Please click on each question below to read the response. We will add further FAQs to this page as we receive queries, so please keep checking back.

flip Artists is an initiative looking for the next generation of disabled artists in Scotland.

flip Artists is supported by the Esmée Fairbairn Foundation in partnership with high profile arts organisations in Scotland. Together we are offering 8 – 10 learning and development opportunities to artists to develop their artistic practice or career through a supported programme of mentoring and training.

We will also showcase work created during the individual development programmes to create opportunities and networks, and work with the wider sector to remove persistent barriers that exist for disabled people in the arts.

We want to find and support emerging disabled talent in Scotland.

There are many great high profile disabled artists working in Scotland and across the UK but it is less clear where the next generation are coming from. flip Artists want to find artists facing barriers to realising their full potential due to being disabled or experiencing long-term health conditions.

flip Artists will also exist to build on the learning that has happened over the last ten years, both through disability arts focused initiatives and the achievements of individual artists.

Applications and selection will take place in October – December of 2014 and in 2015 the artists will undertake a six month development period. Sharing of work and evaluation will take place between June – July 2015.
Development activity and support will be tailored around each individual artist, bespoke learning and development needs, and will be responsive to any access requirements you have. Individual programmes will be developed by flip, in collaboration with each artist and with input from the Steering Group, to devise a programme of activity that responds to ideas and training needs.

Artists’ programmes may include mentoring, peer support, shadowing, training, ideas development or work experience – whatever is required to unlock your potential as a professional artist. It is anticipated that all artists will have opportunities to showcase work that has been developed or enriched by the process.

Those working in performing arts may be entered into the FST mentoring programme Step Up and paired to work with a mentor from January 2015 (artists must be free to attend an induction 5th December).

Through the main partner organisations there will be opportunities to attend courses and use facilities and resources.

Where possible we will look for opportunities for artists to come together. This includes a bespoke The Teaching Artist module at RCS.

Your access requirements will be discussed in detail from the outset at the initial contact meeting.

Artists from the performing arts that the Steering Group feel would benefit from mentoring will be entered into the FST mentoring programme Step Up and paired with a mentor. You can find out more about the FST mentoring programme Step Up here.

Artists from all other art forms may be paired with mentors if mentoring is identified as a need. Mentoring is a structured process and we will recruit and match mentors and mentees carefully, drawing on the knowledge and expertise of our partners. We will only work with trained mentors. If a relationship is set up that is not with a trained mentor we will be clear that this is another form of relationship and process.

Less formal coaching or peer support will be put in place if input from other artists or professionals will be more beneficial in a particular area of development.

For mentors that are involved flip will provide disability equality training to ensure that individuals are skilled up.  This also applies to any organisations that are involved that could benefit from training.

Costs associated with the programme, such as travel, attending courses and materials, will be covered by the initiative. This includes the development and making of work. As this is a learning and development opportunity artists will not be paid for their time.

Artists will agree a programme of activity with flip and will be expected to attend learning opportunities that have been made available to them.

We are looking for people who are beginning to develop their own work or ideas and need support to take the next steps in their development as a professional artist. Applicants may or may not have undertaken formal education in the arts. The programme is cross-artform with no artform restrictions, open to performers, visual artists, writers, musicians and so on.

The initiative is open to disabled artists of all ages who are based in Scotland and who aspire to work professionally. To apply to the programme artists must;

  • aspire to a professional career in the arts
  • be ready for a period of critical development including working with mentors
  • have a quality idea to develop and / or a professional development need
  • be able to provide evidence of existing work or experience
  • identify as being disabled or as experiencing a long-term health condition
  • be based in Scotland

For full information see the Application Guidelines

Complete an application form answering five questions and provide examples of past work. Applications can be made using the online application process or by requesting an application in a preferred format.

Click here to apply online or request an alternative format

If you have any concerns you can get in touch to discuss these. We will help as much as we can and will be clear about what we can and cannot do. We will update this FAQ with answers to queries received.


We aim to notify applicants of outcomes by Friday 14th of November TBC.

Please get in touch, we will endeavour to sign-post you to someone that can help. We will be honest about what we can and cannot do and how quickly we can respond.

