About

Visual Arts Scotland (VAS) is a leading platform for national and international contemporary artists.

The society was originally founded in 1924 as an organisation for women artists and since the 1980s has championed craftspeople, makers, designers and applied arts practitioners. Today, our membership is composed of fine and applied artists, celebrating the best in innovative contemporary visual arts. The conversation between disciplines - to encourage challenging and ambitious ideas - is at the heart of Visual Arts Scotland’s mission.

VAS has a vibrant, active and participatory membership of over 800 practising artists. The society provides a platform to support and connect them, and to showcase their work. Members and non-members alike are welcome to submit work for our prestigious Annual Exhibition. 

Our Annual Exhibition offers the opportunity for emerging and established practitioners to showcase new and unseen work and engage with a wider public; to generate debate, to test out and exhibit challenging and ambitious ideas within the context of Scottish and international culture. 

Our membership categories cater for artists at all stages in their careers, whether new graduates, emerging artists or established practitioners. All are welcome to contribute to the continuing development of Visual Arts Scotland. 

WHO WE ARE

The President and Council are elected by the membership to represent the wide array of disciplines that VAS promotes.

Tavienne Bridgwater

Tavienne Bridgwater

VAS President

Tavienne Bridgwater is an artist/curator based in the Scottish Borders. She is Director of The Tim Stead Trust, and has worked within the arts sector for 12 years for Arts Organisations such as The Henry Moore Institute & The Pipe Factory. Previously the Arts & Enterprise Officer at Wasps, she has organised over 300 exhibitions, residencies, art fairs & events including producing Scotland's largest Artist & Makers Market.

Tavienne has worked in a freelance capacity presenting talks for various universities in Leeds, Liverpool, London & Glasgow on her Artist/Curator led practice as well as mentoring recent graduate Artists and curating various exhibitions all with a focus on the sculptural.

Contact: president@visualartsscotland.org

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Kam Chan

Kam Chan

VAS Co-Vice-President

Kam Chan is an artist and producer. She is the Engagement Producer for the Data + Design Lab where she manages and facilitates networks to co-create and collaborate across the Edinburgh Futures Institute at the University of Edinburgh.. She is a Co-Producer for the Architecture Fringe curating and delivering exhibitions and events expanding the narrative of how we inhabit and share spaces beyond ourselves . She is interested in the intersections of communication, connection and consensus.

Contact: vice-president@visualartsscotland.org

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Julie Barnes

Julie Barnes

VAS Co-Vice-President

Julie is a visual artist and has shown her paintings and drawings throughout the UK and abroad. She has developed her own blend of magical realism and expressionism in her paintings, seeking "a balance of both the familiar and strange, easily recognisable and more ‘implied’ elements of detail and ‘otherness.'"

Contact: vice-president@visualartsscotland.org

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Amanda Airey

Amanda Airey

Development & Partnerships Manager (Freelance)

Amanda Airey has worked in the creative sector for over 20 years in a number of roles from bid writing, economic development, curation, and strategy. A fine art graduate, she continues her art practice focusing mainly on landscape and the natural world.

For the past three years Amanda has worked as Vice President for Visual Arts Scotland and is a fundamental implementor of the residency programme, overseeing residencies such as From One to Another, Rose Cottage Residency, and the Bothy Project.

Contact: development@visualartsscotland.org

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Róise Nic an Bheatha

Róise Nic an Bheatha

Communications Manager

Róise Nic an Bheatha brings a wealth of experience as a skilled communications manager, having worked as a Marketing Associate at award-winning communications agency, SPEY Media. She generates engaging content across multiple platforms, maintaining a strong relationship with key journalists and achieving regular coverage in local, national, and international media through compelling storytelling. If you would like to get in touch, please reach out to comms@visualartsscotland.org


Toni Harrower

Toni Harrower

Treasurer

Toni Harrower is an abstract painter who loves working in a range of mediums from oil paint to resin. A celebration of colour and the enjoyment of paint are the basic ingredients in her work. Toni is now a full-time artist living and working in Moray, graduating from Gray’s School of Art in 2016.

Contact: Treasurer@visualartsscotland.org

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Alexandra Bell

Alexandra Bell

VAS Secretary

Alex is a multidisciplinary artist, musician, materials engineer (M.Sc., C.Eng.) and explorer. During the pandemic she returned to study, as a mature student, to formalise her practice in the sonic arts. In 2023 she graduated from Glasgow School of Art with a B.Des. in Sound for the Moving Image, winning a Chairman's Medal. She believes that creative possibility is universal regardless of domain or resource - that the most innovative scientists have interests in the arts and vice versa.

