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
Applications are now open for the Emerging Writer Award 2018.
This award, run in partnership with Moniack Mhor, is open to all emerging writers living and working in the U.K. and is designed to help the winner make a significant breakthrough with a full-length piece of work.
The winner will receive a tailor-made package of support, including tuition via open courses, retreat time and/or mentoring.
The winner of the 2017 award was Rue Baldry . Having been raised in Essex and Dar Es Salaam, Rue is now a mother of five living in York, England. She has a BA in English Literature from the University of York and an MA in Creative Writing from Leeds University. Her short stories have appeared in Mslexia, The Broken City, The Honest Ulsterman and on the Reader Berlin online showcase.
Rue’s winning entry was an extract from the work-in-progress novel Uncle Raymond, which tells the life story of an ex-alcoholic trans woman stage magician, now working as a children’s entertainer, recollected as she performs at a party on the Saturday after the EU referendum.
Rue had this to say: ‘I’m incredibly pleased and proud to have won this award, both because of the tremendous opportunities offered by the prize, which will be hugely helpful to me in getting this novel completed, but also because of the recognition. Having prestigious, knowledgeable people like those at The Bridge Awards and Moniack Mhor telling me that my writing is worthwhile, and worth supporting, helps me to assure myself that it really is.’
Read about Rue’s recent week-long retreat at Moniack Mhor here
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.)
We are delighted to announce that Jorja Follina has been awarded the 2018 internship with Scottish Dance Theatre.
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 will enable her to gain skills and experience through developing and delivering a dance project with a social purpose. She will be supported by the company’s Producer, Technical team and Creative Learning team.
Jorja said: ‘Through being introduced to and working extensively in inclusive practices, community projects and open classes, my view of dance has significantly broadened. Understanding the power and influence of performance as well as the importance of participation and inclusion, I am extremely motivated to share practices and continue to learn and develop, and the internship will be a perfect opportunity to start on this journey.’
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.’
Dawn Hartley, head of the Creative Learning Team said, ‘We are looking forward to supporting Jorja’s further development as she embarks on her interesting project in Dundee.’
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.’
Details of how to apply for the 2019 internship will be announced later this year.
Applications are closed.
Pyromania Bursary Programme 2017
The Bridge Awards is proud to support Pyromania, a new 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.
The recipients of the 2017 bursaries are Amy Conway and Maryam Hamidi.
Amy Conway is a theatre maker and performer based in Glasgow. She trained at the University of Glasgow and the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland.
In the past 18 months, I-Happy-I-Good, her immersive one-to-one performance about deafblindness, toured to On The Verge, Liverpool in associaton with Conflux. 30:60:80, a verbatim show exploring maternal histories and intergenerational difference, toured Scottish theatres with support from Creative Scotland. Super Awesome World, an interactive show that invites the audience to become Amy’s fellow adventurers in her quest for good mental health, completed a second stage of development with support from the Tron and Platform, culminating in a work-in-progress performance at the Scottish Mental Health Arts and Film Festival. Super Awesome World will premiere at the Edinburgh Fringe 2017. Amy has just finished working with Catherine Wheels Theatre Company supported by a Federation of Scottish Theatre Assistant Director Bursary. She assisted Gill Robertson on Pondlife and Bed, a new development with National Theatre Scotland.
Maryam Hamidi trained as an actor at Queen Margaret University College and for over 10 years she has followed a multidisciplinary path as a writer, director and actor on stage, screen and radio.
As an actor she has worked with the National Theatre of Scotland, 7:84, Tron Theatre, The Paper Birds and BBC Scotland, to name a few. She is an associate of A Moment’s Peace Theatre company with whom she co-created the Amnesty Award nominated The Chronicles of Irania. Most recently, her play The Builders has had readings at Tron Theatre and Theatre 503 and she was awarded a TronLab bursary to develop Archaeology, a simulated archaeological dig unearthing the otherness of the diasporic experience. She is also in post-production with her first short film as Writer/Director, Bloody Love, funded through the SFTN 5@Five scheme.
Maryam co-founded Boost, a grassroots iniative to promote ethnically diverse voices across the stage and screen industries.
Pyromania will reopen for applications in 2018.
More information about Pyromania and Fire Exit can be found here
Applications are closed.
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 launch a new award in association with 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 the Bridge Awards that the club’s main objectives have been 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.
Stuart said: ‘The players have a passion for football and try to match their performance on the field with their integrity off it.’
This Bridge Award for an International Community Project will assist the club to provide players with trainers, playing kit and to initiate a nutritional education programme. The club also hopes to start a tutorial scheme to help players with other aspects of general education.
16 Nov 2017
Community workshop by Do It Outdoors.
