Artist Residency Open Call: Thinking through the Anthropocene

This post comes from Creative Carbon Scotland

We’re delighted to announce the details of our annual Arts & Sustainability Artists’ Residency (30th September – 3rd October). This year we’re offering up to eight Scotland-based artists from any discipline with the paid opportunity to participate in a weekend of discussion and activities at Cove Park, exploring the relationship between their practices and environmental sustainability.

Residency description

“Human activity has been a geologically recent, yet profound, influence on the global environment. The magnitude, variety and longevity of human-induced changes, including land surface transformation and changing the composition of the atmosphere, has led to the suggestion that we should refer to the present, not as within the Holocene Epoch (as it is currently formally referred to), but instead as within the Anthropocene Epoch” (Lewis and Masin, 2015)

Co-facilitated by Jan Bebbington (Professor of Accounting and Sustainable Development, Director, St Andrews Sustainability Institute) and Lex ter Braak (Director, Van Eyck Institute, Maastricht, Netherlands), Creative Carbon Scotland’s third annual residency will use the spectrum of stories surrounding the Anthropocene as an entry point for discussing the relationship between cultural practices and environmental sustainability.

We are delighted to offer up to eight Scotland-based artists working across a variety of disciplines and contexts, who may or may not have previously worked in this area, with the opportunity to think about, learn from one another, and develop their practices in relation to environmental sustainability.

This year, the residency will be hosted in partnership with internationally-renowned artist residencyCove Park over a long weekend from 30th September – 3rd October. Selected artists will be paid a fee of £450 for their attendance and travel expenses from within Scotland, accommodation and catering will be covered.

Within the divergent responses to the Anthropocene, from the humble to the hubristic, we will seek to understand where points for fruitful artistic enquiry might emerge, building on existing examples and our specific geographical context.

Working in partnership with Cove Park, the residency programme draws on the group’s skills and experience, on-site activities and a range of reading materials to explore the diverse ways in which the Anthropocene could be considered through creative practice. Through this we seek to build understandings of how artistic practices might in turn effect wider social change in the transition to a more sustainable society.

This residency is funded by Creative Scotland and kindly supported by The Dr David Summers Charitable Trust and is run in partnership with Cove Park.


Application deadline: 10am Friday 19th August

Apply to the Arts & Sustainability Residency

Residency aims

  • To offer the opportunity for artists from a range of disciplines, who may have or may not have previously worked in this area, to learn from one another and develop their understanding of the relationship between their practice and environmental sustainability;
  • To explore the ways in which cultural practices of artists can re-express the scientific, social and philosophical ideas and concepts associated with the transition to a more sustainable future;
  • To build participating artists’, partners’, and Creative Carbon Scotland’s understanding of the connections between individual creative practices and climate change, and their role in effecting wider social change in the transition to a more sustainable society.

What to expect


The residency will commence at Cove Park mid-late afternoon on Friday 30th September and wrap up on the morning of Monday 3rd October. Travel arrangements will be made in coordination with Creative Carbon Scotland. Participants are expected to be able to attend the whole duration of the weekend.


Artists should expect a relatively open-format long weekend with facilitation by the group as well as Jan Bebbington and Lex ter Braak. There may be the opportunity for some artists to lead a ‘session’ during the weekend, bringing a particular response or angle to the theme of environmental sustainability and artistic practice.

Please note that participants are not expected to produce work during the residency period but rather use the time and space to reflect on their practice for future development.

The residency plays an important role in contributing to the community of practice of artists, cultural organisations and those working in environmental sustainability contexts which Creative Carbon Scotland supports across programmes including Green Tease and the Green Arts Initiative.

Following the weekend, we anticipate that participants will continue to build connections with one another and Creative Carbon Scotland to explore opportunities for collaboration and exchange. We will also work with partners from the University of St Andrews to evaluate the longer term impact of the residency on participating artists’ practices.

Activities will include:

  • Whole and small group discussions led by our facilitators;
  • Presentations by participants on projects which they are interested in developing and connecting to residency themes;
  • Visits to local sites of thematic significance;
  • Walking and hands-on activities as an alternative format to group discussion.

For more information on Cove Park visit the website –

What we’re looking for

We’re looking for inquisitive artists who can bring interesting ideas to a group setting and who are keen to ask questions of themselves and established ways of working.

We encourage the participation of artists from a wide range of disciplines, and whether or not they have previously considered environmental sustainability in their approach to working. Applicants must be based in Scotland.

