A programme of mentoring and a bursary for emerging artists and makers who have a connection to Dumfries and Galloway.

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Abbie La Rooy, Emerge recipient 2023
Clare Williams with her mentor Lisa Rothwell Young during Spring Fling 2016. Photo by Colin Hattersley
Emerge 2016 participant Morgan Hardie exhibiting as part of Spring Fling. Photo by Colin Tennant.
Emerge 2016 participant Emily Nash exhibiting as part of Spring Fling. Photo by Colin Tennant.
Luke Fitch, Spring Fling Emerge Participant 2017. Photo by Colin Hattersley.
Rosie Reid, Spring Fling Emerge Participant 2017.
Kyna Hodges, recipient 2018
David Rae, recipient 2018
Izzy Leach (recipient 2020) with mentor Kim Ayres
Rachel Shnapp, recipient 2021
Sian Yeshe, recipient 2021
Savannah Crosby: Emerge Recipient 2022
Joshua Williams: Emerge Recipient 2022
Abbie La Rooy: Emerge Recipient 2023
Rachel Ashcroft: Emerge Recipient 2023
Lorna Phillips, Emerge 2024 Recipient. Photo by Ali Madani.
Sarah McCusker, Emerge 2024 Recipient. Photo by Kirstin McEwan.

Emerge is a programme of mentoring and a bursary for emerging artists or makers who have a strong connection to Dumfries and Galloway. Emerge recipients are mentored by professional experienced artists / makers over a 6-9 month period, awarded a bursary of £1000 to create new work and take part in Spring Fling Open Studios. 

The programme also offers funding towards Go & See Trips,  enabling the mentor and mentee to attend relevant events such as exhibitions, conferences, workshops or classes. 

Previous recipients have said:

“This programme was a grounding for me through a very hectic time and it kept me focused on my passion, when I was just about to lose sight of that. It feels like this programme really opens a whole new world to you on your doorstep that you once didn’t know existed." 

"Emerge exceeded many of my expectations. The investment that the mentors made in me and developing my practice was something I couldn’t have hoped for. It’s not only grown my practice in this sense but also me as a person."

"… I believe the practical and theoretical skills I learned in six months would normally take people years, and formal training, to gain. [My] mentors encouraged and supported me in gaining two paid creative residencies in my desired career directions, leading to me having full time paid work as an artist in a month of completing Emerge."



For 2024, the Emerge recipients are...

Lorna Phillips

Lorna grew up in Dumfries and Galloway. She participated in Upland's Modern Makers programme in 2017 and graduated in Sculpture from Edinburgh College of Art in 2021, with an Erasmus exchange at the Estonian Academy of Arts. She has recently completed her first artist residency at Glenfiddich Distillery and is showing work in exhibitions with the Scottish Society of Artists and the Royal Scottish Academy. 

Lorna uses clay to create research-based site-specific objects and installations that explore her surrounding landscape. She delves into the stories of places, discovered through archaeology, anthropology and geology. The sourcing of wild local clay is key to forming her work, and allows her a direct foothold into the place she digs from. Lorna creates both sculptural objects, and functional vessels that are activated; touched, held and drank from.

Lorna will be mentored by ceramics artist Ruth Jones and slipware potters Fitch & McAndrew.

Sarah McCusker

Sarah has been pursuing a career as an artist since her second child was born in 2021. She participated in Upland's ROAM (Space) project, a 9 month programme which resulted in an exhibition at Gracefield Arts Centre in September 2023. Sarah is based in the Glenkens area and has formed a community art group in her area called 'Art for All'.

Sarah is a multimedia artist with an eye for the underused and over looked. Her art practice rests in the unique ability to collate and manipulate materials found, forgotten and discarded. She reimagines these to uncover historical and contemporary narratives about our inner humanity and connection with the wider world. Her interests lie in the by-products and waste materials from activities such as the paint flakes from door stripping, lost fishing line collected on the beach, waste building materials as well as the collection of natural materials. 

Sarah will be mentored by contemporary artists Bea Last and Kevin Reid. 

Emerge 2024 is funded by the Holywood Trust, the Archie Sutter Watt Trust and Creative Scotland. 



For 2023, The Emerge Recipients Were...

Abbie La Rooy

Abbie has been pursuing ceramics full time since April 2021, when she moved to Dumfries and Galloway to work for Clay Works Studios. Alongside working as a technician and tutor, Abbie has been establishing her ceramic practice. This has involved developing skills technically and establishing a visual “language”.

Abbie’s current body of work carries anthropomorphic references, loosely centred around the “grotesque”. Working with both commercial and locally sourced clays, she employs traditional techniques to create innovative, unexpected outcomes to construct a narrative. As her practice has developed, Abbie has found herself drawn to locally sourced raw materials and traditional processes to manufacture objects.

Rachel Ashcroft

Rachel graduated in Sculpture from Manchester School of Art in 2009. In 2015 Rachel re-trained in bench joinery. Since moving to the region six years ago, Rachel has developed a small business as a crafts-person making contemporary crafts from sustainably sourced hardwood.

Under the moniker ‘Woman of the Woods’ Rachel designs, makes and sells items for the home from local hardwoods and found driftwood, such as spoons, boards, bowls and coffee tables. Rachel designs all of her products with a modern aesthetic, taking care to highlight the beauty and grain of each piece.

