Announcing ART Evolution

ART Evolution is Engage Scotland’s exciting new collaborative and responsive programme supporting young people aged 16 – 25, freelance artists, creative educators and visual arts organisations/galleries as we emerge from the COVID-19 pandemic. 

In April 2021 Engage Scotland undertook a scoping and consultation exercise, to understand what support the visual arts sector needs to ensure inclusive engagement with young people, as it emerges from the COVID-19 pandemic.  The findings from the scoping phase are available in a short report available here.

Programme Overview

The next phase of ART Evolution aims to support the sector to tackle some of the challenges and barriers; but also explore some new ideas/approaches; around engaging young people with the visual arts, as identified in the scoping report.

Engage Scotland will support 3 visual arts organisations/galleries across Scotland to deliver a co-produced project with young people as part of the ART Evolution youth arts programme.  Each partner will deliver an exemplar, youth-led visual arts project that engages with young people aged 16 – 25; including an associated, paid youth traineeship; and fairly-paid opportunities for freelance artists/creative educators.

Projects will focus on at least one of the following criteria around engaging young people with the visual arts (as identified from the scoping phase):

  • Fostering positive mental health and wellbeing
  • Engaging and supporting young people who face barriers to participation that have been exacerbated by the pandemic
  • Using a person-centred/youth-led approach to project design
  • Exploring the outdoors and/or the natural environment as a way of tackling barriers to young people’s engagement with visual art
  • Exploring high-quality, innovative and inclusive approaches to ‘blended engagement’ (i.e. a combination of remote and in-person)
  • Exploring innovative solutions for safe in-person working
  • Reinforcing models of partnership or collaboration with other organisations, e.g. 3rd sector, local authority or other cultural partners

Evaluation and Project Dissemination

A dedicated evaluator will support ART Evolution funded partners to develop a robust project evaluation framework.  Engage Scotland will spread the impact of the work through wider sharing, networking and training opportunities around youth arts for the visual arts sector in Scotland.


ART Evolution aims to:

  • support young people, visual arts organisations/galleries, and freelance artists in Scotland to respond to and recover from the COVID-19 pandemic
  • tackle some of the pre-existing concerns around youth arts engagement with the visual arts that have been exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic
  • enhance the current capacity of the youth arts infrastructure within the visual arts/gallery sector in Scotland
  • demonstrate new, innovative and creative models of working with young people, with a particular focus on tackling inequality, and in response to further barriers to engagement with the visual arts created by the COVID-19 pandemic.

The anticipated outcomes of ART Evolution are:

  • organisations in the visual arts/gallery sector are more confident in offering creative visual arts opportunities for the benefit of young people as the sector responds to and recovers from the COVID-19 pandemic
  • young people who would not normally participate have the chance to take part in enjoyable and high-quality visual arts activities
  • young people develop their skills for life, learning and work in and through the visual arts
  • freelancers/creative practitioners are more confident and skilled up in engaging young people with the visual arts
  • the visual arts sector as a whole benefits from:
  • updated/refreshed models of good practice in youth arts in the visual arts
  • a legacy of youth arts resources/case studies is shared via the Engage website.

We are seeking proposals from visual arts organisations / galleries across Scotland to deliver a co-produced project with young people as part of Art Evolution. To find out more please visit this webpage.


ART Evolution is supported by Creative Scotland. One of the three ART Evolution projects will be supported by The Fleming Collection.

About The Fleming Collection and the Fleming-Wyfold Art Foundation

The Fleming Collection dates back to 1968 when investment bank Robert Fleming & Co, which had been founded by Dundonian, Robert Fleming, in 1873, began to acquire Scottish art to hang in its offices worldwide.  At the time Scottish painting was seriously underrated in terms of British art presenting marvellous opportunities for the collection. This resulted in museum quality works being acquired from the very start. Today, the Fleming Collection is considered the finest collection of Scottish art outside public institutions comprising over 600 works from the seventeenth century to the present day. It remains a living collection with an active acquisitions policy.

Following the sale of the bank in 2000, the collection was vested, under the guidance of the family, in the Fleming-Wyfold Art Foundation. The Foundation furthers an understanding and awareness of Scottish art and creativity across the UK and beyond through exhibitions, events, publishing and education. Its Museum without Walls strategy uses the collection to initiate touring exhibitions of Scottish art, such as the Glasgow Girls and Boys and the Scottish Colourists, through partnerships with public museums, art galleries and institutions.

Find out more about the work of the Fleming Collection and the Fleming-Wyfold Art Foundation here.


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

You can see more information about previous Engage Scotland work with galleries and children and young people.

You can find more information about Engage.