Anna Kirk-Smith – 2002/2004

“The bursary scheme has a potentially very exciting future by encouraging young artists from a wider repertoire of art disciplines and diverse backgrounds, to singly or collaboratively undertake projects underpinned by an exploration of our environment and fellow species sharing it with us.”

Project 1
Seabird Drawing Course
One of the last bastions of organised draughtsmanship, the opportunity to attend this course came at a timely period in my career and has furnished me not only with a strong network of like-minded colleagues, but also a
constant visual experience though which I can chart my progress as a practitioner yearly. I started off on the course with the trepidation of an initiate, and now am one of the tutors hopefully helping overcome similar insecurities in others. The raw reaction of drawing to a visual series of spectacles is a basic stimulus underpinning many artforms, this was and still is for me a condensation of that experience accompanied by the thoughtful, focussed and often luminary guidance of fellow practitioners.
Project 2
‘Aig an Oir – At the Edge’ a study of the Atlantic Oak Woodlands of South Western Scotland
This presented me with some of the most intriguing scenery, experienced in the most challenging working conditions I have ever faced. Remote swathes of not-quite coast coated with not-quite forest with an eclectic marine/arboreal ecosystem to match, liberally dowsed in torrential rain on slightly warmer days or repetitive hailstorms on much colder ones. Subsequently, little fazes me now when working outdoors!
Immersion (not only in weather systems) but in a complex landscape of human influence and in parts lengthy, productive neglect has produced a unique, other-worldly environment that became a thought-provoking place

With this impetus behind me I now have a range of employment within the creative industries – as a practitioner, an HE and post graduate lecturer and the director of an arts development company. Determined also to give back some of the previous rewards I have reaped, I am now serving on the SWLA committee.
Working within this multi-faceted sphere of contemporary fine art, I do not wish to intellectually segregate the stimulus of the natural world as a basis for work from the perceived ‘mainstream’ of fine art practice. The bursary scheme has a potentially very exciting future by encouraging young artists from a wider repertoire of art disciplines and diverse backgrounds, to singly or collaboratively undertake projects underpinned by an exploration of our environment and fellow species sharing it with us. With renewed support and vigour for the bursary scheme, the SWLA as an organisation are in a prime position to drive this forward, and provide a firm grounding and inspiring challenge for the careers of many young creatives.


anna.kirk-smith@network.rca.ac.uk