Shetland Arts, in partnership with Creative Scotland and Shetland Islands Council, invite applications from artists and makers for bursaries of £500 or £750 towards their creative and professional development.

The Visual Artist and Craft Maker Awards (VACMA) are a programme of small grant schemes, supported and administered by a range of local authorities and art agencies across Scotland to support visual artists and craft makers. There are two strands, one for Established Artists (£750) and one for Emerging Artists / Recent Graduates (£500).

Whether your medium is paint, clay, ink, metal, textiles, film, glass or something else entirely, and whatever stage in your career you're at, if you think we can help you advance your creative and professional skills we'd like to hear from you.

Application forms and guidance for applicants are available in the downloads section below.

Applications are assessed by a panel comprising a Creative Scotland representative, Shetland Arts managers and local freelance artists.

For more information, guidance and advice visit the Creative Scotland website.

Winter Deadline
6 February 2024.


Our Creative Project Programmer Kathryn Spence manages Shetland Arts' VACMA. She is in conversation with partners and Creative Scotland reguarly about the awards and can give guidance to applicants as to what is fundable/not fundable.

She organises Shetland's VACMA panel and chairs the meeting, but is not involved in the decision making.

Kathryn is available for meetings about VACMA with artists - if you have any questions please don't hesitate to contact her on [email protected].

"Make sure you include an Artist CV with your application and ensure that the six images attached with your application show your work at it's best. We are interested in what inspires you. This fund can allow you to take risks; an opportunity to explore and create that is financially supported. This, in turn, could help develop you as an artist and the work you create". (Kathryn Spence, Shetland Arts)

Open Session

Tuesday 23 January, 10am - 11:30am, Mareel

Kathryn will lead a workshop that can help develop your application skills, which are relevant for VACMA and other applications.

In the session, she will go over the VACMA application, and will answer any questions that you may have. She will also cover how to promote and talk about your work - discussing this both in relation to marketing, as well as discussing your work conceptually - and will also touch on how to take photographs of your work to make them appropriate for application or marketing purposes.

We will be aiming to pair artists and craftmakers up with one another, so that you can market one another’s work. We are doing this as we understand that it can often be difficult to talk about your own work, but easy to talk about somebody else’s. We hope that this will be a fun activity that will give you plenty of ideas of how to talk about your own work!

To confirm your attendance please email [email protected]. Places are limited so we recommend reserving your space early.

Tea and coffee will be provided.

Quick Guide for Applicants

Here's some of the advice and feedback we regularly give applicants

  1. Applying for VACMA isn't difficult but it will take time to write the application and gather the supporting documents.
  2. The award is to support your creative development (it's not a businesses development award, but we realise the two may be linked). We want to hear about what inspires your work, and what areas you'd like to explore and experiment with in the future.
  3. Read the guidelines (available in the downloads section) before you start filling in the form. We repeat, READ THE GUIDELINES!
  4. Watch the videos on the Creative Scotland website.
  5. Read the how to write an Artist CV guide. Like any CV, it can take time to build up skills and experience so don't worry if you feel you don't have much to include - and make sure what you do include is relevant to your creative work.
  6. Don't be put off by unfamiliar or arty/academic language.
  7. You don't have to write pages and pages of text, just write however much you need to get your point across.
  8. We want to give you the money!
  9. Good luck!

Further Support


This e-learning provides advice and guidance on applying for opportunities and filling in application forms: Creative Opportunities for Practitioners.

Why Apply for VACMA?

"The award was a great opportunity for me to explore new aspects of making. I would recommend anyone considering it to go for it."

Lyndsay Cheyne

"I've always been interested in lino printing, but I hadn't had the opportunity to learn the new skill due to lack of funds, and lack of opportunity. The fund allowed me to purchase printing inks, equipment and research materials. I was then able to practice the technique and produce a portfolio of work that otherwise would never have been possible."

Avril Thomson

Related Posts

Visual Art
My Happy Place: Artist-in Residence, Peacocks Visual Arts in Aberdeen
October 14th 2021, by Esther Renwick
Find out morearrow-right