2022 recipients

10 people were awarded Bursaries in 2022, in the first year of the Stephen Palmer Travel Bursary Fund. Below you can find information about each project, and we’ll be adding case studies of some of the projects.

Case Study: Joey Simons

Glasgow based Joey Simons travelled to Great Yarmouth, where he worked with local artists and poets to explore shared elements of radical history, a critique of ‘the city of culture’, and experimental writing practices. On the way, he followed the pedlar poet James Macfarlane’s 1852 tramp along the Great North Road.

With the support of the Stephen Palmer Travel Bursary, I was able to travel to London and Great Yarmouth in June 2022 on a trip that has been extremely productive for my practice. The grant was crucial in allowing me to take time off work, travel beyond Scotland for the first time in three years, and meet  in-person with writers, artists and archivists whom I worked with online throughout the pandemic.  

In London, I attended the launch of the Stuart Christie Memorial Archive at the MayDay Rooms, where a specially-commissioned stained glass window was unveiled by the Glasgow artist Keira McLean, a frequent collaborator. Archivists from the MayDay Rooms have previously led online workshops I organised for the Glasgow Housing Struggle Archive, and the event was a great opportunity to develop plans for MayDay Rooms to host archival exhibitions and workshops in Glasgow next year. I also had the chance to meet John Barker, whose politics, writings and design work have greatly influenced my own practice. 

In Great Yarmouth, I met with the writer and poet Lotte L.S. and the filmmaker Karl Trosclair, who together run the Colossal Youth social centre on King Street. I attended the premier of Karl’s documentary ‘A Love Letter to Row 116’ at the originalprojects space, and discussed Lotte’s accompanying written piece reflecting on collective life and the State’s desire to decimate it, as well as creative approaches to micro-histories, archives and montage. 

I incorporated these discussions into a public creative writing workshop at Colossal Youth, and attended by a diverse range of writers and non-writers from Great Yarmouth, Norwich and poets from the local Afro-Portuguese community. Together, we experimented with derives, cut-up techniques, and automatic writing themed around shared histories of urban development and radical history in Glasgow and Great Yarmouth. Some incredible writing was produced, and I have since run similar workshops with Platform, the GWL, Living Rent and others. 

The trip also allowed me to learn more about Lotte’s Red Herring Press, and discuss ideas for future publications based on my ongoing work around hidden histories of rioting in Scotland, and the pedlar poet James Macfarlan.  

Case Study: Ayla Dmyterko

Ukrainian Canadian artist and educator, Ayla Dmyterko travelled from Glasgow to the Cairngorm Forest to embark on a residency at the Inshriach Bothy. Its nature provided time and space to reflect upon a new body of work called Filling in the Frescoes. The artist aimed for the project to iterate across moving image, textiles, painting and text.

My time at the Inshriach Bothy in the Cairngorm Forest was filled with contemplation and exploring. While there, I completed two new oil paintings that synchronised with the shadows of the autumnal skies and molybydomancy – a form of divination I am currently researching. In tandem, I read around colour theory, texts by Derek Jarman, Wassily Kandinsky, and Goethe to contemplate my own auto-theoretical stance as a female painter. These paintings were presented a week later at Art Toronto by Galerie Pangée.

Prior to travels, I visited the Scottish Opera’s costume department and worked with one of their seamstresses to find the right crinolines in their archive for my film. I packed two of these, and enjoyed scouting locations around Loch Uaine and the Inshriach Forest. I did several shots of myself in the crinolines in these locations for my upcoming film.

This process led me to a major realization for my moving image practice, which conceptually resonates as well. As I am often interested in intra-cultural congregations and dialogue, in the future, I will also implement this practically when possible. Taking on the role as director of photography, costume design, actor, dancer, editor, producer and writer, I have realized, is not reasonable. Without my time at the residency attempting this, I would not have learned this imperative lesson to my working ethics and to the success of my upcoming film.

My favourite part of the residency was making my own fire every morning.

Case Study: Sasha Saben Callaghan

Sasha Saben Callaghan’s project ‘Breath. Blood. Bone.’ is based on the true story of a lost fortune and a family torn apart by a pandemic. The Stephen Palmer Bursary enabled Sasha to visit archives in London and Kent and put together the final clues in a real-life mystery.

I was delighted to receive a Stephen Palmer Travel Bursary to conduct further research on my visual art project ‘Breath. Blood. Bone.’, about the events leading up to the mysterious suicide of Edward Henry (Harry) Place in 1904, and what happened next.

