The Bridge Awards is a philanthropic venture that provides funding for the arts. This support is given in the form of annual awards and regular micro-funding opportunities. Details of current projects and future opportunities can be found on this website.
Who and what we fund
Individuals and organisations involved in the fields of literature, film, visual arts, theatre, dance and music. We also fund selected cultural heritage, conservation and community projects, both in the UK and abroad.
Emerging Writer Award 2018
After receiving an overwhelming number of entries this year, all of an extremely high standard, we are delighted to announce Liz Hyder and Hanna Randall as the joint winners of the Emerging Writer Award 2018. Both these writers wowed the judges with their novels in progress—two very different works of an equally high quality.
Each winner will receive a tailor-made package of support from Moniack Mhor, including tuition via open courses, retreat time and/or mentoring.
Liz Hyder is an experienced workshop leader and has been writing for many years. She trained with Spread the Word in London to run creative writing workshops and is currently leading Writing West Midlands’ young writers group, Spark, in Shrewsbury. She was part of Writing West Midlands Room 204 programme 2016-17, part of Channel 4 Scotland’s Pilot scheme and has run creative workshops everywhere from schools and mosques to library. She is currently developing several theatre projects. An experienced copywriter and features writer, she has won awards for her short films and is also a freelance PR consultant in the arts. A past member of the National Youth Theatre, she has a BA in Drama from the University of Bristol and is on the board of Wales Arts Review.
Liz said: ‘I am over the moon to have won and can’t wait to see what new adventures this will lead to. A thousand thanks for this amazing prize, I still can’t quite believe I’ve won!’
Liz’s winning entry, Bearmouth, is a YA thriller set in a working Victorian-esque coal mine in which intrigue, exploitation, suspicion and violence combine, threatening to destroy not just the mine but the society around it.
Hanna Randall is currently writing a novel set in 1850s Japan that uses the backdrop of a dramatically changing political climate to explore familial bonds, women’s rights, social issues, personal and societal trauma, traditional poetic landscapes and folk tales.
Hanna said: ‘I am so delighted and excited to have won, and cannot wait to start work with Moniack Mhor. The literary landscape of the Highlands is a perfect backdrop for any aspiring writer. Thank you for the belief in my prose!’
We wish them the best of luck as they embark upon the award programme and look forward to following their progress.
Applications are closed.
Emerging Artist Residency at Cove Park 2018
We’re thrilled to announce that the recipient of the 2018 Emerging Visual Artist Residency is Rhona Mühlebach.
Rhona received her first degree (a BA in Cinema) from the University of Art and Design in Lausanne, Switzerland, in 2014. She graduated from Glasgow School of Art’s Master of Fine Art course in 2017. Describing the transition in her practice from a traditionally narration-based cinema into a fine art practice of video, audio and text, she has stated that, ‘My cinema background inspires the formal choices I make in my work. Nature and science documentaries and how we discover the world through them, have been very influential… I manipulate the forms and technical traditions of TV documentaries and big-production movies in order to create uncanny versions of them.’
The Emerging Artist residency enables an emerging visual artist based in Scotland to develop new work at an important point in their career. Rhona will be part of a changing community of national and international artists specialising in a wide variety of art forms. All artists are invited to take part in a series of informal studio presentations, talks, screenings and dinners organised by Cove Park throughout the summer programme. Artists may also have the opportunity to contribute to ‘Hands-On Cove Park’, a new public educational and participatory programme of events and activities.
Rhona said: ‘During the Bridge Awards Residency at Cove Park, I will be working on a new video piece which is set in the waters of Loch Long as well as its surroundings.
I look forward to having a work and living space in the middle of nature, directly next to Loch Long. This will enable me to go back and forth from the outside to the inside, from the filming to the writing, in a very free way, without having to organise every step. It’ll give me the possibility to test ideas immediately and experiment directly without overthinking my movements.
To be given the time to concentrate exclusively on my practice and not to be distracted by my daily commitments, is be extremely valuable for me. The residency will provide me with a very dense and experimental working period that will complement my intimate working process.’
Applications are closed.
Internship with Scottish Dance Theatre
(image by Sid Scott.)
The 2018 internship with Scottish Dance Theatre was awarded to Jorja Follina. Jorja is a graduate of the dance degree course at the Scottish School of Contemporary Dance at Dundee and Angus College. The two-month-long paid internship has enabled her to gain skills and experience through developing and delivering a dance project with a social purpose. She has been supported by the company’s Producer, Technical team and Creative Learning team.
