Learning Manager

Kirsten Body (she/her) has 20 years experience working in the visual arts sector. She trained at Grays School of Art, Aberdeen (1998) and was awarded an MBA in Cultural Management from Queen Margaret University, Edinburgh (2002). She is part of artist-run project, Circus Artspace. www.circus.scot

  • published Digital Detox - new 2 part online course! in News 2022-11-08 15:46:38 +0000

    Digital Detox - new online course!

    As artists and makers are still juggling online and IRL workloads, the union are advocating for everyone to consider undertaking a digital detox during December. To help you get ready, this free course, will look at ways we can improve our relationship with technology, and how we can use it in a more positive, and less intrusive way.

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  • published Learning Events in October! in News 2022-09-30 09:45:29 +0100

    Learning Events in October!

    This October the SAU's learning programme contains FREE workshops, walks and talks in person from Ullapool to Ayr including a series of events, developed in collaboration with Scottish Union Learning and EIS, and lead by members in the Highlands to celebrate Black History Month.

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  • published A Guide to Copyright with DACS in News 2022-07-15 14:59:12 +0100

    A Guide to Copyright with DACS

    Wednesday 27 July, 10:30am, Online via Zoom, FREE training event!

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  • published Artists Walking Group in News 2022-05-04 12:35:02 +0100

    Artists Walking Group

    A series of six monthly artist-led walks funded by Scottish Union Learning in the Highlands & Islands; for members to meet up in person and enjoy good company in a safe environment. We are getting out and about, moving around, walking, talking, thinking, and having some time out from our studios, offices, screens and chairs! These walks are open to all members and supported by a series of online presentations from the artists leading the walks, so please tune in even if you can't attend the walk!

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  • published More Info in How to run a successful rural arts project? 2022-04-05 14:58:18 +0100

    More Info

    Join artists Lynne Strachan and Mary Bourne as they talk about their project Cabrach Reconnections in remote upland Moray, and Virginia Hutchison as she shares her project Stories of Radical Landownership in North Lewis. Followed by a discussion on what works and what to avoid!


    About Cabrach Reconnections

    During 2021 Moray-based artists, Lynne Strachan and Mary Bourne developed an arts project in The Cabrach, a remote upland area just on the Moray side of the border with Aberdeenshire. The project’s aim was to find ways for people to reconnect with each other through arts activities and to get out and enjoy the stunning scenery and wildlife in the area, reconnecting with nature. Having spent time with the people in this place, the artists produced an exhibition exploring some of the challenges facing the local community.

    Instagram @cabrachreconnections

    About Stories of Radical Landownership in North Lewis

    Produced in collaboration with artist Virginia Hutchison this project brings together narratives surrounding the community land buyout of the Galson Estate in 2007. Created during the COVID pandemic in 2020/2021 the project weaves together local audio archives and interviews and brings them into contemporary conversations surrounding community land ownership. With access and social distancing measures in mind the project has taken the form of a series of cast bronze artefacts temporarily sited in the landscape of North Lewis. Embedded with digital QR codes the artefacts link visitors directly to the audio works via mobile phone.

    “If you didn’t know the names of these places you couldn’t talk about them.” [1]

    Underpinning the interviews are recitals of the Gaelic place-names that define North Lewis. A gentle call and response between Gaelic and English - though not a direct translation - through the landscape, geography and history of the area. 

    This project was produced in conversation with artists Stephen Hurrel and Fiona Rennie. Many thanks to the Galson Estate staff and community. Special thanks to Agnes and Frank Rennie, Lisa Maclean, Annie MacSween, Iain Gordon Macdonald, Richard Collins (Edinburgh University), Edinburgh College of Art and Blackbay Recording Studios. 

    [1] Annie Macsween, Faclan 2020, A History with Heart and Soul – The Place-names of North Lewis, Ness Historical Society

    Artists' Biographies

    Mary Bourne and Lynne Strachan have (scarily) over 50 years’ experience of engagement and public realm work between them. They have worked together before, but always for a client.  Lockdown gave them a chance to take stock and they decided they would like to put their experience to use, shaping a project, Cabrach Reconnections, which they believed would have the best possible chance of successful outcomes for everyone involved. They are grateful to Creative Scotland for enabling them to realise this project.




    Virginia Hutchison is an artist based in Glasgow and the Isle of Lewis. Working within a predominantly social context her practice draws on the processes involved in collaborative creative production to explore how different forms of artistic engagement influence the interaction we have with our environments. Virginia currently runs the bronze casting facilities at Edinburgh College of Art and is one part of the duo ’In the Shadow of the Hand’ with artist and film-maker Sarah Forrest. A graduate of the Royal College of Art, Virginia currently sits of the board of Directors at An Lanntair Arts Centre in Stornoway.

