

Creative brief:
We would like the residency to explore how the arts can help us find new ways to connect to historic sites, whilst also helping to build a more positive relationship between the castle and the community.

Located in Kirkcudbright, MacLellan’s Castle was built by Sir Thomas MacLellan in the 16th
century and is a large castellated townhouse in the centre of the town. Unfortunately, with
concerns around the safety of the site, the Castle has been closed to visitors for a number of years. This has created considerable tension between HES and the local community.
Community engagement work with local communities, carried out through the Stove
Network, has identified digital technology and traditional arts and craft as the areas that the community wish to be explored. Ongoing engagement and co-production with the community are a key priority for us, with a particular interest in maintaining relationships withKirkcudbright Academy and Kirkcudbright Youth Group. The community engagement report is available to any applicant and will be provided to the successful artist(s) as a starting point for their response.

Although there is likely to be limited physical access to the castle, currently surrounded by
heras fencing, the artist should use the castle and its place in the community as a source of
inspiration. There is limited access to the grounds and staff on site between April and

Date: The deadline for submissions is 9am on 26 th June 2023 with the expectation that

commissions would engage with some or all of the Arts & Crafts trail on 4-7 th August, the

Kirkcudbright Fringe on 1st -3 rd September, and the Festival of Light on 5th -7 th October 2023.

Budget: The total budget for this commission is £10k including VAT. The budget must cover
all artists fees, travel and subsistence, and materials.

To be eligible you should:


• be based in or from Dumfries and Galloway
• demonstrate a genuine commitment to socially engaged practice
• be experienced of working either in digital technology or traditional arts/crafts

An invited panel, in conjunction with HES, will select the successful candidate.
Applications can be written or recorded by must include the following:
• A short project proposal that details your artistic approach and experience, including
working with communities, and how this would benefit your practice.
• Your contact info
• One reference
• Visual examples of previous work
Applications to be submitted to:
Claire Whitbread, Exhibitions Manager, Historic Environment Scotland,
[email protected]

About Historic Environment Scotland (HES)
Historic Environment Scotland is the lead public body established to investigate, care for and promote Scotland’s historic environment. Its mission is to make sure Scotland’s heritage is cherished, understood, shared and enjoyed with pride by everyone and through enhancing knowledge and understanding of Scotland’s cultural heritage, it aims to protect and conserve it, both now and for future generations.

Historic Environment Scotland is responsible for heritage found in objects, places and sites spanning centuries and includes more than 300 properties of national importance which together attract 5 million visitors each year. It connects people with place and with traditions, stories and memories linked to those places and objects. The fabric and purpose of each object, building or place tells us about past lives and contributes to Scotland’s sense of place and cultural identity. Historic Environment Scotland also invests £14 million a year in national and local organisations, supporting building repairs, ancient monuments, archaeological work, the Conservation Area Regenerations Scheme and the voluntary sector.

A short history of MacLellan’s Castle

The Castle is situated on the sites of a former Greyfriars monastery and was completed in around 1580 for Sir Thomas MacLellan of Bombie, provost of Kirkcudbright. The tower house is an unusual surviving example of a castellated mansion built inside a town. Sir Thomas’s son Robert, 1st Lord Kirkcudbright, died in debt in 1639, probably through his involvement in James VI’s Ulster Plantation scheme, while the MacLellans’ social, economic and political capital was effectively exhausted by their efforts in the Civil War of the 1640s. By the time it was sold to the Maxwells in 1752 it was

already in a state of disrepair and was sold on to the Earl of Selkirk in 1782. The property was never repaired and went into state care in 1912.

The formal interpretation of the site focuses on the MacLellan family and the architectural
significance of the site, but being located so centrally in the town of Kirkcudbright it has associations with a rich social history including witch trials and Black Morrow, a 15th century Scottish outlaw.


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