Through the generous support of the Dr David Summers Charitable Trust, at least one place on the residency is reserved for a poet or writer.

Equalities and accessibility

Creative Carbon Scotland has a rigorous Equalities Policy and we welcome applications from artists in line with the ‘protected characteristics’ named in the Equality Act 2010. This includes: Age, disability, gender reassignment, income, marriage or civil partnership status, pregnancy and maternity, race, religion or belief, sex and sexual orientation, socio-economic deprivation.

Our Equalities Policy is available here.

Cove Park’s brand new Artists Centre has been designed and built to be open and accessible to those with mobility issues, with ramped access to the entrance and level access throughout. There is accommodation and an adjoining studio attached to the Artists Centre, which will allow a wheelchair user on residency to make full use of the new centre.

Cove Park sits within a 50-acre rural site overlooking Loch Long and is hilly with some rough terrain and pathways. Residents are able to make use of the 4 X 4 truck to access the whole site and the nearby coast. The nature of the site and some of the activities we plan may present difficulties for some people with limited mobility but we will make every effort to overcome these and urge all to apply – we will discuss any details once the initial selection has been made.

About our facilitators

Jan Bebbington

Previously Professor of Accounting at the University of Aberdeen, Jan applies academic research in sustainable development to practice. She is Associate Director of the Centre for Social and Environmental Accounting Research.

Lex ter Braak

Lex ter Braak is currently the Director of the Van Eyck Institute, a post-academic institute for artistic development with an international outlook, located in Maastricht. The core values that the Van Eyck aspires to are meeting, connection, cooperation, engagement and process. From 2000 he was director of the Foundation for Visual Arts, Design and Architecture in Amsterdam. Previously he was director of the Vleeshal in Middelburg. He is a freelance writer/critic on literature and fine art.

Applicant specification

  • Artists at any stage in their career are welcome to apply, provided that they are at least one year out of undergraduate training or have equivalent experience.
  • Artists must be based in Scotland.
  • We encourage applications from artists working in a range of disciplines including theatre, dance, music, visual art, literature, poetry, TV/film, craft, design, community arts, participatory arts, digital, and other related creative practices. At least one place will be reserved for a poet or writer, thanks to support from the Dr David Summers Charitable Trust.
  • We encourage applications from artists who may or may not have not previously considered environmental sustainability in their practice.
  • We encourage applications from artists in line with the ‘protected characteristics’ named in the Equality Act, 2010. This includes: Age, disability, gender reassignment, income, marriage or civil partnership status, pregnancy and maternity, race, religion or belief, sex and sexual orientation, socio-economic deprivation.

Apply to the Arts & Sustainability Residency

Selection process

We will select applicants so as to achieve a good balance of the specifications outlined above, and on the basis of their responses to the application form questions, quality of work and previous experience outlined in their CV.

Applications will be shortlisted internally and then referred to our selection committee: Jan Bebbington (Residency Facilitator), Asif Khan (Director of Scottish Poetry Library – for special advice on the literature and poetry position funded by the Dr David Summers Trust), Catrin Kemp (Cove Park), Ben Twist (CCS) and Gemma Lawrence (CCS).

Phone calls may be made to some applicants if further information is required to support their application.

All applicants will be informed of the status of their applications by early September with feedback provided to unsuccessful applications.

Recommended reading

Defining the Anthropocene – Lewis and Maslin, 2015.

Read about our previous Arts & Sustainability residencies



Image: Contains British Geological Survey materials © NERC (1990)

The post Artist Residency Open Call: Thinking through the Anthropocene appeared first on Creative Carbon Scotland.


Creative Carbon Scotland is a partnership of arts organisations working to put culture at the heart of a sustainable Scotland. We believe cultural and creative organisations have a significant influencing power to help shape a sustainable Scotland for the 21st century.

In 2011 we worked with partners Festivals Edinburgh, the Federation of Scottish Threatre and Scottish Contemporary Art Network to support over thirty arts organisations to operate more sustainably.

We are now building on these achievements and working with over 70 cultural organisations across Scotland in various key areas including carbon management, behavioural change and advocacy for sustainable practice in the arts.

Our work with cultural organisations is the first step towards a wider change. Cultural organisations can influence public behaviour and attitudes about climate change through:

Changing their own behaviour;
Communicating with their audiences;
Engaging the public’s emotions, values and ideas.

Go to Creative Carbon Scotland

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