Spring Fling x Wigtown Book Festival Writer-in-Residence 2016

Partnership between Upland and Wigtown Festival Company



Wigtown Festival Company (the organisation which delivers Wigtown Book Festival) and Upland Arts Development CIC (the new organisation which delivers Spring Fling Open Studios as its flagship event) are seeking to appoint a writer-in-residence at Spring Fling Open Studios (May 2016). The writer appointed will also be expected to take part in Wigtown Book Festival 2016. 


This will be the second year that Wigtown Book Festival has worked with Spring Fling to offer an opportunity for a writer-in-residence at the May open-studios events. This follows the first residency undertaken by Marjorie Lotfi Gill who worked closely with Spring Fling artists and audiences to create SPRUNG – a collection of poems written in response to the work of Spring Fling’s artists. 


The new residency is intended to deepen the creative relationship between the two organisations and to appeal to audiences of both events.



In 1998 Wigtown became Scotland's National Book Town. Since then this small, previously neglected town in Dumfries & Galloway, south-west Scotland, has been revitalised and become a destination for book-lovers, while its book festival has grown into one of the best-loved autumn arts gatherings in the UK. 


The festival now has an audience of more than 20,000. In 2012, Wigtown was awarded the inaugural Creative Place Award for communities under 2,500 people, designed to recognise places of exceptional creativity in Scotland. The festival is run by the Wigtown Festival Company, a charitable company limited by guarantee. Further details can be found at www.wigtownbookfestival.com.


Spring Fling is a vibrant visual art and craft open studios event covering the length and breadth of Dumfries and Galloway in South West Scotland; it is highly regarded as one of the UK’s most successful contemporary visual art and craft events.   


In Autumn 2015 Spring Fling CIC evolved to become Upland CIC, a bold, ambitious, world-class rural based visual art and craft development organisation. Spring Fling is Upland's flagship event.

Dumfries and Galloway; inspiring, vibrant and buzzing with creativity is well recognised as a haven for artists and makers and Spring Fling has helped put the region on the national and international cultural map.  Further details can be found at www.spring-fling.co.uk and www.weareupland.com



We are seeking to appoint a writer-in-residence for Spring Fling Open Studios 2016 (28 - 30 May). The resident will be expected to attend all three days of Spring Fling and also to visit the region for a minimum of three days for research purposes before the event (during March/April 2016). The successful candidate will also be required to attend the 2016 Wigtown Book Festival (23 September – 2 October) to talk about their residency and present the new work created. We strongly recommend that applicants familiarise themselves with both Spring Fling Open Studios, Upland CIC and Wigtown Book Festival through their websites before applying. 


Applications are invited from writers with a track record working in any medium, eg fiction, creative non-fiction, theatre, poetry. 


Dumfries & Galloway is a large rural region and Spring Fling takes place across the whole region. It is expected that the work created during the residency will be inspired by the event, its setting, participants and audience. Both Spring Fling and Wigtown Book Festival programmes will include elements related to the Year of Innovation Architecture & Design, with Spring Fling Rural Mural (SFRM) project focusing on the theme of ‘Exchange,’ encouraging the exchange of ideas, culture and skills/practice.  The Dumfries and Galloway based artists selected for SFRM will work with international artists within the region to produce three murals, and will then also work with their international artists to create one in each of their cities.


Public engagement - which includes engagement with the artists and makers taking part in Spring Fling - is strongly encouraged. Importantly, candidates are also urged to propose original ways to present their work to as wide an audience as possible. 


We welcome proposals from writers using social media and digital media as part of their work. The successful candidate will be expected to use social media to promote their residency, for example through blogging, Twitter, Facebook.


The above guidelines are not intended to be prescriptive.  Applicants will be granted substantial leeway to shape the residency and to interpret it imaginatively. Above all, we are looking for originality and a demonstration of creative excellence.


The resident writer will be supported by Upland CIC director – maternity cover (Clare Hanna) & Wigtown Festival Company operational director (Anne Barclay). During the Spring Fling event Upland staff will be dispersed across the region during the event weekend, the writer must be prepared to work independently across the studios. 



The successful applicant will receive a fee of £2,000, to include any travel costs both during Spring Fling 2016 and Wigtown Book Festival 2016. 


Accommodation will be provided free of charge during both Spring Fling and Wigtown Book Festival. This residency will involve travelling to various venues across the region where public transport links are not regular therefore we would expect the resident writer to have their own car.  Although we will try to provide transport for those who do not drive or do not have their own car, we cannot guarantee this. 


The writer will be given a free pass to Wigtown Book Festival events, according to availability and by prior arrangement with Wigtown Book Festival. 


Upland CIC and Wigtown Festival Company will promote this residency as a central part of their activities in 2016.



If you would like to apply for this residency, we would request the following:


· Three examples of your work of not more than 500 words each.


· A statement about your work to date (not more than 400 words) plus a bibliography and, where relevant, web links to published work not included in the application.


· An up-to-date CV.


· Up to 500 words (maximum) about how you would approach your residency, what you would propose to produce by the end of the 12-day residency and details of any relevant experience you have in accomplishing this.


Applications must be received by 12noon on Tuesday 23rd February. They will be reviewed by a panel, including the Upland CIC director (maternity cover) and the Wigtown Festival Company director, as well as external panellists.


Shortlisted candidates will be notified by Thursday 25th February and will be expected to attend a brief interview on Tuesday 1st March in Dumfries, for which expenses will be paid, providing these are reasonable and agreed in advance. In exceptional circumstances, interviews may be conducted by Skype. 


Please email your application to Jane McQuistin at jane@wigtownbookfestival.com.


Thank you for your interest in this residency.