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Arts Opportunities and Funding

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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:

  • Arts.
  • Heritage.
  • Language, i.e. Orkney dialect.

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.  

You can apply online using the button below and guidance notes are available in PDF format from the 'Related Downloads' section of this page. 

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.

Visual Artist and Craft Maker Awards

Visual Artist and Craft Maker Award (VACMA) 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 Highlands and Islands Enterprise (HIE).  

In place of usual VACMA awards, this year fixed bursaries are available in recognition of the ongoing impacts of COVID-19 on individual artists and makers. The VACMA scheme offers two levels of bursaries:  

  • Bursaries of £750  
  • Bursaries of £500 for New Graduates / Emerging Artists. Applicants must have less than 5 years’ experience outside of education or training or to have graduated in 2015 or later.  

The fund is open to Visual Artists /Craft Makers who can demonstrate a commitment to developing their creative practice and are living or working or maintaining a studio space within the Local Authority area to which you are applying.

Find out more

For further information regarding eligibility please watch the online presentation at

Orkney Islands Council will be also be running an online VACMA Event on Wednesday 2 December from 7pm to 8.30pm.  Email to register your interest >


The next deadline will be Tuesday 2 February 2021Guidance and application form is available in the 'Related Downloads' section of this page.

Case Studies

To find out about previous artists who have received funding, visit the Case Studies section. This can be accessed from the 'Related Links' section of this page.

Creative Scotland Youth Arts Emergency Funding

Creative Scotland have released new funds to support project activity with children and young people.

Youth Arts Small Grants Scheme

The Small Grants Schemeallows organisations and local authorities based in Scotland to apply for a small grants funding pot of up to £50,000 to distribute grants of £500–£5,000 directly to freelance artists/creative practitioners (locally, regionally or nationally), across all art forms, to deliver artist led youth arts activities. 

The Scheme will support organisations to take ownership of the distribution of funding to youth arts practitioners to meet the needs of young people in their sector or local area. The fund also aims to strengthen and broaden organisations’ connections with youth arts practitioners.

To apply organisations must have the capacity to manage and disperse a small grants fund by March 2021 (up to 20% management fee can be applied for) and be networked with a range of freelance artists.  Deadline for applications is Monday 2nd November 2020.

Youth Arts Access Fund

The Access Fund offers grants of between £5k and £30k to individuals and organisations based in Scotland who run youth arts programmes to support activity from March 2021 onwards. Examples of activities that this fund may support are group based activity, youth led projects, project activity working across early learning, schools and other family support and community settings. 

Applications that propose specific actions and partnerships to tackle inequality by engaging with vulnerable groups of children and young people will be prioritised. Please see our website for further information. Deadline for applications is Thursday 12th November 2020. 

If you would like to talk to someone at Creative Scotland about these opportunities, please contact

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.

Innovation and Entrepreneurship

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

  • SFC Innovation Vouchers.
  • HIE Innovate your Business.
  • Knowledge Transfer Partnership (KTP).
  • UK Research and Innovation (UKRI).
  • Innovate UK.
  • Scottish Institute for Enterprise.
  • UHI Business Idea Competition.
  • Converge Challenge.
  • RSE Enterprise Fellowships.

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