Arts Open

What is Arts Open?

Arts Open is a new initiative to help artists from refugee backgrounds show their work as part of Refugee Festival Scotland.  

Every year Scottish Refugee Council organises events to run alongside the festival’s open programme.  

Arts Open will provide three artists who have lived experience of the refugee and asylum system with funding and support to help them present their work in Scotland for the first time. 

We are interested in platforming work from a range of disciplines, from visual arts, film and performance to spoken word, crafts, design and music production.  

Arts Open aims to nurture fresh talent and support the professional and creative development of New Scot artists by enabling people to share their existing work with new audiences in Scotland.  

Please note that applications for Arts Open are now closed. The programme will open again in January to support events as part of Refugee Festival Scotland 2025. 

Who can apply?

This opportunity is for artists from refugee and asylum-seeking backgrounds who are currently living in Scotland. It does not matter how long you have been based here. 

Applications are open to: 

  • Individuals and groups 
  • Both self-taught and academically trained artists 
  • People working in all artforms and creative disciplines  

We will prioritise applications from artists who have had little or no opportunity to present their work in Scotland and are in the early stages of developing connections with creative networks. 

How does it work?

The three successful artists will receive funding and support to present their work at a Refugee Festival Scotland event.  

Depending on the nature of the work and venue, this may take the form of a performance, workshop, installation, publication, exhibition or digital presentation.  

The fund is designed to help people showcase existing work to new audiences in Scotland but can support people to develop and present small projects or micro-commissions if necessary. Proposals will need to be adapted to the budget provided.  

The festival team will work alongside each artist on a case-by-case basis to collaboratively develop their event. 

If successful, you will receive: 

  • A grant of £1,000 for materials, expenses and other production costs  
  • Up to £500 for venue costs (including technical support if applicable)*   
  • A separate budget for accessibility, if required    
  • Support with event planning, delivery and promotion 
  • A listing in the Refugee Festival Scotland programme  

How to apply 

To be considered for this opportunity, please complete this form.  

You will be asked to provide a biography, a short event proposal that fits with our 2024 festival theme – RISE, and examples of your work  

The deadline for applications is 12 noon on Friday, 1 March. 

If you have any questions or would like to submit your application in an alternative format, please email    

Selection process

Applications will be judged according to the following criteria: 

  • Artistic quality 
  • The feasibility of the proposal 
  • Potential for professional development 

Submissions will be reviewed by the Refugee Festival Scotland team in collaboration with artist Fadzai Mwakutuya as guest selector.  

The three successful artists will be notified by 31 March.  

Unfortunately, we are not able to provide unsuccessful applicants with individual feedback.