I’d been piecing together Harry’s story over the previous two years and had got to the point where there were no more easy answers. Yes, a lot of records are available online and the number increases every day, but it will take ages before every document is digitised.  

This was certainly true of many of the records concerning Harry’s family, so in October 2022 I used the bursary to visit the London Metropolitan Archives in Clerkenwell which I knew held records of the orphanage Harry’s sister, Rosalind, was sent to after the death of their parents, Matthew and Emma Place from tuberculosis.

With the help of the archive team, I found an engraving of The School of Industry for Girls at Saint John’s Wood and also established that the Westminster Archives has floor plans of the institution.  

I’d previously seen the will of Harry’s great grandfather, Matthias Place – it goes on for pages of handwritten instructions and codicils. Fortunately, LMA has large viewing screens, and I was able to read it properly for the first time. This meant I could find Matthias’s exact address and see that he made the bequest which paid for Harry’s father to train as a ‘surgeon dentist’.   

I also visited the Old Folkestone Cemetery in Cheriton where many of the Place family are buried. Thanks to Carole and Karl from the Friends of Old Folkestone Cemetery, we located the graves of Matthew and Emma and confirmed that five of Harry’s brothers and sisters are buried in the Childrens’ Plots.  

Lastly, a major surprise. One of Harry’s siblings, John Percy Place, was in fact his twin brother who died when he was seven. Another piece of the puzzle solved.  

Since making the visits to London and Kent, I’ve discovered Harry had a baby sister, Bertha. She was adopted by a neighbouring family who changed her name to Daisy Fraser when they moved to Eastbourne. It was wonderful to learn that Daisy lived until she was 89. After all those dead Place children, one survived to an apparently happy old age.  

Preparation for ‘Breath. Blood. Bone.’ is now in its final stages. All the artwork is complete and includes thirty-four portraits of members of the extended Place family plus ten mixed media works incorporating newspaper articles, maps, photographs and engravings related to Harry’s life and death. The pieces will form my first solo exhibition and with the support of Disability Arts Online, I am hoping to identify suitable gallery space for late 2023 – early 2024.  

There are still huge gaps in the narrative; The mystery of what happened to Harry from the age of seven until his early teens, the disappearance of his wife, the elusive Emma Sarah, his uncle Henry’s prison records and more. I’ll keep looking but the creative part of the search is done and has been helped immensely by the bursary.  

The other 2022 recipients are:

Alison Scott based in Arbroath, undertakes projects which are focused on climate, energy politics, embodied experiences of weather, the idea of the commons and collaborative learning. Alison used the fund to further explore these ideas and provide inspiration for how she might build projects in the future, particularly out with the central belt.

Clay AD is researching examples of queer non-hierarchical radical community. Asking what makes a community in the first place, who is included and who not and what sort of strategies have worked overtime to build strong ties and kinship bond. Clay used the bursary to travel to queer archives in the UK.

Lumsden based Alexis Zafiropoulos visited a host of organisations across the UK that focus on community learning and radical education. Of the award they said:

“I am honoured to receive this Stephen Palmer Travel Award and I am excited to learn more about how specialist making skills are shared in non-hierarchical, innovative and inclusive ways. I am really looking forward to this, it’s going be invaluable to me and a great honour to undertake this in Stephen’s memory.”

Olivia Irvine made a study visit from Edinburgh to Gloucestershire and Oxfordshire to see frescoes and make drawings from them.  She visited the churches of Saint Mary’s, Kempley, and Saint Mary’s, Chalgrove, as well as spending time in the Ashmolean Museum in Oxford where there are artefacts from Knossos, Crete.

Hannah Edward travelled from Glasgow to explore places of Queer history and resonance, gathering recordings and reflections for a moving image work. She approached this exploration from a somatic standpoint, to being and making space for healing embodied trauma and internalised homophobia, as a result of Section 28.   

Emily Price visited institutions, practitioners and projects that adhere to Arte Útil including Tŷ Pawb in Wrexham. Arte Útil translates as ‘useful art’ but goes further suggesting art as a tool or device. It draws on artistic thinking to imagine, create and implement tactics that change how we act in society.

Rachel Walker made visits to artist projects, growing spaces and communities around the country to meet with and discuss practices of ‘artist as gardener’, alternative food economies and the creative practice(s) of radical urban horticulture.