Scanning the Year 2022

Artists Make a Better World

We’re thrilled with this year’s Christmas card, created for us by artist Morwenna Kearsley. The message inside to our friends, funders, and every MSP in Scotland, is that “artists make a better world”.

We know that artists’ voices, art spaces, and artistic opportunities make a huge contribution to Scotland. The SCAN team will continue to do all that we can to ensure that the voices of artists, arts organisations and cultural workers are heard.

As the year comes to a close, we wanted to share the work we’ve undertaken in partnership with our amazing membership. As we look ahead to 2023, we’d love to welcome more of you among our growing community. Find out how to join us here.


SCAN Christmas Card. Morwenna Kearsley, 2022.

Keeping contemporary art connected

We’ve kept our members connected and supported in another challenging year. SCAN aims to connect, champion and cultivate Scotland’s contemporary art community. With more than 300 named members across 26 of Scotland’s local authority areas, SCAN’s network can be found at the heart of communities from Shetland to the Scottish Borders and from East Lothian to the Western Isles. SCAN members include Scotland’s galleries, artists’ studios, workshops and production facilities and a highly skilled workforce of artists, art workers and creative thinkers.

We amplified our members voices and activities to more than 25k followers on our social channels, and more than 2000 regular recipients of SCAN circular, our regular newsletters as well as targeted advocacy and policy updates for our members, and we sent bulletins to MSPs sharing the work the arts community does in their constituencies. Across social media our two annual digital campaigns #ArtUnlocks and #UnwrapArt shared the amazing work that artists and arts organisations do every day.


MSPs visiting our members for #ArtUnlocks 2022.

A champion for contemporary art

It’s been quite a year, from the consequences of the Omicron variant of Covid to the escalation of the Costs Crisis, we’ve attended the Cross Party Group on Culture, given evidence to parliament, briefed MSPs about the cost of living, met with ministers and shared your needs with policy makers and the press.

During the local government elections, we worked with colleagues across culture and heritage to champion the contribution of the arts through our joint manifesto.

We met with Scottish Government officials regularly to share our members’ needs, and worked with UK partners such as the visual arts alliance and CVAN. We’re part of Culture Counts, the culture and heritage network that drives policy and advocacy, attending core members meetings. Our director Moira Jeffrey currently chairs the steering group.


Sam Ainsley in her studio, 2022. Photo: Alexander Hoyles.


Our annual #ArtUnlocks campaign reached MSPs from the Isle of Bute to the Moray coast, and from rural fife to Aberdeen, bringing members together with MSPs to hear how art and artists work, sharing achievements and challenges.

Our press and digital campaign reached the major newspapers and websites and we were pleased that one of Scotland’s leading artists and best-loved educators Sam Ainsley, wrote this beautiful column for The Herald newspaper on why and how art asks questions and shares joy.

The campaign ended with a wonderful evening at the Scottish parliament hosted by Jenni Minto MSP, where more than 70 SCAN members, funders and friends shared their achievements and listened to a rousing and challenging speech from artist Alberta Whittle.


Artist Alberta Whittle gives a speech at our #ArtUnlocks Parliamentary event. November 2022. Photo: Julie Howden.

Support for artists and art workers

At SCAN we’re not a regular funder, but we know we are lucky to receive public support and try to share our resources and activities in targeted ways that support our commitments to equity and sustainability.

This year we led a session at the charity sectors annual Gathering to help more than 30 charities from across Scotland learn how they could work with artists to support the push to net zero. Our Mandate Climate Action Fund, in partnership with ENGAGE Scotland, provided funds to support three new projects on the ground from support for art educators in Edinburgh to a programme of community building in Oban. SCAN members in Edinburgh and Glasgow also accessed free bike maintenance lessons.

We launched our important SCAN Sparks report on the grassroots and equalities-focused working in the contemporary art sector, learning from the experiences of change-makers across Scotland who have created grassroots projects that support the practices of marginalised artists and communities. We were thrilled that for the final stage of our SCAN Sparks project we have been able to support four projects through our seed fund for collaborative, self-initiated visual arts activity led by Black people and People of Colour in Scotland. Natasha Ruwona, explored the experiences of Black people in nature through a walking group, Listen Gallery, collaborated with Sunshine Books to host a one day public event providing Iraqi food, esoteric books, and improvised sound performances. Wacera Kamonji and Tanatsei Gambura, created new work for a black women-led festival in Berlin and Sahar Abdulla worked with Syrian refugees in Aberdeen to create a recipe book.

As part of our commitment to career development in contemporary art we were proud to support artist Joanne Lee from Glasgow to work as an information assistant for four week at the Venice Biennale at part of the Scotland and Venice professional development programme. Joanne was one of a team of early career artists hosting visitors at Alberta Whittle’s presentation.

Our membership training included skilling up our members on the Scottish Government’s Fair Work Framework, sharing the expertise of Neuk Collective in how to support working with neurodivergent artists and sharing our anti-racism journey with SCAN members through an intense and life-changing 6-week training programme for cultural workers with Naomi Shoba and Laurie Brown.


Emma Campbell and Laura O’Connor of Array Collective at our Annual General Meeting 2022.

Cultivating our community

Over the summer we were proud to work with our partners at Festivals Edinburgh, Edinburgh Art Festival and British Council Scotland, hosting a group of curators from around the world to learn about what was best about art in and from Scotland. We showed our guests, who included Melanie Kress from the Highline in New York to Julia Paoli from Toronto’s Mercer Union, the fruits of the Edinburgh Art Festival and shared artists’ work beyond the city, from studio visits David Dale in Glasgow to a keynote talk from artist Hanna Tuulikki about her incredible “bat rave” at Hospitalfield near Arbroath.

As we welcomed the festival’s new director Kim McAleese to Scotland, we hosted an online conversation between Kim and Turner Prize winners Array Collective for SCAN members at our AGM.

Our support for collections continued with a series of events and workshops for our Curatorial Leadership in Collection network, including a tour of the newly-refurbished Burrell collection, and support for curators and producers in the North of Scotland, through Taisbean for new project activities in Orkney and the Western Isles.


SCAN Summit 2022. Photo: Eoin Carey.


Our SCAN Summit, tackled tough issues and created debate as we looked at the role of culture in times of violence. We welcomed powerful contributions from our guests and invigorating talks from speakers including Lara Khaldi, the incoming artistic director of De Appel in Amsterdam.

We’d be nothing without the support and friendship of our members, who inspire us everyday with their energy, innovation and expertise. We look forward to sharing their brilliant work with you in 2023.

We’d like to thank our funders and partners this year who include Creative Scotland, Art Fund, Museums, Galleries Scotland, Engage (Scotland) William Grant Foundation, British Council (Scotland) and Cycling Scotland


To find out more about contemporary art in Scotland, you can join our mailing list via our website.