Ceramic Sculpture Bursary – call for applications

Applicant Notice: 

Recent changes in pandemic restrictions mean that we have had to adjust the selection process and plans for the Ceramic Sculpture Bursary. We have contacted all applicants by email about this and will be in touch again at the end of January with the outcome of the selection process.
The panel for the selection is Charlotte Barker and Kjersti Sletteland, artists and studio holders at ESW and Debi Banerjee and Ash Lim who are ESW team members.

Ceramic Sculpture Bursary – call for applications

Edinburgh Sculpture Workshop is delighted to announce that we a looking for applications from artists for three new Ceramic Sculpture Bursaries.

ESW has established the Ceramic Sculpture Bursary to support a cohort of artists to develop their skills to push at the boundaries of both their individual practice and contemporary ceramics practice.

Led by Charlotte Barker, an ESW Studio Holder and experienced ceramic artist and running between late January and April 2021, the programme is structured to give key technical insight as well as provide the right environment to develop new skills and follow through individual projects. You will also receive support from other ESW staff in a way which is tailored to your development.

Deadline: 30 December 2020 at midnight

Start Date: End of January

Time Commitment: 3 days per week for 16 weeks

1 set day per week with the Ceramics Bursary Cohort which is one morning of instruction and the afternoon working directly on new skills.

Equivalent of 2-3 days commitment to your own projects, you will be able to use ESW facilities in a similar way to a Studio or Project Space Holder (24/7 access) and will have a workspace allocated to you, more details below.

Bursary: £3000

Number of Places: 3

Eligibility: Visual Artists who will be in Edinburgh for the duration of the Bursary period. Students are not eligible to apply.

Details of the Bursary Support:

The bursary is in place to enable selected artists to commit time to the programme, to support the development of their skills and enable them to realise their projects.

ESW will additionally provide a base line of materials and a set number of shared firings. The rest of the arrangement is similar to being a Project Space Holder which means that you have a fob and 24 hour access, you don’t need to pay daily session fees (only machine use and consumables are additional).

Application Process

Please send us one PDF which contains the following:

–       Your name, contact info including web links

–        50 word bio

–       Brief CV information.

–       Up to 200 word description of your interest in ceramics and the project areas you would like to explore (you don’t have to have prior ceramics experience but please do mention what level of knowledge you currently have).

–       3 – 6 images of your work with image credits.

The PDF file name should be: YourFullName_CeramicsBursary21.pdf

It should not exceed 8mb in total.

Please email this to laura@edinburghsculpture.org with subject line Ceramic Sculpture Bursary.

We are promoting this opportunity widely and expect applications from people who have already been involved with ESW and those who have not yet worked here. We are actively seeking applications from disabled and Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic artists and others who are underrepresented within visual art or are experiencing barriers, particularly socio-economic issues, in continuing to develop their practice.

The places will be selected on the artist’s work and their strategy for developing their practice within the programme, taking into account what we can offer and the fit with that artist’s plans.

Selection Panel: Final names to be confirmed and will include one or two ESW staff members and one to two artists, including an ESW Member.


Deadline for applications: 30 December 2020 at midnight

Candidates Notified of Selection: 10 January 2021

Remote Meeting and Introductory Session: 27 January 2021

Then weekly until April.

Further Support in Making Your Application

If you would like to discuss this opportunity with Laura Simpson in advance of making an application please get in contact by email (with subject line Ceramic Sculpture Bursary) and she will be able to respond before the 30 December 2020 deadline.

ESW has adapted access protocol in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. You can read more about the current arrangements on this page. This will be updated regularly in line with government guidance. You can read the current guidance specifically for Studios and Shared Workspaces here.

We are continuing to adapt the systems and infrastructure of our organisation to meet the needs of our communities in respect to the pandemic. This project is a new model which we have developed to make sure we are continuing to support artists and freelancers despite some previous models of activity being on hold.

The Bursary will be paid on receipt of invoice at agreed instalment times, you would be responsible for your own tax and NI.

