Engage Scotland

Engage Scotland represents the Scottish body of Engage members, responding to training and networking needs within gallery education with a Scottish focus.

Improving access to galleries for visually impaired people

As part of Engage Scotland’s response to the Covid-19 pandemic, and the associated shutdown of the gallery sector, we supported Kirin Saeed, a visually impaired disability training specialist, to buddy up with the community engagement team at the National Galleries of Scotland, (NGS), in Edinburgh, during the summer of 2020. This micro project saw Kirin work with Meg Faragher, Communities Learning Coordinator in the Learning and Engagement Department, and other colleagues, as NGS sought to maintain existing links with visually impaired audiences and adapt their programmes to offer ongoing access for visually impaired people at this challenging time.

Engage Scotland have received funding from Creative Scotland to develop a collaborative programme that supports young people aged 16-25, visual arts organisations/galleries, and freelance artists in Scotland, to respond to and recover from the Covid-19 pandemic. 

We are particularly interested to understand how we can support the sector to breakdown pre-existing barriers to youth engagement with the visual arts, that have been exacerbated by Covid-19. 

The survey is now closed, thank you to everyone who submitted. We will use the responses to this survey to inform the detail and structure of our youth arts project programme. 

Find us on Twitter @YouthArtsScot #YouthArtsSurvey to see the youth arts project that follows the survey.


Not going back to normal: Manifesto launch from Collective

New disabled artists manifesto

A new manifesto calling for radical change in the arts was launched last year. Not going back to normal has been created following an open call out to disabled artists. Published as a website and a book, the project combines visual art, poetry, manifestos and more, and includes contributions from 47 contemporary disabled artists living in Scotland.

During the COVID-19 lockdown, the world suddenly became interested in isolation, exclusion, and distance communication – issues which disabled people have experienced long before the pandemic. As the country locked down, disabled artists in Scotland were asked to re-imagine what ‘normal’ might look like in a radically accessible arts world.

Artists Harry Josephine Giles and Sasha Saben Callaghan have brought together contributions of art and ideas which show what the arts in Scotland could and should be like for disabled artists in the post-pandemic era.

Not going back to normal manifesto can be found here: https://www.notgoingbacktonormal.com/

About Not going back to normal

Not going back to normal was commissioned by a consortium of visual art organisations working together to address barriers faced by disabled artists in Scotland, made up of; Arika, Artlink, CCA, Collective (project producers), DCA, Glasgow School of Art Exhibitions, Project Ability, Scottish Sculpture Workshop.

The project is funded by Creative Scotland and Engage Scotland, and is independently managed and curated.

COVID-19 Update 

In response to the latest government guidance relating to COVID-19 (or Coronavirus), and in order to prioritise the health and wellbeing of our members, audiences and staff, Engage has made the following changes to our operations.   

The Engage Scotland Coordinator continues to work from home and the Engage Head Office team are now working remotely. Engage will continue to advocate for the gallery and visual arts education sector across the UK and internationally. 

Read more about Engage’s COVID-19 response here. 

COVID-19 support resources

Please get in touch if you have any suggestions for us at this time by emailing scotland@engage.org  

Engage Scotland, SCAN and the Scottish Artists Union launch Visual Arts Manifesto

Front page of the Visual Art Manifest

Engage Scotland has joined forces with the Scottish Contemporary Art Network and the Scottish Artists Union to create a 19 point manifesto focusing on workers’ rights and diversity in the visual arts. 

The Visual Arts Manifesto has been launched as a direct response to the current challenges facing the art sector as a whole and is our first public response to the new National Culture Strategy consultation process. 

The Manifesto sets out our policy demands but also our collective commitment to positive change. This vision and set of ambitions for the sector will help ensure that we maintain Scotland’s global reputation as a dynamic, innovative place for contemporary visual arts.