    Instagram @hutch_vc

  • published Lèirsinn nan Gàidheal: Gaelic Visual Arts in News 2022-01-14 15:58:52 +0000

    Lèirsinn nan Gàidheal: Gaelic Visual Arts

    Start the new year with a new online course from 19 January to 16 February 2022. This five-week exploration into Gàidhlig aims to deepen your understanding of Gaelic language, its cultural context and visual representations.

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  • published Instagram for Artists in News 2021-12-02 18:59:09 +0000

    Instagram for Artists - online course this December

    "In today's climate, social media is a great leveller that brings artists into contact with the people who love their work. … for artists working in visual media, Instagram is an incredibly useful tool that can fuel your success when used effectively."

    Navigating the Art World: Professional Practice for the Early Career Artist, Delphian, 2020

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  • One Shared Owner: How artists talk about working together

    This free series of online workshops from the Scottish Artists Union will explore how artists collaborate to develop their own models of support and representation.


    “There is power in artists working together to make things happen” Manifesto for Artist-Led Work


    Each of the six sessions are hosted by an invited artist-led organisation which will provide a provocation and facilitate discussion around a range of topics that impact collective working.

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  • published Artists Fair Work Toolkit in Campaigns 2021-05-06 14:14:17 +0100

    Artists Fair Work Toolkit

    Fair Work is work that offers all individuals an effective voice, opportunity, security, fulfilment and respect. It balances the rights and responsibilities of employers and workers. It generates benefits for individuals, organisations and society.

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  • published Intersect: an intersectional discussion group in Blog 2021-04-29 21:57:41 +0100

    Intersect: an intersectional discussion group

    Intersectionality is an analytical framework for understanding how aspects of a person's social and political identities combine to create different modes of discrimination and privilegeIt is important that as a union, we take into account the intersections of class, poverty, race, religion, disability, LGBTQIA, geography, literacy, access to education, and social capital when considering access to union learning and support. 
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  • Artists & Climate Change: Awareness (Part 2) More Info

    Thursday 3rd December, 7-8pm

    Art & Activism: Climate Change Awareness 

    This second session with artist & activist Ellie Harrison. Harrison’s work seeks to make visible the connections between social, environmental and economic injustices in our world, and to actively address them.

    In 2010, she became the first visual artist to publish an Environmental Policy. In 2016, she slashed her carbon footprint for transport to zero and made headlines with her ‘controversial’ project The Glasgow Effect. A real-life experiment in ‘thinking globally and acting locally’, for the whole calendar year she refused to leave Glasgow’s city limits, or use any vehicles except her bike. Her first book The Glasgow Effect: A Tale of Class, Capitalism & Carbon Footprint was inspired by the 2016 project and published by Luath Press in November 2019.

    As a result of her 2016 project, Harrison is now involved in running several local projects and campaigns aimed at making Glasgow a more equal, sustainable and connected city, including the Get Glasgow Moving public transport campaign, Carfree Glasgow and Glasgow Community Energy.


    Register with Zoom here

    After registering, you will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the meeting.

  • published AGM 2020 - More Information & Agenda in AGM 2020 2020-09-14 15:39:34 +0100

    AGM 2020 - Agenda


    Scottish Artists Union
    Annual General Meeting 2020

    Saturday 3rd October 2020, 2:00 - 4:30pm


    The Scottish Artists Union Annual General Meeting 2020 is free to all union members to attend.

    This year, we would like to welcome you to the Annual General Meeting which will be online for the first time – due in part to the ongoing Government restrictions surrounding Covid-19, but also to enable greater participation for those unable to travel.

    This meeting is not only an opportunity for members to hear about what the staff and executive committee have been doing, but where key decisions are made about the future of the union. Members can submit motions to change the constitution, instruct staff & exec to act on the members behalf or show support for issues and campaigns that affect visual & applied artists and makers living and working in Scotland today.

    Read our President's letter of invitation here.

    Register with Zoom to book your place today!

    We are always looking for new people to join the Executive Committee and would like to make a special request that you consider becoming more involved and help us affect change within the sector.  Our meetings are the third Wednesday or Thursday of every month, at the moment online. If you wish to sit on the Executive Committee this year please complete and return this form to: [email protected] no later than Monday 28th September 2020.

    Submit your motions to the union for discussion at our 2020 AGM. If you can have your motions submitted by Monday 28th September that would be helpful - however motions can be submitted up to the day of the AGM.

    Finally, if you have any accessibility needs please inform on [email protected] us by Monday 28th September 2020.

    More details to follow soon, but put the date in your diary, mark it on your calendar today, and we hope to see you there.