Lee Lappin, Creative Director of Scottish School of Contemporary Dance at Dundee & Angus College, described the internship as, ‘an amazing opportunity for a recent graduate to gain hands-on industry experience and skills development from leading practitioners.’
Before embarking on the project, Jorja said: ‘Through the use of mindfulness techniques, improvisation and exploration of the senses, I will be delivering a dance project focused on the benefits of movement for the body and mind. […] My aim is to create a class rooted in these ideals—a dance based movement class directed primarily at well-being, enjoyment and awareness.’
During her two-month residency, Jorja was able to explore her ideas with various community groups. This is what she had to say about the experience:
‘During my SDT/Bridge Award Internship, I developed and delivered a project called Re-Mind. I reached out to a variety of charities across Dundee and offered free movement classes aimed at enjoyment, awareness and wellbeing. The wide range of participants included adults with learning difficulties, elderly people, people who had experienced trauma or had mental health difficulties, young adults in areas affected by poverty and people from diverse ethnic backgrounds.
In addition to designing and delivering Re-Mind, my internship offered me invaluable opportunities to take part in company classes, observe rehearsals and to travel to the Latitude festival.This involved me getting to know the full office team and professional company and understanding what their work is made up of, both day to day and on tour.
In the future, as well as finding opportunities to train and perform professionally, I hope to continue the Re-Mind project and to work with more charities and organisations, as well as diversifying the practice.
The internship has offered me a fantastic platform into working professionally. I am very grateful for the opportunity and very motivated by the positive impact of the project I delivered.’
We’re delighted the internship was such a success, both for Jorja and the groups she engaged with, and we wish her all the best for her future career.
Details of how to apply for the 2019 internship will be announced later this year.
Applications are closed.
Pyromania Bursary Programme 2018
The Bridge Awards is proud to support Pyromania, a bursary programme developed by Fire Exit, the award winning theatre company set up in 2002 by artistic director David Leddy.
The bursary will enable playwrights based in Scotland to develop their skills in experimental writing. Highly-acclaimed writer and director David Leddy will mentor two playwrights over the course of a year, supporting them to develop a new script.
Andy Edwards is a Glasgow-based playwright, theatre-maker and dramaturg. He is a graduate of the University of Glasgow’s MLitt in Playwriting and Dramaturgy and former Mentored Playwright with Playwrights’ Studio Scotland. Scribble, his play about anxiety and supernovas developed during his attachment to Playwrights’ Studio, won the inaugural Assembly Roxy Theatre Award for 2017.
His work includes On The Waves Of The Air…, Telfer Gallery, GI 2018 (Dramaturg, dir. Carrie Skinner);In Burrows, Tron Theatre, Mar 2018 (Lead Artist); Y Filltir Sgwar, Bunbury Banter Theatre Company, Theatre Royal Dumfries, Sep 2017 (Playwright, dir. Ali-Anderson Dyer); Scribble, Assembly Roxy, Edinburgh Festival Fringe 2017 (Playwright dir. Amy McKenzie); Felzheit, CCA, Glasgow, Jan 2017 (Dramaturg, dir. Carrie Skinner); and Killing Time, Bedlam Theatre, Edinburgh, Aug 2012 (Playwright dir. Andy Edwards & Will Naameh).
Andy leads Talking Dramaturgy and writes for Exeunt Magazine. Publications include talking dramaturgy: a zine(2017) and In Burrows(forthcoming).
Deb Jones is a Welsh multi disciplinary theatre maker, writer and performer based in Glasgow. Her work crosses over between theatre and live art with political agency at its heart. Her ideas strive to create a radical theatre of optimism inspired by transformation and new possibilities for human connection.
Last year she completed development of Old Fruit through the New Playwrights Award with Playwrights Studio, an immersive play that challenges the oldest myth of all time in a lively re working of the Garden of Eden. A playful interrogation that problematises traditional narratives and subverts the dominant voice.
Eye Spy, a solo performance piece for Buzzcut, an eccentric journey through the eyeball exploring sight, vision and a duty of care to each others different lived realities.
Hare-um Scare-um, a gothic side show of queer hairy horror and a celebration of otherness for Village Pub Theatre and Stellar Quines.