This summer, The Bridge Awards were delighted to fund a workshop in outdoor skills and bushcraft for the women attending OWLS—the Onestop Women’s Learning service in Perth. OWLS provides a safe, welcoming space for women who have been referred through the Community Justice System.
‘Our workshop took place on a beautiful summer’s day. Before we got on with the activties, I introduced the ladies to the camp. The composting toilet inspired both laughter and heated discussion—one participant thought it a great idea, another made it very clear she had no intention of using it!
Once we were all familiar with the camp, I took the group into the nearby woods. During our walk, we had fun identifying some useful healing plants such as elder leaf, which we rubbed on our faces to ward off the midges. We also picked common sorrel, which can be used as an addition to salad. I explained that sorrel has also been used in the treatment of spasms and skin ailments. Pineapple weed was another plant we came across—it has lovely tasting flower heads and can be used as a calmative when steeped in hot water.
We carried some supplies of wood back to the camp, where the group agreed coffee was an imperative. A flurry of activity ensued—chopping and sawing wood. I then showed the women how to use fire steels, which they quickly grasped and we soon had a fire going.
The next stage of the process was a surprise to the participants. I handed them green beans, which they had to roast over the fire in a sieve. Having done that, they ground the coffee beans in a pestle and mortar before finally putting the ground mixture into a cafetiere. We enjoyed the coffee with a biscuit around the fire, the birch trees swaying above.
Coffee break over, the group then had a bake-off, each member attempting to create the best bannock bread. We finished up by making shelters, weaving together hazel and birch branches to make the frames and then padding these out with bracken and other foliage to create waterproof roofs. Not an easy task but the women tackled it well.
All in all, a really successful day and a good time had by all. It was a pleasure to have the women at the camp and to share my knowledge of the outdoors with them.’
Lucy Mulvenna, the OWLS co-ordinator, gave this feedback:
‘I would like to say a huge thank you on behalf of the women that attended the workshop. They all had an amazing experience and thoroughly enjoyed the fun, educational experience. They were astounded with Ian’s expertise and knowledge of nature at its best.
OWLS aims to encompass learning and social acceptance as part of our service for women in the Perthshire area, and I have to say you allowed us to practise this first hand.’
10 Sep 2017
Hands-On Cove Park
The Bridge Awards are proud to support Hands-On Cove Park, a programme of creative events, workshops and talks for people in Argyll & Bute led by current and former residents of Cove Park, Scotland’s international artists residency centre.
Helen Voce, the Hands-On Programme Producer at Cove Park, had this to say about Pier to Pier, a recent Hands-On project:
‘Pier to Pier, a partnership project, mobilised young people in three areas of Argyll & Bute through and to a variety of quality creative experiences. The Bridge Awards’ support of Hands-On enables artist-led creative excursions for young people in the vicinity of Cove Park and thus made Pier to Pier possible.
Circling the Firth of Clyde, at the southern reaches of Argyll & Bute, are three of Scotland’s arts and cultural centres – Cove Park, Dunoon Burgh Hall and Rothesay Pavilion. Goings on at Cove Park can be very different and distant to those at Dunoon Burgh Hall, which in turn are different again from Rothesay Pavilion. And so on.
All former partners in Argyll Youth Arts, the venues are committed to providing opportunities for children and young people in our local and regional community to engage in, explore and develop their creative, cultural and heritage interests through high quality, appropriate experiences.
What also connects us is the Clyde Firth. But this stretch of water also presents the challenges of geography and time. Pier to Pier faced these challenges head on through creativity to connect and bring together young people from our three locations.
Taking as its starting point the historical piers of Kilcreggan, Dunoon and Rothesay, participants travelled primarily by ferry to each centre on three consecutive days to create, experiment and, most importantly, to collaborate, whether en route to or at their destination.
The activity at each venue was appropriate to the arts centre and was led by a locally based professional artist. At Dunoon Burgh Hall, an Andy Warhol inspired workshop – to coincide with the exhibition of his work opening in June 2017 – prompted multimedia artworks. At Cove Park, a collaborative installation explored journey and place through the senses. At Rothesay Pavilion, on the stage of the auditorium currently closed for refurbishment, scenes of colour bombing were choreographed and filmed for a soon to be produced music video.
Funds from The Bridge Awards will support future artist-led creative excursions within the Hands-On Cove Park programme, including the Beach Combing Holiday Art Club with artist Celia Pym. The funds also contributed to a recent residential visit for members of our National Art and Design Saturday Club to see their work exhibited at the Summer Show in Somerset House, London. More about their visit here
Hands On Cove Park is funded by the Paul Hamlyn Foundation and The Robertson Trust. Pier to Pier was made possible with additional funds from Argyll Youth Arts and partners Dunoon Burgh Hall and Rothesay Pavilion.’
10 Sep 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.