Emerge 2023 is funded by the Holywood Trust, the Archie Sutter Watt Trust and Creative Scotland. 


For 2022, the Emerge recipients were...

Joshua Williams

Joshua is a potter with a studio in Newton Stewart.

Josh makes functional ware, which is currently made using earthenware clay. He is currently experimenting with local clays and materials in order to further develop his own unique style.

Following a two year apprenticeship at a production Pottery in Oxfordshire, Josh returned to the region and set up his ceramic studio in 2020. 

Savannah Crosby

Savannah recently graduated from the University of the West of Scotland with a MA in Creative Media Practice, having previously completed the BA (Hons) Photography course at the University of Cumbria.

Savannah’s work focuses on landscape/nature photography, exploring mental health and how being around nature helps improve mental health and wellbeing.

Emerge 2022 is funded by the Holywood Trust, the Archie Sutter Watt Trust and Creative Scotland. 


For 2021, the Emerge recipients were...

Rachel Lucy Shnapp

Rachel graduated from University of Glasgow with a MA in Philosophy and English Literature and having worked within the film industry for a number of years, is looking to hone her creative practice within visual art film. She is based between London and Moniaive and will be mentored by Mark Lyken with additional support from Colin Tennant and Saskia Coulson (CT Productions).

Sian Yeshe Blackburn

Sian works in film and digital media and since graduating from a MA creative practice course from the University of Cumbria in 2020 has been keen to further explore the rural culture of Southern Scotland through documentary work. She is based in Langholm and will be mentored by John Wallace with additional support from Colin Tennant and Saskia Coulson (CT Productions). 

Emerge 2021 is funded by the Holywood Trust, Creative Scotland and the Archie Sutter Watt Trust.

A short film about Sian's site specific installation, Felt Not Telt, which was created during her time on Emerge. The film itself was created by participants of Jump Cut (a project for young people to learn film making skills).


EMERGE 2020 

For 2020, we awarded three Emerge Young Artist Bursaries, including a new bursary for emerging artists and makers of any age (supported by Creative Scotland).

2020's recipients were...

Blossom McCuaig
Blossom graduated from Lancaster University with a BA English Literature & Philosophy. She is based in Dumfries, doing illustration, installation, painting, drawing, printmaking, murals and street art and was mentored in 2020 by Emma Varley, Lucy MacLeod and Mark Zygadlo.

Sophie Jarzyna
Sophie is a self-taught potter from Langholm (currently based here and with a studio in neighbouring Claygate). She completed an Art & Design Foundation Diploma at Cumbria Institute of the Arts and was mentored by Chris Taylor and Clare Dawdry.

Izzy Leach
Izzy studied Communication Design (Photography) at Glasgow School of Art. Based in Kirkcudbright, she is a photographer and filmmaker. She was mentored by CT Productions (Colin Tennant & Saskia Coulson) and Kim Ayres.  

Emerge 2020 was supported by The Holywood Trust and Creative Scotland. 


In 2019, we awarded two Emerge Young Artist Bursaries for 2019 to emerging artists Jordan Chisholm (mentored by Jo Hodges) and Sarah Rogers (mentored by Alison Macleod and Lisa Rothwell-Young).

Sarah graduated from Duncan of Jordanstone College of Art, Dundee in 2017 after completing her BA (Hons) in Jewellery and Metal Design.

Jordan graduated from The Royal Conservatoire of Scotland in 2018 achieving a BA Honours (First Class) Contemporary Performance Practice.

Emerge 2019 was funded by The Holywood Trust and Creative Scotland. Read more about the programme here.

The 2018 recipients were David Rae (mentored by Bea Last) and Kyna Hodges (mentored by Denise Zygadlo and Morag Paterson).

David graduated from Grays School of Art in 2017 with a first class honours in painting. He creates paintings based on locations that featured in his childhood, places he has visited or imagined. 

Kyna graduated from Glasgow School of Art in 2017 where she studied Communication Design, specialising in photography. Kyna's practice includes installation, photography, mixed media and sculpture. The 2018 programme was funded by The Holywood Trust and the Archie Sutter Watt Trust. Read more about the 2018 programme here.


For 2017 we awarded two Emerge Bursaries. The recipients were portrait painter Luke Fitch and textile designer Rosie Reid. Luke and Rosie were mentored by Katharine Wheeler and Morag Macpherson respectively. The 2017 programme was supported by the Holywood Trust and Creative Scotland. Read more about the 2017 project here.


Those taking part in 2016 were visual artist Denise Zygadlo, from Auldgirth, who mentored Morgan Hardie, a Dumfries-based portrait painter and gallery assistant at Gracefield Arts Centre.

Lisa Rothwell Young, a Langholm based jeweller mentored Clare Williams who works with textiles and surface designs including beautiful scarves and cushions, based near Lockerbie.

Sarah Keast, from Moniaive, who is well known for her printmaking and for her love of the ocean, ships and sea life, mentored Emily Nash, from near Wigtown, who specialises in drawing, mixed media and printmaking.

The 2016 project was made possible by the Holywood Trust, which supported two of the young artists and the Archie Sutter Watt Trust which supported the third.