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Arts Opportunities and Funding

Visual Artist and Craft Maker AwardsVisual Artist and Craft Maker Awards

The Visual Artist and Craft Makers Awards (VACMA) scheme offers small grants to visual artists and craft makers for their creative development at all stages of their career. These awards are supported by Creative Scotland through funding from the National Lottery in partnership with Orkney Islands Council and Highlands and Islands Enterprise (HIE).   

This year we will continue to offer fixed bursaries in recognition of the ongoing impacts of COVID-19 on individual artists and makers. The VACMA scheme offers two levels of bursaries:   

The fund is open to visual artists and craft makers who can demonstrate a commitment to developing their creative practice and who are living or working or maintaining a studio space within the Local Authority area to which they are applying.  

The next deadlines are 26 October 2021 and 1 February 2022. The guidelines and application form are available below.  

George Mackay Brown 100 logoGeorge Mackay Brown 100 - Public Art Commission

“The imagination is not an escape, but a return to the richness of our true selves; a return to reality.” George Mackay Brown

Leisure and Culture Service is seeking innovative and accessible applications from a writer and artist based in Orkney, to produce a legacy public artwork to commemorate the centenary George Mackay Brown’s birth. The project fees are £3,000, with a project budget of £3,000. The project is anticipated to begin in September 2021.

Application now closed

Arts development.Culture Fund: Open Pot


The Culture Fund is an annual open pot made available by Orkney Islands Council to support Arts, Culture and Heritage projects in Orkney.

Who can apply?

The Culture Fund supports formerly constituted not-for-profit organisations in producing, delivering or promoting cultural activity and/or programmes. This fund will support cultural organisations for their general running costs as well as specific activities. It will also support non-cultural organisations to deliver cultural activities and programmes. This fund will support cultural organisations for their general running costs as well as specific activities. It will also support non-cultural organisations to deliver cultural activities and programmes. Applicants will have to have clear financial procedures and produce audited accounts in keeping with the scale of their operation.

What can be applied for?

Cultural activity is defined as:

This includes festivals, museums, heritage centres and arts projects and is aimed at enabling Orkney residents to access the highest quality cultural events and activities as well as publicising Orkney to visitors.

This Fund is allocated by Orkney Islands Council on an annual basis, via an open application process and is managed by the Arts, Museums and Heritage Service within Education, Leisure and Housing.  

 The application process is currently closed but will reopen again later in the year. 

The video below was created for the Open Doors Day 2020 and is a good example of what funding might be used for:  


Applications for the most recent round of funding close on Friday 12 February 2021.

Case Study

In 2018/2019, 26 organisations were awarded support for projects as diverse as Consciousness After School Club's 'Making Noise Against Suicide' to Orkney Heritage Society's 'Orkney Memorial to the Victims of the Witchcraft Trials', Reel Life's 'Slow Music Session' and Stromness Drama Club's production of 'Macbeth'.

Additional Funding

Creative Scotland have additional art form funding partners. Further information can be accessed from the 'Related Sites' section of this page.

Create:Networks Fund

This fund is to help organisations, creative businesses or creative practitioners create new, or develop existing, local creative business networks in Scotland. The fund will support these networks through knowledge sharing, peer-to-peer networking, and business and market development support. Successful applicants will be expected to develop a 12-month programme which establishes a local business network, to support broad-based creative business and market development activity. The network will ultimately deliver public benefit by helping the participating creative practitioners and businesses to grow and become more sustainable.

Further details can be found on the Creative Scotland website which can be accessed from the 'Related Sites' section of this page.

Corra Foundation

On 5 March 2020, Corra Foundation launched its 10-year strategy, which includes a new approach to Henry Duncan Grants, the £1 million a year programme that support grassroots charities in Scotland.

Corra’s strategy centres on strengthening and amplifying people’s voices and power to make change. Reflecting this, the strategy was developed with input from charities who said they wanted funding that comes with trust and time. In response, Henry Duncan Grants will offer simpler processes, with grants of up to five years, unrestricted wherever possible.

Over the coming decade Corra believes the power to create change rests with people themselves. Corra’s role is to ensure that people with ideas for radical change are supported, skilled, connected and confident.

For further information visit their website, which can be accessed from the 'Related Sites' section of this page.

General Charitable Trust

The Orkney Islands Council General Charitable Trust manages funds that were bequeathed by individuals and families for good causes.

Small grants can be awarded by the Trust to help projects that advance and promote educational activities and applications are open to anyone – individuals, groups, charities, schools etc.

To find out more about the Orkney Islands Council General Charitable Trust – and how to apply for grant aid - contact Avril Litts by email.

Innovation and Entrepreneurship

A range of funding opportunities in relation to innovation and entrepreneurship is available from a variety of external sources, including:

Further information on all of the above is available on their websites which can be accessed from the ‘Related Sites’ section of this page.

Further Information

For further information about any of the above details, please contact Emma Gee, Arts Officer:

Address: Education, Leisure and Housing, Council Offices, Kirkwall, Orkney, KW15 1NY.

Telephone: 01856873535 extension 2406.

Email: Emma Gee.

Related Links

Related Sites

School Place, Kirkwall, Orkney, KW15 1NY

Telephone: 01856 873535

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Orkney Islands Council: BOREAS DOMUS MARE AMICUS