Collective acts of reflection, remembrance, hope and healing, with communities across Scotland


Shetland Arts, working with Shetland Islands Council, on behalf of greenspace Scotland, will commission a Covid Memorial for Shetland; greenspace scotland have established a phased approach to the commission. We are looking to appoint a creative practitioner(s), organisation or collective to engage with the Shetland community to inspire dialogue and capture memories, feelings and experiences of the last two years. We are seeking to commission an artist(s) with a background in co-creative, participatory practice to work with local groups and communities to co-create a Covid community memorial as part of the Remembering Together programme for Shetland.

1. About the programme

Remembering Together will commission artists in all 32 local authority areas in Scotland to co-create with communities, exploring who, what and how we want to remember and honour all those affected by Covid. Offering a place to connect, to reflect and to create, Remembering Together is about creating together, being part of a process to commemorate those who have lost their lives, those who have experienced loss and change as well as celebrating the ways in which Scottish communities have come together, bonded with close families and communities, learnt new skills and enjoyed slowing down, during the most difficult times.

Remembering Together is being delivered by greenspace scotland at the request of Scottish Government.

Shetland Arts, working with Shetland Islands Council, on behalf of greenspace Scotland, are looking to appoint artist(s) that have a strong connection to Shetland and its communities. Artists working in any art form can apply. What is important is the process of open dialogue facilitated through the arts throughout the Shetland community.

The project will have 2 phases:

In phase 1, artists/practitioners will be supported with £15k commission to cover fees and associated costs to work with local communities to explore and shape ideas for a creative output that reflects local people’s experiences of the pandemic. There will be access costs attached to this phase.

In phase 2, funding of circa £100k will be available in each local authority area to realise the project, which may include commemorative gardens, memorials, public or digital artworks, theatre, dance or music performance events, or events in parks, greenspaces or other types of public space. This second phase is likely to involve (a) new artist/s, with the potential for continued involvement of the phase 1 artist, who will also be eligible to apply as lead artist on phase 2.

It will be the artist/creative practitioner’s co-creation and collaboration with community groups and individuals during phase 1 that will inform the creative output to be developed during phase 2. The artist will be appointed on 23rd June 2022 and will have approximately 5 months to complete phase 1. Phase 2 will begin immediately afterwards and will have 9 months for completion. This brief is for the phase 1 opportunity only. Lead artists working on phase 1 are likely to have a role in phase 2 of the programme, however this cannot be guaranteed as it will depend on the nature and form of the final works and the availability of additional budget.

The programme will take an inclusive, learning and sustainable approach and is founded on the following 4 values: relevant, welcoming, aware, honest.

2. About the Commission

Shetland Arts, working with Shetland Islands Council on behalf of greenspace Scotland, are seeking an artist/creative practitioner working in co-creation or participatory practice in any artform including dance, theatre, visual art, craft, film, live art, literature, poetry, music, and more. This artist/practitioner will have an interest and experience working with individuals and communities with the emphasis on a co-creation approach.

The artist/practitioner will have experience (or be able to demonstrate capacity and commitment to develop their experience) of working in co-creation approaches with diverse communities. The process will need to give space to all kinds of experience, from those with connection to people who have lost lives to Covid, those who have lost their lives to other illnesses during the pandemic and all those who have experienced change, loss and isolation in other ways. It will also acknowledge the ways in which citizens continue to support each other. This process will enable collaboration between artists/practitioners and individuals/groups resulting in the co-production of ideas and creative work in response to participants’ interests and experiences. Artists will use their skills in participatory practice to reflect with communities through creative engagement and will document this experience, contributing to a bank of ideas to inform a brief for phase 2 of the project. This engagement with groups will take place with strong safeguarding, data protection policy and risk assessments in place, supported by the partners and greenspace scotland.

The commissioned artists will be committed to co-creation and collaboration and they will work with people in the community to define what ‘memorial’ means for that specific place. Some communities will want a place they can go, some will want a structure they can visit and to see their loved ones named. Other communities may want to co-create music, movement, film, an online project, a series of events and gatherings or a travelling book. Most important is that the programme is relevant to communities, is aware of the wide range of experiences people have had, welcomes people to co-create and allows those involved to express honestly what this time has meant for them.

Shetland Arts and greenspace scotland recognise the unique skills of artists working in communities and actively encourage proposals from artists with intersectional lived experiences of illness, isolation, rurality, income inequality or social exclusion of any kind. We particularly welcome proposals from sick and disabled artists, artists of the Global Ethnic Majority, older artists, LGBTQ+ artists and/or refugee/migrant artists.

For further information, contact

3. About the Shetland based Commission

Shetland is often described as a unique place. We have many small and often thriving communities spread across 16 inhabited islands. As the northernmost isles in the United Kingdom Shetland is often seen as already isolated, however, many Shetlanders would disagree, with our thriving communities, rich landscape and year round events. As everywhere, lockdown affected each community and each household slightly differently. Mixed feelings of isolation, liberation, loss and new hope characterised this period for many.