There’s a set of Frequently Asked Questions at the base of this information.

Charlotte Barker (b.1986, North Yorkshire) graduated with MA Ceramics from Royal College of Art in 2015 and Glasgow School of Art in 2010. Barker is a sculptor working primarily in ceramics. She is interested in the painterly properties of the ceramic surface and playing with the viewer’s perception of material qualities. She coils and slab-builds her work and enjoys experimenting with the ceramics surface, pouring glaze, breaking work and collaging it back together in the kiln. Barker is a Studio Holder at ESW and has previous experience of working within the courses programme here, including leading a recent School of Sideways Sculpture programme which focused on building up specific ceramic techniques. You can watch a video about Barker’s exhibition at ESW in 2017 here.



Do I have to be based in Edinburgh to be eligible?

We have included the clause “Visual Artists who will be in Edinburgh for the duration of the Bursary period.” for several reasons, including the COVID-19 restrictions and potential restrictions which are likely to include issues to do with zoning, tiers and controls on travel. The Ceramic Sculpture Bursary plan is for artists who can be in Edinburgh for the whole time – this is stated so that we do not encounter problems with travel bans or feel like we are going against the spirit of the guidance, as well as thinking about the bursary recipient and ESW other users’ safety. It’s also there so the artists know not to apply if they have a big commitment / trip away within the bursary dates. Please add any notes about what this would mean for you in the application so we can understand the situation.

I have a holiday or work trip scheduled during the Bursary dates, is that ok?

No, as mentioned in the phrase used above, you need to be available to make full use of the Bursary for the duration of the period.

I am interested in ceramics but not in sculpture, is this right for me?

This Bursary is specifically for working in sculpture using ceramics processes and materials.

I don’t have a degree, does that matter?

For this opportunity we are open to receiving applications from anyone who can demonstrate their commitment to their artistic practice regardless of if you have done a formal degree at art school or not.

I have never done ceramics, will this be a problem?

No, you don’t need a set of ceramics skills or established knowledge before starting. We are interested in how you think you can use ceramics within your work and your commitment to learning.

I have some ceramics skills already and / or I have been using ceramics in my work for a while, am I still eligible?

No, you can still apply and as with any other applications we will be looking at how you want to develop your work and practice further.

Does it matter that I’ve not been to ESW before?

No, we understand that artists who know ESW well and those who don’t will equally want to apply. The opportunity is open to all artists who meet the eligibility including ESW Members and Studio Holders.

I have difficulty with formal application processes, can you help me?

Yes, we have tried to give a simple structure to the application process but are also open to considering applications in different formats, for example you could submit images or links to images along with a recording of you covering the points relevant to the application (i.e. the requirements described). Please get in touch before 28 December to discuss this.

I have emailed a question but haven’t received a response. What’s happening?

Taking into account the holidays we have set specific times to respond to enquiries. If you emailed before 18 December 2020 you should have received a response already but if you have not, please resend the email. If you emailed after 18 December you will receive a response on 28 or 29 December 2020. The contact email is laura@edinburghsculpture.org. If you need to speak on the phone please state that in your email and include your phone number.

I have submitted an application but haven’t received a confirmation, can you tell me if you have received it?

Yes. If you have emailed your application before 29 December 2020 you will receive a confirmation on 29 December 2020, by the end of the day. If you email your application after that date you will receive a confirmation but not until after the deadline.


Image top: Paula Doherty.

Below images: Mira Heydari-Waite working in the Ceramics Workshop, March 2020; Caroline Achaintre exhibition made at ESW in 2019; ESW Ceramics Workshop and two images of Charlotte Barker’s exhibition Flottila which took place at ESW in 2017.

Artist Mina Heydari-Waite in foreground holding two recently fired artworks, white stoneware vases made from slip cast moulds
Four glazed ceramic wall pieces are in a row at varying heights, they each look like different masks and have repeat patterns like scales
Two work tables sit together in the centre of a workshop with plaster slip cast moulds sitting on top of them
Small green kiln in foreground and large blue kiln in background