Artist / Maker in Residence Wigtown Book Festival

Wigtown book festival

Spring Fling and Wigtown Book Festival are seeking to appoint a visual artist or maker as artist-in-residence for a two-part residency at Wigtown Book Festival 24 September – 5 October 2015 and Spring Fling 28 – 30 May 2016.


In 1998 Wigtown became Scotland’s National Book Town. Since then this tiny town has been transformed from neglected rural settlement into distinguished literary capital, while its book festival has grown into one of the best-loved autumn arts gatherings in the UK. The festival now has an audience of more than 15,000. In 2012, Wigtown was awarded the inaugural Creative Place Award for communities under 2,500, designed to recognise places of exceptional creativity in Scotland.

Spring Fling is a region-wide visual art and craft open studios event and is highly regarded as one of the most successful of its kind in the UK. A major tourist event in Dumfries and Galloway, attracting 13,500 visitors during the Spring Bank Holiday weekend, Spring Fling has been running for 13 years, continues to grow and brings over £1.4 million to the local economy each year. For participating artists it offers a chance to showcase their work to a wide audience through a professional and respected platform.


Following a pilot artists’ residency project that took place during Wigtown Book Festival in 2009, Wigtown Book Festival and Spring Fling have collaborated on this residency project annually ever since – in 2010/11 Deirdre Nelson, in 2011/12 Kim Ayres, in 2012/13 Joanne B Kaar, in 2013/14 Astrid Jaekel and in 2014/15 Anupa Gardner. The results of the residency each year have been on display in an open studio setting in Wigtown during the following Spring Fling.

There is potential for much connection between the audience of Spring Fling and that of Wigtown Book Festival, and we know that both audiences are likely to be interested in the content of both events. It is hoped that the residency project will help to enhance this relationship – and prompt visitors to visit the region more often than once a year.



We would like to invite a visual artist or craft maker to apply for a 12-day residency in Wigtown during which they will make and show new work inspired by Wigtown Book Festival, and by the meeting of people and minds that happens during this annual 10-day celebration. This will culminate in a new body of work to be shown over 3 days during Spring Fling 2015, where the artist will be expected to engage with visitors.

Selection for the residency will automatically guarantee the artist a place in Spring Fling 28 – 30 May 2015 during which time they will present the results of their residency, a new piece/body of work, in Wigtown. The selected artist must agree to be on site in an open studio-style environment in Wigtown during Spring Fling hours (10.30am to 5.30pm on all three days) and available to talk to the public about their work during this time. We will confirm the studio location as soon as possible after selection.

During their 12-day residency the selected artist will be expected to engage fully with the book festival, attending festival events and engaging with festival visitors and speakers -we will prioritise original work that encourages participation across a range of ages, interests and social backgrounds.

We will provide a studio-style space for the artist to create work in during this time and the artist will be expected to be present in the studio to talk to visitors about their work for a certain amount of time during the residency. Times for this can be limited and agreed in advance but this must be done immediately following selection to ensure that details can be listed in the Wigtown Book Festival brochure.

The selected artist must agree to create artwork inspired by Wigtown Book Festival. This should include the actual festival itself but might also cover its engagement with the town, with local inhabitants, with visitors and with ideas.

We are open to the format of the residency, which could result in an exhibition or installation. The residency opportunity is open to artists working in all disciplines but we believe it will particularly appeal to artists wishing to rise to the challenge of:

  • Developing a new piece of work in a short period of time
  • Developing work with new material in a new space
  • Presenting new work to a new audience
  • Working independently in a new environment
  • Developing work incorporating some form of audience participation
  • Using social/digital media as part of the creation or recording of the work

Project managers from Spring Fling & Wigtown Book Festival will support the artist however the artist must be willing to work independently.


The successful applicant will receive a fee of £3,000, to include any materials and travel costs both during Wigtown Book Festival 2015 and during Spring Fling 2016.

Accommodation will be provided free of charge (possibly sharing a cottage space with writers attending Wigtown Book Festival) throughout the residency and again during Spring Fling 2015.

The artist will be given free entry into Spring Fling 2015 (participation fee for 2015 was £250).

In addition, the artist will be given a free pass to Wigtown Book Festival events, according to availability and by prior arrangement with Wigtown Book Festival. This is so that the successful artist will have the opportunity to attend events and experience Wigtown Book Festival.

Spring Fling and Wigtown Book Festival will allocate substantial resources on promoting this residency as a major attraction of both Wigtown Book Festival 2013 and Spring Fling 2014.


If you would like to apply for this residency we would request the following:

  • Six images of your work in digital format
  • A statement about your practice
  • An up-to-date CV
  • Up to 400 words (maximum) about how you would spend your time in Wigtown, what you would propose to produce by the end of the 12-day residency, how you will develop this and present it during Spring Fling, and details of any relevant experience you have in this area.

Applications will be reviewed by a panel from Spring Fling and Wigtown Book Festival. Shortlisted artists will be expected to take part in a Skype interview.

Please email your application to Kate Pickering at the address below.


The deadline for submissions is Monday 29 June

Applicants will hear if they have been called for interview by Friday 3 July.

Skype interviews will take place on Wednesday 8 July.

Applicants will hear if they have been successful by Thursday 9 July.

 The residency will run from 25 September – 4 October 2015 with the artist expected to be present in the studio to talk to visitors about their work for an agreed amount of time during the festival itself. The artist will then be expected to present their artwork in Wigtown during Spring Fling 28 – 30 May 2016. Opening hours for this would be 10.30am to 5.30pm daily, with an option to open until 7pm in the evenings.

The artist must vacate their accommodation on 5 October 2015 and their allocated studio space by the end of 5 October 2015. Similar conditions will apply to their Spring Fling accommodation and studio space.


If you would like any more information about the residency, Spring Fling or Wigtown Book Festival please contact Spring Fling Project Officer Kate Pickering on 01387 213 218 or