16 December 2019 — Announcement

Open call for proposals for Scotland + Venice 2021

The Scotland + Venice partners are beginning preparations for participation in the 59th International Art Exhibition, the Venice Biennale, in 2021. For the artist/s selected, Venice provides a significant opportunity for the development and presentation of new work. For the partners, Venice is an important project that helps to build Scotland’s profile and reputation as an international centre for the visual arts.


We are seeking notes of interest from experienced curators and/or visual arts organisations who will produce an ambitious and imaginative project that will run during the Biennale (May to November 2021).

The selected project should generate:

  • A unique opportunity for the selected artist/s to stage ambitious work, considering the challenges, opportunities and wider context of the Venice Biennale.
  • High impact and visibility within the busy and expansive environment of the Biennale, achieving high levels of audience engagement that will build on the experience of previous projects.
  • Strong and positive critical and professional responses from within Scotland, and crucially, from the rest of the UK and internationally.

In addition, we would expect the following to be achieved:

  • Effective project and budget management, meeting agreed Biennale / partner deadlines and ensuring effective communication and liaison with all those involved in delivery.
  • A warm and informative welcome to all visitors, ensuring that access and other needs are addressed appropriately.
  • A series of professional and career development opportunities that build on the experience gathered through previous projects and the partnerships established with Scotland’s universities, colleges and other sector partners.
  • High public press, media and digital profile within Scotland, the rest of the UK and internationally
  • Public engagement opportunities within Scotland – during the period of the Biennale and beyond – including options to restage and / or tour elements of the project.
  • Increased profile / presence for the visual arts community in Scotland, seizing the opportunity that Venice affords to increase professional interest in the artists and arts organisations based here.
  • Strong, collegiate and co-ordinated liaison with the UK in Venice partners, including the organisers of the British Pavilion and Wales in Venice.

Further information on the partnership aims and values for the project can be found in the strategic background paper provided.

Who can apply

We are seeking proposals from individuals and/or organisations that have the knowledge, ambition and expertise to produce an exceptional project in an intense and critically challenging environment. The partners are keen to build on the experiences of previous projects while being open to fresh perspectives and new approaches.

Applicants need to demonstrate a depth of knowledge and understanding of the visual arts sector in Scotland.  Any applicant from outside Scotland must be able to demonstrate how they will work with key individuals and organisations based here to achieve the best outcomes for the project.

Galleries who represent artists commercially need to demonstrate a clear and strong public benefit in their proposal.

Partnerships and collaborative proposals are welcome.


Creative Scotland has earmarked £350,000 towards this project and there is the possibility of some in-kind support from the partners. The core budget is expected to cover the main project costs including fees to the artist/s and curatorial partners (where applicable), venue and production costs, Biennale registration, and external press/ PR support.

The costs of invigilation should be factored into the budget. In previous years the project has secured funding from various partners to offset these costs, including several universities and colleges.  We see the project as an opportunity to continue to diversify the visual arts workforce in Scotland and encourage applicants to consider new opportunities to strengthen this.

There is an ambition from the partners to grow the core budget through strategic fundraising, but all proposals will need to demonstrate that they can be achieved within the available resources – or show how other funding will be secured by the applicant.  A template budget indicating headline costs has been provided for information.


Scotland + Venice is planning to secure the venue used in 2019 on a four-year rental, enabling more effective and sustainable working practices across the art and architecture projects.  Further information on the venue can be found in the supporting document provided.

Application and selection process

Outline proposals should be completed using the template provided and submitted to Amanda Catto, Head of Visual Arts at amanda.catto@creativescotland.com by 5pm on Friday 14 February, 2020. Whilst we appreciate that artists may not be able to confirm their ability to participate in the project at this early stage, we would ask that applicants have a conversation with any artist/s that they wish to work with to ensure that they are comfortable with being put forward for the opportunity.

A shortlist of a maximum of six proposals will be established and we will invite the selected applicants to discuss these in more detail at an interview to be held in Edinburgh the week of 24 February, 2020.

We expect to hold second interviews the week of 9 March, 2020.

The selection panel will be made up of representatives from the partnership as well as two external advisers.

Information session

To support the application process an information session was held at CCA, Glasgow  on 22 January, 2020.

View and download the presentation from this event in .ppt format.

The evaluation of Scotland + Venice 2009-2017 can be found at creativescotland.com/resources/professional-resources/research/creative-scotland-research/evaluation-of-scotland-venice-2009-2017.

Application documents

Further information