Contact: secretary@visualartsscotland.org

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Sandra Vick

Sandra Vick

Communications & Marketing Co-Ordinator (Freelance)

Sandra Vick is a painter, but also owns and designs for her homeware business and teaches local art classes. She originally graduated in Banking, Insurance and Finance and worked as a Lecturer in Economics. In 2000 she retrained on the foundation course at Leith School of Art where she was awarded a distinction. Sandra went on to study BA(Hons) Drawing and Painting at Edinburgh College of Art winning several painting prizes. She was awarded a scholarship place on the postgraduate Masters course at ECA, graduating with MFA (Drawing and Painting) in 2008. Sandra’s work is held in private and public collections worldwide.

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Eleanor Whitworth

Eleanor Whitworth

Council Member

Eleanor Whitworth is a contemporary jeweller based in Glasgow. She graduated from the Glasgow School of Art in 2019, and has been making for and exhibiting in venues around the UK and Europe ever since. Her work surrounds the human relationship with the natural world- the enjoyment of seeking it and the scientific desire to collect and research on it. 

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Ian Farmer

Ian Farmer

Council Member

Ian was born in Harlow, Essex and moved to Edinburgh thirty years ago. He is a freelance graphic designer with 36 years experience, many of which were spent managing the design unit at the City of Edinburgh Council. Thirteen years ago he set up his freelance practice, Upright Creative, specialising in public and arts sector projects. In addition, Ian is the owner and curator of Upright Gallery in Edinburgh. The gallery has been exhibiting contemporary art for five years, concentrating on up and coming talent. Ian lives in Edinburgh with his partner and cat. He has two grown-up sons, likes cycling and a good natter.


Niamh Hughes

Niamh Hughes

Council Member

Niamh Hughes is a painter whose work reflects upon the ambiguity and familiarity found in the ordinary. Graduating from Gray’s School of Art in 2023, she continues to work in Aberdeen City and South Shire.


Lynsey MacKenzie

Lynsey MacKenzie

Council Member

Lynsey MacKenzie initially graduated with a degree in Law, but returned to art, studying on the Painting Course at the Leith School of Art from 2014 to 2016 where she was awarded the Painting Prize. She then graduated from Glasgow School of Art in 2019 with a 1st Class BA (Hons) in Painting & Printmaking. She is a Visual Arts Scotland Graduate Showcase Shortlisted Artist, was awarded the Great Art Award at the SSA/VAS OPEN Exhibition and exhibited at RSA New Contemporaries 2020.

 
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Annalisa Merrilees

Annalisa Merrilees

Council Member

Annalisa Merrilees is a Painter living and working in Edinburgh. Graduating from Gray’s School of Art in 2018, she was shortlisted for VAS Graduate Showcase. In 2020/21 she participated in Turps Art School’s Correspondence Course and has been selected as Graduate In Residence at Gray’s School of Art 2022/23.

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Gabriella Carboni

Gabriella Carboni

Council Member

Gabriella Carboni is a painter and educator located in Los Angeles, California. Originally from Boston Massachusetts, with Scottish roots, Gabriella received her undergraduate degree in Studio Art from Skidmore College, and her MFA in Painting from Cranbrook Academy of Art. Her work focuses on intimacy, kinship, comfort, touch, and connection. Gabriella teaches at ArtCenter College of Design and Armory Center for the Arts. 

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Hannah Knechtli

Hannah Knechtli

Council Member

Hannah is a mixed media artist based in Edinburgh, interested in art as storytelling and the exploration of the inner world via figurative, abstract and sculptural pieces. She recently studied to become a creative therapist and creative arts facilitator and is committed to taking the healing power of art into the community. Instagram @knechtliart


Rosalind Main

Rosalind Main

Council Member

Rosalind is an Artist, Researcher and Campaigner based in Edinburgh and Glasgow. She has extensive experience in an arts environment through creating art and working at institutions around Scotland such as Talbot Rice Gallery, Collective Gallery, RSA and Glasgow Women’s Library. With an interest in exploring themes around social media and self-image, Rosalind co-founded the I Am More Than Campaign in 2017, which aims to celebrate talents and embrace inclusivity through exhibitions, photoshoots, talks and more. Rosalind has delivered talks at Aberdeen University, The Youth and Philanthropy Initiative, has appeared on BBC Radio Scotland and has made content for BBC Social covering themes around the creative industry and important topics around Scotland. Rosalind studied for her undergraduate degree at Gray’s School of Art in Aberdeen in 2016, and obtained an MA and MSc at Edinburgh College of Art in 2020 and 2022.


Charles Young

Charles Young

Council Member

Charles Young is an artist living and working in Edinburgh, where he studied architecture at Edinburgh College of Art. His sculptures, in paper and wood, and stop-motion animations draw from the forms, structures and histories of the built environment.