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 2019
We are thrilled to announce that applications for the 2019 Emerging Writer Award are now open. Each winner will receive a tailor-made package of support from Moniack Mhor, including tuition via open courses, retreat time and/or mentoring.
Last year we received an overwhelming number of entries of a very high standard. This led to us having joint winners — Liz Hyder and Hanna Randall. Both these writers wowed the judges with their novels in progress—two very different works of equally high quality.
Hanna Randall won with her novel set in 1850s Japan. It 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. Since winning the award, Hanna has finished her manuscript and is now working with an editor.
Liz Hyder‘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. After winning the award, Liz went on to secure an agent and a publishing deal for Bearmouth with Pushkin’s Children’s Books. Her novel will be published in Autumn 2019.
Details of how to apply can be found here
Application deadline 25 February 2019
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.
2019 Internship with Scottish Dance Theatre
(image by Sid Scott.)
Applications are now open for the 2019 Scottish Dance Theatre Internship for a dance graduate of Dundee and Angus College.
The Bridge Awards, in partnership with Scottish Dance Theatre, are delighted to announce a two-month-long paid Dance Development Internship, to be awarded to a student who graduates in 2018.
Following the success of the Internship in 2018, the position will be available to Dance degree students from the Scottish School of Contemporary Dance at Dundee and Angus College .
Lee Lappin, Creative Director of the Scottish School of Contemporary Dance said: ‘With the success of last year, I am delighted we are able to offer this unique opportunity again. Such professional mentoring links the educational sector with the world of work, providing practical, ambitious, real-life learning opportunities.’
The successful graduate will learn various skills and be provided with the chance to work closely with Scottish Dance Theatre’s Producer, Technical team and Creative Learning team. The Intern will also be given the opportunity to gain skills and experience through developing and delivering a dance project with a social purpose.
Last year’s intern, Jorja Follina, said of her experience: ‘During my internship I was given the freedom to develop and deliver my own community project, while being supported and encouraged by the whole team at Scottish Dance Theatre. This was a big success and a fantastic opportunity to learn about the industry, myself as an artist/practitioner, and about the possibilities of dance in wider contexts. The award gave me the confidence and resources to begin my project, Re-Mind, which I am now continuing to expand and develop.’
Dawn Hartley, Head of Creative Learning, at Scottish Dance Theatre said: ‘Scottish Dance Theatre is grateful to The Bridge Awards for enabling us to offer this Internship for a second year, contributing to the overall ongoing development of dance in Scotland. Jorja Follina, our recent Intern, made the most of her time to gain more teaching experience and make valued contacts. We are delighted to work with Dundee & Angus College again through this vital initiative for new graduates.’
Details of how to apply can be found here.
Applications are closed.
Short Story Mentoring Award
The Bridge Awards are delighted to announce a new award for short story writers. The award will be comprised of a short mentoring package with author Cherise Saywell. This is a great opportunity for an emerging short-story writer to develop his/her craft and to work with an experienced writer and mentor.
Cherise is a novelist and short-story writer. She was born and brought up in Australia and has lived in Scotland since 1996. She has published two novels, Desert Fish (2011) and Twitcher (2013) (both Vintage, Australia). Cherise won the Pindrop Short Story Award in 2017, the Mslexia Short Story Prize in 2015 and the V.S. Pritchett prize in 2003. Her short stories have appeared in Mslexia, The London Magazine and New Writing Scotland, and in numerous anthologies including A Short Affair (Simon and Schuster) and Waving at the Gardener (Bloomsbury). Her story ‘Pieces of Mars Have Fallen to Earth’ was selected for BBC Radio 4’s Opening Lines programme in 2015.
Currently, Cherise is the Royal Literary Fund Fellow at Strathclyde University. She has worked as a Fellow at Stirling University, and she has taught and supervised creative writing students at Stirling University and Newcastle University. She is accredited as a Consultant Fellow by the Royal Literary Fund and runs writing workshops in universities around Scotland, as well as for the RLF Bridge Programme, in schools. She lives in Edinburgh with her partner and their two children and is working on her third novel.
To be eligible for the award, you must be a writer living and working in Scotland, and you must not have previously published a novel or a collection of short stories.
To enter your work for the award, please send the following to email@example.com
- A 1000 word sample of your work as either an Adobe PDF document or a Microsoft Word document. (.doc or docx) Please put the title of your story as the file name. Your work will be judged anonymously so your name should not appear anywhere on this document. Work should be double-spaced and in size 12 font.
- A separate document containing your name, contact details and story title, as well as a short summary of your writing experience and achievements to date. This will be read if your work makes it to the shortlist stage.
We look forward to reading your work and best of luck!
Application deadline 1 March 2019
Literature Residency in Australia
We are so delighted to be supporting a new literature residency in Australia. This project is the result of a new collaboration between Cove Park and Varuna, the National Writer’s House in Katoomba, Australia and will provide a residency exchange programme for writers based in Scotland and in Australia.
The programme will begin in 2019 and will initially run for three years.
This great opportunity is open to writers [fiction, non-fiction, prose, poetry] who have previously been resident at Cove Park as part of the funded Literature programme. Selection will be based upon the quality of your ideas and work and the relevance of this opportunity to your current practice and research interests.
In 2019 this residency will take place from 29 July – 25 August.
Varuna, the National Writers House is located in Katoomba, which is part of the world heritage Blue Mountains region of New South Wales. Built by the Australian writer Eleanor Dark and her husband Dr Eric Dark in the late 1930s the house is now recognized as a site of cultural significance listed on the NSW heritage register. In 1989 Michael Dark, the son of Eleanor and Dr Eric Dark, gave the house to the Eleanor Dark Foundation so it could be used as a retreat for writers. We were lucky enough to visit Varuna in 2018 and were immediately struck by the peace of the place and by its inspiring atmosphere. We have no doubt that a month spent there will be hugely beneficial for the successful applicant.
The deadline for applications is noon on Tuesday 5 February 2019. Further information and details of how to apply can be found here.
25 Jan 2019
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 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.
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. In 2018, the club was able to pay 14 coaches a small stipend, an important provision in a country that has rising unemployment. The club’s development work has enabled it to feed, clothe and provide transport for youth from some of South Africa’s worst townships.
In 2019, the club will be celebrating its 10th birthday and the focus of the season will be to build the Grass Boots Endowment Trust. The club is committed to building this trust so as to ensure that no child from any background will be turned away on financial grounds and be denied the opportunity to play the game they love.
10 Jan 2019
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
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.