Unique opportunity to participate in innovative cross-cultural exchange project SHIFT

Yellow logo with red text that reads "Dr. Sandra Alfoldy Craft Institute - inspire, engage, advance"The Dr. Sandra Alfoldy Craft Institute (through NSCAD University), Craft Alliance Atlantic Association, and Applied Arts Scotland (AAS) are delighted to invite professional craftspeople and artists who reside in Nova Scotia to participate in an innovative cross-cultural exchange project titled, SHIFT in 2019/20.


This project will bring together a diverse group of Scottish and Canadian makers to talk, explore ideas and inspire one another. Participants will explore New Scotland and old Scotland practices and histories, research divergent and common influences, and identify new craft opportunities. The project aims to investigate the strengths of craft as cultural production and facilitate opportunities for four Nova Scotian makers and four Scottish makers. Participants will explore one another’s identities, environment, skills, materials and techniques through discussion, mentorship and experimentation. Over a 10-month period each participant will consider how this connection has stimulated a shift in the emphasis or direction of their practice. Selected makers will be paired with a Scottish maker, with an expectation that participants will co-create new works and develop individual works in response to ideas brought forth through exchange. Paired makers will have regular monthly check-ins with additional support provided by the facilitators from NSCAD and AAS. Outcomes from these new modes of making will be exhibited in July 2020 in The Swanson Gallery, Thurso with the intention that the exhibition tours Scotland and subsequently travels to Nova Scotia. The project themes for 2019/20 are identity, sustainability, and collaboration. We seek applications from maker/researchers from emerging to established who are interested in exploring aspects of these themes.

Project details

  • For this 2019/20 project we will bring makers together three times.
  • The Nova Scotia participants will receive notice of acceptance by September 25, 2019.
  • Contact between the Nova Scotian and Scottish participants will be made by the end of September and an introductory online workshop will outline the project and help the participants get the best out of the programme.
  • Nova Scotian participants in the project need to be present in Halifax during the week of October 21-25, 2019, when the Scottish makers will be in residence. We will help organize accommodations for those who do not reside in Halifax.
  • Subject to a successful funding application, the four selected Nova Scotian participants will take part in a residency May 4-8, 2020 or May 11-15, 2020 (exact date will be confirmed in September), in North Lands Creative, Caithness to work with their Scottish project partners. Accommodations and workspace will be provided. Collaborative works will be well underway by this time, and pieces can be brought to Scotland to work on together or finish.
  • Transfer will be arranged for works created by Nova Scotian makers that were not left in Scotland, and will be sent to Thurso in anticipation of an exhibition and symposium to celebrate the project.
  • Subject to a successful funding application, Nova Scotian makers will return to North Lands Creative for a symposium July 2-3, 2020. Collaborative works created will be exhibited at Swanson Gallery, Thurso, opening July 2, 2020.

Important dates

  • October 21-25, 2019 – Scottish makers in residence in Halifax, Nova Scotia
  • May 4-8, 2020 – Nova Scotia in residence in the Scottish Highlands
  • July 2-3, 2020 – exhibition and symposium, North Lands Scotland
  • Early 2021 – (tentative) exhibition and symposium, Halifax, Nova Scotia

Criteria for applicants

  • Makers should be working professionally and creating work to a high standard that is both innovative and challenging.
  • Applications from makers who are emerging through established are sought.
  • Makers should respond to at least one of the project themes of identity, sustainability and/or collaboration.
  • You must be available to attend all parts of the project, with final dates to be confirmed with the successful applicants.
  • Canadian makers should reside in Nova Scotia.
  • Selection of the final four Scottish and four Canadian makers will be decided by a panel made up of AAS Project team, Craft Alliance, NSCAD and ECA.
  • Participants agree to have their work professionally documented and promoted as part of the SHIFT exhibition.
  • We especially welcome applications from visible minority group members, African Nova Scotians, Indigenous persons, persons with disabilities, and members of sexual minority groups.  Applicants are encouraged to self-identify in their application.

To apply

Please submit your CV, short bio, and four images of your work together with a statement on how you would respond to the project themes. Send all requested information in one email to: craftinstitute@nscad.ca with SHIFT 2019/20 in the subject line. We are happy to answer questions regarding the project in advance of the application deadline.

Deadline for applications is September 20, 2019 at 17:00 Atlantic Time. Applications that are incomplete or received after this deadline will not be reviewed.

Applicants will receive notice of acceptance by September 25, 2019.