    Minutes of AGM 2019 


    List of Motions

    Accounts 2019-2020 

    Auditors Report 

  • published Member's Voice - Lar MacGregor in Blog 2020-06-19 13:30:15 +0100

  • published Running Great Workshops in Blog 2020-02-13 13:43:37 +0000

    Running Great Workshops - Learning Event in Nairn

    Saturday 29th February, 10am - 5pm, Nairn Community Centre

    Artists are increasing required to deliver sessional workshops, freelance facilitation and fulfil community arts roles and 46% of our members stated that delivering workshops was a primary source of income for them. This one-day course has been developed by Tripod Training and covers all aspects of creating workshops as well as guiding learners to understand the key principles of effective workshop design and experiential education methods. Develop an awareness of yourself and your strengths and acquire new tools to increase your options as a facilitator.

    Read more

  • Running Great Workshops: more info

    Artists are increasing required to deliver sessional workshops, freelance facilitation and fulfil community arts roles and 46% of our members stated that delivering workshops was a primary source of income for them. This one-day course has been developed by Tripod Training and covers all aspects of creating workshops as well as guiding learners to understand the key principles of effective workshop design and experiential education methods, develop an awareness of yourself and your strengths as a facilitator and acquire new tools to increase your options as a facilitator.

    This course is for those starting out as freelancers wanting to gain new skills around workshop design and facilitation as well as those who have been operating for a long time and want to make significant changes in the way they deliver workshops. Suitable for our Graduate, Artist and Associate members from a range of disciplines – craft, visual arts and community projects.

    Maybe you just need a confidence boost to go on and deliver great workshops! This is a chance to receive feedback from an experienced trainer and other participants in a small group setting, as well as learn skills for working with diverse groups. Another great opportunity to share your practice with other members and increase your network of like-minded artists over a free lunch.

    The course will cover:

    - Qualities of an effective facilitator/trainer;

    - Container building – how to support participants to feel safe & comfortable;

    - Active listening & questioning;

    - Facilitation tools;

    - Workshop design principles;

    - Experiential learning cycle – how to support participants to learn experientially;

    - Advice on rates of pay and effectively costing your time.

    The course content will be tailored around the needs of those attending in order to assess key areas of focus on, please complete pre-course survey after RSVPing. There will be lots of time for self reflection, conversation, demonstrations, practical exercises, scenarios, and examples of good practice along with practical tips from the experts at Tripod Training. You will be working in small groups and pairs to undertake supporting exercises to break up the day and make the training as dynamic as possible.


    About the Tutors:

    Olga Bloemen is a trainer and facilitator with Tripod: Training for Creative Social Action. Tripod is an Edinburgh-based workers' cooperative that supports groups working for social and ecological justice in Scotland and beyond. Olga's background is in climate and food justice movements in which she’s focused both on grassroots movement-building and policy change. She also runs Work That Reconnects workshops that include storywork and creative writing. 

    Léa Oval is part of Tripod's pool of volunteer trainers. She considers herself an artivist. Her first background is in film-making and theatre. She then focused on training and workshop facilitation as part of climate justice youth groups, and since then she’s led different workshops on climate justice and intersectionality. She’s also focused on how to be a good ally, and to identify privilege and challenge power dynamics within groups.


    How do I sign up?  Spaces are limited to 16 people and places will be allocated on a first-come-first-serve basis. Either click the RSVP link on the previous page or email us at [email protected] 


  • signed Petition 2019-04-12 21:54:50 +0100

    Support our Fair Work Contract

    The Scottish Artists Union has been working towards launching a Fair Work Contract for our members, sign up to show your support for our campaign to ensure every artist gets paid fairly for the work they do.

    122 signatures

    The Scottish Artists Union Fair Work Contract will:

    - Raise awareness of unfair work practices for members

    - Provide legally robust documentation for members when negotiating contracts and pay

    - Deliver a means to protect workers’ rights and support fairer work practice

    - Promote fair work practice throughout the sector in Scotland by promoting the Fair Work Contract as a standard for the whole visual arts sector

    Show your support for our campaign to have all our members use the contract and for all organisations employing visual artists to recognise it.

    We know that our membership, visual artists and makers in Scotland, earn on average less than 10k per year and face the challenge of unfair work practices and agreements across the sector. Only 1 in 5 of our members were given a contract for any paid work they did.

    The Scottish Artists Union’s Fair Work Contract covers exhibitions, projects, sales and workshop delivery. It’s backed by free or discounted legal services from Thompsons Solicitors, Scotland. Call 08000-810-068 of 30 mins of free legal advice.

    Union members receive free Members Liability Insurance cover and the support of the staff, exec and 1300+ union members.

    Scottish Artists Union is affiliated to the STUC, who part-funded the development of the Fair Work Contact.


    There will be THREE versions of the contract templates for members to use:

    - Exhibitions & Projects

    - Sales & Commissions

    - Workshops & Classes


    Add signature

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