Amy Conway: ‘Pyromania has been a professional turning point for me! Having only ever written one person shows (for myself) as part of a devising process, writing a full length two-hander from scratch was a major departure from my usual practice. The support from the programme was a unique opportunity to not only improve my playwriting skills and technique, but also to explore an experimental new idea.
David Leddy has been an incomparable mentor. He is able to impart his knowledge and writing expertise in such a way that I felt challenged yet reassured at every stage of the process. The structure of the programme has been an incredibly useful facilitator to write a new play. I especially appreciated the inclusion of a development day with actors a couple of months before the final staged readings. I feel this day was crucial in the final stages of redrafting, being a chance to hear the text and feel the piece come alive. Having the final rehearsed reading as part of a festival like Mayfesto was also a great platform to gather feedback and an incentive throughout the year to raise my game!
My learning curve during this last 12 months has been huge. I never considered myself a playwright until now, but during the bursary programme my confidence as a writer has shot up. I wouldn’t hesitate to recommend Pyromania to emerging writers who are looking to realise experimental ideas. Fire Exit are the perfect company to support theatre makers and writers in producing surprising and provocative work to the best of their ability. Long may they continue!’
Maryam Hamidi: ‘It’s not an exaggeration to state that my Pyromania experience has been transformative. On a creative level, I have felt utterly supported and engaged with. David has been a sensitive and invested mentor who has helped me grapple not only with my ideas for this particular play but also with how I write long form work and manage that all alongside being a parent to two pre-schoolers. He has helped me find really creative solutions to keeping my practice flowing alongside the very fractured nature of any writing week.
The process has really pushed me to deepen my handle of the audience navigation of my work as I have a tendency to hold back information and ithas helped me trust the healthy imperfection in any developing play. It has also given me courage to continue being bold and fearless in the kind of stories I want to tell. The experimental nature of the brief opened this up in the first instance, but sharing the work with David and the actors has allowed me to confront these themes head on. Having a table read day prior to the rehearsed reading development day was a hugely valuable part of the process and far more useful than two days back to back. I have been buoyed by the audience feedback and this is all testament to David’s detailed criticism and encouragement. I am excited to see what I can do next with this play and also how it informs my next play.’
Pyromania will reopen for applications in 2019.
Little Sparta Residency
We are immensely proud to be supporting an artist’s residency at Little Sparta, the former home of artist Ian Hamilton Finlay and the site of the internationally acclaimed garden he created. This award is a successor to the Sharing Little Sparta project that ran in 2016 & 2017. With these residencies, The Little Sparta Trust aims to improve and enhance access to Little Sparta for both artists and the public.
The 2018 residency has been awarded to Glasgow-based artist and writer John Farrell. Farrell’s work utilises photography, text, video, found/archival imagery and sound and often begins as a response to a specific historical or cultural signifier. He has exhibited internationally and throughout Scotland since graduating from the Glasgow School of Art in 2015.
Most recently he has been working on ‘Traces and Edges’, a new long-term investigation of the former Ravenscraig Steelworks, which culminated in the exhibition ‘Coal, Steel and Earth’ at Summerlee Museum in 2018.
John says: ‘The notion of language as a form of ‘landscape’ has interested me for some time. When I was given the opportunity to undertake a residency at Little Sparta the phrase seemed an obvious mission statement for my intentions during my time at the garden. I have had an affinity with Finlay’s work for a long time and I am excited to be given the opportunity to spend time within the garden and experience the ‘physical’ aspect of language as landscape within Little Sparta. I am also very keen to spend time within Finlay’s library and to visit other collections of his written and printed work. In keeping with the spirit of Finlay himself, it is my intention to work collaboratively with other artists and makers on a small artist book. The opportunity to experience and further research this aspect of Finlay’s practice within the garden and through his printed works is of tremendous interest to me.
I am very grateful to the board of Trustees and the Bridge Awards for making this opportunity possible.’
08 Jul 2018
Mike Middleton: Wulfgar The Bard.