Whether it was a period of great loneliness without the events and gatherings that feature so strongly in rural Shetland, or a new found bond with families, neighbours and friends, characterised by creativity and exploration, it was a time of great emotional response. Shetland has more cake fridges, new businesses and innovation than ever before, showing enterprise at its finest during difficult times.

We want to capture the impact that the last two years has had on those living in Shetland. It is important that we reach deep into the community through this project to ensure all stories are heard.
An understanding of Shetland and its communities is vital, to ensure that this phase of the project is appropriate to the isles themselves, and that the art made responds directly to those in the community and their stories. Therefore, it is essential that the artist(s) have a strong connection to Shetland.

We encourage artists of all art forms to apply, as long as participation is at the core of their practice. Dialogue is an integral part of this phase of the project’s development, and will be what allows the selected artist to determine what phase 2 should look like. It is important that the artist has a connection to Shetland.

4. Artist/Creative practitioner Criteria

  • The artist must have a connection to the Shetland

  • Focus on co-creation and engagement rather than artistic concept

  • Being able to create a welcoming, safe and positive environment for sharing of stories and ideas

  • Arrive at clear, co-created concept for a local community memorial after the phase 1 engagement period

Criteria for selection:

  • Demonstration of understanding of brief

  • Strength of artistic practice relating specifically to creative community engagement and co-creation approaches

  • Response demonstrates innovative thinking, inclusive and sensitive approaches for participatory engagement with a diverse range of participants and/or a deeper understanding and knowledge of working with specific hard-to-reach communities

  • Track record of working with communities and identifies how they would ensure community participants are supported to collaborate throughout the process

  • The artist(s) must be able to devise a programme of creative engagement activities, and facilitate this, working with specific community groups and individuals, to enable conversations and generate ideas leading to Phase 2 i.e. the brief for the commemorative commission.

  • Attend project meetings as required in person and online.

  • Establish sustainable relationships with key partners and participants.

  • Work with Shetland Arts to document the process in a way that is generous to the participants

Your response to the brief must demonstrate:

• When you submit your note of interest you should demonstrate an understanding of the intention of the brief and give some outline of how you would structure your 5 month period of work.

• You must be a good and generous communicator able to navigate sensitive or difficult conversations and understand when you require support from the commissioner.

• We are really interested in your work, and we would like to understand where the strengths lie in your working practice.

• We do need to see that you have a track record of working successfully and creatively with communities. In your application you should give some attention to identifying how you would ensure community participants are supported to collaborate throughout the process.

• Show us how you can be innovative, flexible, inclusive and sensitive with specific groups and communities of interest.

• Time management and organisational skills.

5. Decision making process

  • Expressions of interest are collated and shared with the selection panel

  • The selection panel will assess the expressions of interest against the criteria specified in section 4

  • Once the assessments are collated the panel will discuss the expressions of interest

  • By 30th May 2022 some of the artists/creative practitioners will be invited to submit a full application before 19th June 2022

  • The same panel will assess these full applications

  • Some of the artists/creative practitioners will be invited for an interview on 23rd June with some of the panel members

  • The artist/creative practitioner will be appointed by 24th June 2022.

The selection panel will include:

  • 1 from Shetland Islands Council

  • 1 from Shetland Arts

  • 5 from the Shetland Reference Group

  • 1 from greenspace Scotland

6. Resources

£15,000 is available for the Phase 1 commission to cover fees, associated costs and irrecoverable VAT.

Artists/creative practitioners with access requirements will be supported to apply for Access to Work (AtW). Each area will also be supported with up to £5,000 to address access barriers, with a focus on removing barriers for participating communities and artists who have requirements that do not qualify for AtW. An example of these access costs could be child care.

7. Timescale and Milestones


3rd May 2022

Call for expressions of interest open

22nd May 2022

Call for expressions of interest close

26th May 2022

Review and short-listing

30th May 2022

Short listed applicants contacted to submit a proposal

19th June 2022

Deadline for proposals from short-listed artists

Proposals reviewed by Local partner, greenspace scotland and advisory groups

23rd June 2022

Interviews with short-listed/selected artists

24th June 2022

Artists selected

July - November 2022

Co-creation period with communities

December 2022

Phase 2 open for proposals

8. Responding to the Brief

To apply for this opportunity please send an expression of interest by 22nd May 2022 to

Your Expression of Interest should include:

  • A CV and/or Statement of Practice - if applying as a creative team, provide information for each individual with their role and how they would contribute to the commission

  • A written proposal (max 2 sides of A4) or a video/voice recording (max 5 minutes) on how you would approach the project and the co-creation phase

  • Information about any relevant past commissions or projects that you think demonstrate how your practice fits this brief

Following assessment of the Expressions of Interest, shortlisted applicants will then be asked to submit a full proposal. Guidance and brief will be provided to help the shortlisted artists to do this.

Contact and enquiries to:

Kathryn Spence at or Kim Simpson at


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