Painting graduate Sophia Pauley is the 2018 recipient of the Artists’ Collecting Society (ACS) studio award at Edinburgh College of Art (ECA). The £3,500 award will enable Sophia to stay on in Edinburgh, with a studio paid for by the ACS award plus a stipend.

The ACS, a non-profit organisation formed in 2006, are dedicated to the collection of Artist’s Resale rights. After recognising the economic challenges of emerging artists, they established awards offering grants that contribute to the cost of artists' studios in the UK.

Eligible graduates for the award are able to choose a studio that best suits their requirements and negotiate a 12-month rental with assistance from ECA. Recipients of the award are free to use the stipend in the best way to support their research and developing practice. Previous winners have used the money to access specific processes and facilities in Edinburgh Sculpture Workshop and Edinburgh Printmakers, as well as funding short residency opportunities to broaden their networks.

Lady Bridgeman (Managing Director and founder of the Artists’ Collecting Society) and senior representatives of ACS visited ECA in March, where they were hosted by Joan Smith (Acting Head of School of Art), Susie Bass (Acting Head of Philanthropy), and Kristin Mojsiewicz (ECA's Director of Outreach). During the course of their visit, ACS conducted a public lecture for graduating ECA students on issues of artists’ copyright and resale rights in preparation for their experience as early-career artists.

This year's recipient of the award, Sophia, is looking forward to presenting her work at the Pittenweem Arts Festival in August and is excited to create more ambitious work in Scotland. 

Sophia Pauley's work in the ECA Fire Station
Image courtesy of the artist
Sophia Pauley's work in the ECA Fire Station

"I am delighted to have won the award as my biggest concern was how I was going to produce work of any considerable scale without sufficient space to work in. I now have a huge incentive and drive to be ambitious and experimental with my work."

Sophia Pauley, Painting - BA (Hons) graduand

"My piece is heavily inspired by the Water of Leith, where I became obsessed with the industrial vibrant landscape reflecting on the cool water," said Sophia. "I wanted to recreate my experience of this place whilst encouraging the audience to move around the exhibited piece. The proposed idea took many forms, starting as an installation of hanging shapes which insinuated movement, to the paintings and sculptures which formed the final work."

"I want to be working with and around a variety of different practising artists, outside of my comfort zone, to challenge and develop my work in new directions," said Sophia. "I hope that I will get the opportunity to collaborate and exhibit in different spaces with different people over the following year."

ACS funds bursaries for art students at leading institutions while sponsoring a number of art prizes and charities. ECA is the only Scottish art institution to host an ACS studio prize.


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