Please get in touch, we would love to hear from you and find a way for you to get involved. This could be as part of the Steering Group (see “what we offer”), Selection Panel or as a critical friend.  We may also be looking for additional mentors and if you have experience in this area we would love to hear from you.
If you have any concerns or access requirements that need to be met you can get in touch directly to discuss.
If you are selected we will meet with you to discuss your application, your ideas and your needs, and develop a plan for you. This will happen in November 2014 or early December 2014.

We will be flexible and adapt to what you need, using all of the resources at our disposal. In return we are looking for a serious level of commitment from you and a willingness to be challenged.

You will be informed if you have been selected for a Step Up menteeship.

If you have applied but are not selected we will to let you know why and make suggestions about what you could do next. We will think of people to put you in touch with and make practical suggestions. The extent and speed with which we can get back to you with these ideas will depend on the number of applicants we have – if there will be a delay we will let you know.
Artists will be paired with a lead contact from flip, either Robert Gale or Mairi Taylor, who devised, developed and will manage the initiative.

Mairi and Robert have been working together as flip – Disability Equality in the Arts since 2010 as consultants, trainers and project managers. Together we have 22 years of experience and are passionate about working with others to realise our goals.

Click here for more info on Mairi and Robert.

Robert is also Co-Artistic Director of partners Birds of Paradise, which is providing a home for the initiative as well as bringing its experience as a theatre company. BoP has a longstanding and ongoing commitment to developing disabled artists in the performing arts sector in Scotland.

flip Artists includes the following main partners who are providing their time, skill and resources to the initiative. The partners are all involved in the initiative’s Steering Group and Selection Panel and will input directly into individual development plans.

Federation of Scottish Theatre
Federation of Scottish Theatre is providing places on its mentoring programme Step Up and successful applicants who match programme criteria will be offered a mentor to work with. FST membership will also be automatic for performing artists.

National Theatre of Scotland
The National Theatre of Scotland is providing extensive resources such as rehearsal space, technical equipment and access to its artistic team.

Royal Conservatoire of Scotland
The Royal Conservatoire of Scotland is providing access to training and development opportunities within its Short Courses portfolio and The Teaching Artist module. More information about courses at RCS can be found here.

Dundee Contemporary Arts
Dundee Contemporary Arts is offering access to its resources and providing artist in residence and education experience options.

Other Partners
flip are also supported by Artlink Central and engage Scotland through involvement in the Steering Group.

Once the artists have been selected and their individual development programmes devised flip will reach out to additional partners in the sector as appropriate. flip Artists aims to be responsive to the individual artists and so additional relationships will be explored wherever possible.

If you are an arts organisation and would like to get involved please contact us at artists@flip.org.uk

Steering Group and Selection Panel
The Steering Group is made up of representatives from the partner organisations, flip, Birds of Paradise and individual artists, and will meet four to six times during the course of the programme. The group will oversee the initiative, have involvement in selection and will feed directly into artists’ development. The Steering Group has a wealth of experience and is made up of highly experienced individuals who bring a wealth and breadth of experience to the programme.

The Selection Panel will consist of members of the Steering Group and disabled artists. There will be an open call for members of the Selection Panel to provide an opportunity for disabled artists interested in getting involved.

Steering Group:
Claire Cunningham Artist
Sarah Derrick Dundee Contemporary Arts
Kevin Harrison Artlink Central
Maggie Kinloch Royal Conservatoire of Scotland
Caroline Newall National Theatre of Scotland
Garry Robson Birds of Paradise
Sarah Yearsley engage Scotland
Robert Gale & Mairi Taylor flip

flip Artists is funded by the Esmée Fairbairn Foundation and through the investment of the partners who are giving monetary and in kind support.  The initiative would not be possible with the support of the partners, their expertise and considerable resources.

Esmée Fairbairn Foundation aims to improve the quality of life for people and communities throughout the UK both now and in the future. They do this by funding the charitable work of organisations with the ideas and ability to achieve positive change.

The Foundation is one of the largest independent grant-makers in the UK.  They make grants of £30 – £35 million annually towards a wide range of work within the arts, education and learning, the environment and social change. They also operate a £26 million Finance Fund which invests in organisations that aim to deliver both a financial return and a social benefit.


During the course of the initiative we will be looking for new partners to meet the needs of the artists.  If you would be interested in getting involved please get in touch.  There will also be sector wide opportunities through events and training which we will open out to the wider sector as much as possible.