We are delighted to be supporting Mike Middleton, a.k.a. Wulfgar The Bard. Mike is an archaeologist working with Scotland’s national heritage service, Historic Environment Scotland. He is also an artist working on a personal creative project called, ‘The Chronicle of Mercia’, which imagines how current events in US politics might have been recorded if they had taken place in early medieval Britain. This satirical work sees Donald Trump transformed into king Donald-the-Unready, America into Mercia and North Korea into North Kent. Mike, using his early medieval alter-ego, Wulfgar the Bard, produces regular panels and posts these to the modern chronicle equivalent, a thread on Twitter. He uses his knowledge of the early medieval period as a palette to highlight the many injustices, contradictions and abuses of Trump era policy. In the words of the Canadian archaeologist Doug Bailey, Mike, “sees archaeology and art as a political tool for disrupting the politically loaded narratives of the [present]”. He peppers his images with both current and period references. His long term-aim, which we are delighted to be supporting, is to create a lasting record – a physical artwork, in the form of a linen scroll, that records the actions of the Trump administration and holds them accountable for posterity.
Earlier work in this style includes, The Beowulf Scroll, a reworking of the earliest recorded text written in Old English.
You can find Mike on Twitter and Facebook at @Wulfgar The Bard
04 May 2018
Our Journey So Far
As The Bridge Awards enters its fourth year, we wanted to take stock of the fantastic projects we’ve been involved with and to look forward to 2018 and beyond.
We started the Bridge Awards because we believe micro-funding for the arts works. A relatively small amount of money can create significant opportunities. We wanted to help artists from all disciplines to further their artistic career and to realise their visions. We also wanted to support community projects that promote social inclusion.
Several organisations have been vital to the creation and development of The Bridge Awards. In 2012, shortly after the idea for our project was conceived, we did a Concept Workshop at Chelsea Apps Factory. CAF is an industry leader in mobile and digital enablement for enterprise, and the day we spent with the team there helped us turn our fledgling idea into a reality. CAF were invaluable in helping us get The Bridge Awards up and running, as were the team at Luminous Creative. At the end of 2017 we took part in a development day with Muriel Ponsolle of Galata Consulting. The workshop was a great chance for us to consolidate our core beliefs and our future goals.
The Emerging Writer Award, developed in association with Moniack Mhor was the first of our larger awards to be established. This award provides the winning writer with a year-long programme of tutored courses, retreat time and mentoring. Now in its fourth year, this award has received hundreds of entries from all over the U.K. Our 2015 winner, Vicky MacKenzie received mentoring from Janice Galloway and went on to win a Scottish Book Trust New Writer Award. Her novel Brantwood was shortlisted for the Lucy Cavendish Award. Heather Parry, who won the 2016 award and was mentored by Jenni Fagan, went on to secure the 2017 Emerging Scottish Writer Residency at Cove Park. The 2017 winner, Rue Baldry, is mid-programme and has just begun a mentoring process with leading literary agent Jenny Brown.
We have also worked with Cove Park to set up a month-long residency for an emerging visual artist based in Scotland. This award is now entering its third year and has also received hundreds of applications. The awardee gets to spend a month in the beautiful surroundings of Cove Park, developing new work and mixing with international artists from all disciplines. Sarah Wright, a Glasgow based artist who focuses on printmaking, collage and assemblage, received the award in 2016. She has since gone on to exhibit at the Kate Werble gallery in New York as well as Glasgow Print Studio. The 2017 awardee was Florrie James, a painter and film-maker from Glasgow. Florrie was able to use her month making a rough-cut of 4 Day Weekend Underground, an experimental film which has since been selected for the Glasgow International Festival 2018
It has also been a pleasure to contribute funding towards Cove Park’s Hands-On project, a community initiative that enables people from the local Argyll & Bute area to access arts activities.
We began our involvement with theatre by funding Change My Mind, a two-year performance research project by Unfinished Business, an experimental performance company based in London. Change my Mind invited participants to explore their capacity for change and its impact on their wellbeing.
In 2017 we began a three-year programme of support for Pyromania, a bursary programme developed by David Leddy and Fire Exit. The bursary gives two mid-career playwrights the chance to develop their skills in experimental writing for the theatre. In 2017, theatre-makers Amy Conway and Maryam Hamidi received bursaries and the 2018 winners will soon be announced.
We have always wanted to champion contemporary dance, and in 2017 we met with Scottish Dance Theatre to discuss creating an award with them. Inspired by the enthusiasm of all the staff involved, and by the vision of artistic director Fleur Darkin, it was decided to develop an internship for a graduate of the Scottish School of Contemporary Dance. This opportunity will enable a graduate not just to work alongside more experienced dancers but also to deliver a dance project with a social purpose.
