Megan wins Young Arts Bursary
In 2016 the South West Scotland Decorative and Fine Arts Society (SWSDFAS) offered a Young Arts bursary of £500 to any final year school student applying to an art course in the next academic year at university or college. This was the first time that the bursary had been offered by the society and Committee members were delighted with the response and high standards of the entries from schools across the region, and also to find a clear winner in Megan Nodwell. Seventeen year-old Megan attended Lockerbie Academy where she was encouraged by her art teacher to apply for the Young Arts Bursary.
Megan specialises in designing and making jewellery and she submitted a portfolio of designs that she had created as part of her Advanced Higher course at school. She was ‘shocked and surprised’ when she was told of her success and said, “I am really excited to have been awarded the £500 bursary, which I am going to use to purchase new silver plating equipment”. Megan now attends Dumfries and Galloway College, which is on the same campus as the SWSDFAS meeting hall, so it was easy for her to slip across to attend the October SWSDFAS lecture – fortuitously on the topic of silver –
and to be presented with her prize by Lady Landale, Honorary President of SWSDFAS.
A few days after the presentation of the Young Arts bursary, we received a plea for help from one of the region’s art teachers, Lisa Bowles, for sponsorship of two art school portfolio workshops run by Julie Read of Portfolio Oomph https://www.portfolio-oomph.com/ and formerly a lecturer at Edinburgh College of Art. Julie runs workshops to help prospective students to prepare portfolios for art school. Janet Brennan, who has taken over from Deirdre Cusack as Young Arts Coordinator for SWSDFAS, dropped in to the first workshop in Castle Douglas.
The students were absolutely absorbed by the task that Julie had set them, as they were when Hilary Alcock, NADFAS trustee and national vice chair, attended the second workshop in Gracefield arts centre in Dumfries. She said, “I thought this portfolio creation workshop was so practical and useful for those school leavers planning to go onto Higher Education and then to work in the Creative Industries, all of which are huge employers of young arts graduates.”
Dumfries and Galloway is a beautiful but sparsely populated area of Scotland (our region of almost 2,500 square miles has a total population of 148,000 – considerably less than that of York), with poor transport links and problems of rural poverty and isolation. Access for students to attend courses and to meet other young people with similar interests are limited, so the workshops were a great opportunity for potential art school applicants to meet up and network. Lisa Bowles, art teacher from Castle Douglas High School, who organised the workshops, wrote to say, “Please pass on a massive vote of thanks to NADFAS for helping us to run the recent Portfolio oomph workshops. It was a great experience for our young people and I know that my students have made vast progress in their thinking since the event. Please relay to your members how much of a difference this has made and how inclusive it made the event. The students would have had to fund any additional/outstanding costs themselves and some would find that difficult. There was representation from at least 9 of the regions secondary schools, region wide.”