In 2017 we funded Echoes of The City, an innovative literary project created by Dr Miriam Johnson. The project took the work of fifteen shortlisted authors and placed it at various locations in Edinburgh using a geo-locational podcasting app. As part of the development process, Miriam spent a research day at Chelsea Apps Factory, taking advice from the team there about the best way to approach her project.
As well as setting up our main awards, we also funded some smaller opportunities. In 2016, we offered a manuscript appraisal with the award-winning novelist Lesley Glaister and a screenplay appraisal with screenwriter and producer, Douglas Dougan. We helped Paul Robertson of Lust and the Apple to take six emerging Scottish artists to exhibit their work at the Sculpture Gym in Philadelphia, and we were proud to support the artist Marie Piselli with her exhibition HOP..E in Draguignan in 2016.
We have also been building a portfolio of community projects. In 2016, we began our involvement with Do It Outdoors, an outdoor activities business run by Ian MacFarlane. We contributed towards the purchase of a large teepee to be used for workshop and community events, and in 2017 we supported a day long outdoor workshop for OWLS, the OneStop Women’s Learning Service based in Perth. Future plans with Do It Outdoors include a forest regeneration programme that will invite school and community groups to plant trees in the Perthshire area.
Since 2016, we have supported artist and alternative therapist Fiona Gardiner to run a yearly art project at Saheliya, a specialist mental health organisation for BAME women and refugee, asylum seeker and migrant women. This has proven to be a great success and will run again in 2018.
Our latest community venture is to support the wonderful Grass Boots Football Club from South Africa. Based in Cape Town, this club brings together children and teenagers of many different races, religions and backgrounds and is an inspiring example of inclusion and positivity.
In 2018, we look forward to continuing with our existing projects and to starting new ones. 2018 will be the first year of our association with Scottish Dance Theatre and we are also supporting a month-long artist’s residency at Little Sparta, the former home of renowned Scottish artist Ian Hamilton Finlay. We are proud to be supporting Vagabond Press as they promote the publication of Three Kinds of Kissing, the wonderful novel by the late Helen Lamb. Most of all, we’re excited to find new ways to make micro-funding work for the artists and organisations that need it, and we look forward to doing so for years to come.
Further details of projects past and present can be found here on our website.
12 Feb 2018
The Grass Boots Football Club
The Bridge Awards are proud to continue supporting The Grass Boots Football Club, a community football project in South Africa.
Founded by Stuart Diamond, The Grass Boots Football Club has been operating out of the Cape Town City Bowl for the past eight years. It is the only Cape Town Tygerberg Football Association registered team in the area and caters to ages from Under 7s through to Seniors. The club has now also grown to offer a Tiny Tots programme for kids under six that focuses on physical health. Stuart told us that, ‘the Bridge Awards funding really assists us in creating long lasting dreams that become realities for youth facing tough times.’
The club’s main objectives are to arrange association football matches and training sessions, as well as to provide outreach work, youth development and social events for its members. As a result of the club’s work, youth have been selected for academy teams, achieved better school results and played a positive role in the community. On the field, the club continues to achieve positive results with the U14A team winning the knockout cup in 2017.
The Club is very diverse, bringing together players from many different religions, colours, ages and abilities. Their pre-match preparation includes sharing prayers together from all different faiths, as can be seen in this footage here.
Grass Boots has recently been invited to send a team to a football tournament in Cologne, Germany. The club is now raising funds to send 15-18 players to Cologne for the 5 day event. This could be a life-changing experience for all the kids involved, especially those who have never had a chance to leave Cape Town and experience a different culture. More information about this tournament and the fundraising efforts to make it a reality can be found here.
16 Nov 2017
Arts and Business Scotland
Cultural Enterprise Office
Edinburgh City of Literature
Edinburgh College of Art
Glasgow Visual Arts and Craft Award Scheme
Lust and the Apple
Playwrights’ Studio Scotland
Scottish Book Trust
Scottish Film Talent Network
Scottish Poetry Library
Skriva Writing School
The Creative Retreat Scotland
The WoMentoring Project
Wellcome Trust Arts Awards
If you would like to contribute your expertise or make a donation to help us develop more micro-funding opportunities, please contact us at:
Do not use this contact form to apply for awards or submit direct requests for funding.