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Jon Schueler Scholarship, Visual Artist in Residence

Innovative film and performance artist this year’s recipient of the John Schueler Scholarship at Sabhal Mòr Ostaig

Oliver Mezger had been named as this year’s John Schueler artist in residence at Sabhal Mòr Ostaig, the National Centre for Gaelic Language and Culture. Oliver is the first Scottish-based artist to have been awarded the scholarship and is known for his work in film and other media where he explores the idea of ‘parallel’ relationships. The artist has staged several exhibitions and screenings since he graduated from Glasgow School of Art with a Masters in Fine Art in 2006.

Kath MacLeod, Arts Development Officer at SMO said:  “Oliver Mezger, the first Scottish-based recipient of the scholarship, was selected from a world-wide field of 406 artists who applied. The residency continues to grow in reputation and appeal to artists who recognise the draw of the Gàidhealtachd in a contemporary global context, and the unique opportunity to interact with the community, language, landscape and culture as well as the outstanding facilities offered to artists here at Sabhal Mòr Ostaig.”

Commenting on his new residency at SMO, Oliver said: “I’m delighted to be given this opportunity. It’ll be great to spend time considering the roots of Scottish Gaelic poetry and piping with the students and researchers of Sabhal Mòr Ostaig. In trying to make a contemporary interpretation of pibroch or Ceòl Mòr, all the questions that I will bring to Sleat - as a film-maker and performance artist - relate to how I might encapsulate, visually, the closeness but difference we feel in our digital age towards these older forms of expression.”

Oliver is a relatively young artist but whose reputation is growing steadily, and he recently won the RSA Morton Award 2013/14, for artists working in a lens-based media in Scotland which enabled him to film and print the 16mm work, ‘Air Sgàth- For the sake of Margaret Tait’, the culmination of two years’ work, researching and responding to the 1966 film ‘Caora Mòr - The Big Sheep’.

The John Schueler residency is offered each year to a different artist and began in 2013 with Japanese artist Takeshi Shikama, followed by German sound-artist  Helmut Lemke in 2014. The scholarship is a unique international partnership between Sabhal Mòr Ostaig UHI and the Jon Schueler Charitable Trust, with support from the Royal Scottish Academy and complements the Artists’ Residency Programme at SMO, supported by Creative Scotland, for Gaelic writers,  musicians, visual artists and Gaelic drama. The scholarship programme will run until 2016. It has been established to celebrate and remember the life, work and artistic influence of internationally renowned artist and abstract expressionist painter, Jon Schueler (1916-1992), and in recognition of his very special relationship with the landscape and environment of the Sound of Sleat.

A symposium and exhibition celebrating the life and work of Schueler will be held on 27-29th May 2016 at Sabhal Mòr Ostaig, in the centenary of  Schueler’s birth.


Visual Arts Residency / Sabhal Mòr Ostaig - National Centre for Gaelic Language, Culture and the Arts, Isle of Skye, Scotland.

Applications for the 2015 International  Jon Schueler Scholarship are now open.

The residency will take place from Mon 20th  July – Frid 9th Oct 2015

Closing date for applications Tues 3rd Feb 2015

Call for on-line Applications 2015


Applications are now being welcomed for the third Jon Schueler Scholarship, Visual Artist in Residence, an exciting international residency opportunity  to take place in Skye in the summer/autumn of 2015. In a unique international partnership between Sabhal Mòr Ostaig, the National Centre for Gaelic Language, Culture and the Arts (Scotland) and the Jon Schueler Charitable Trust, the successful applicant will have the opportunity to come and research, develop and produce work for 3 months in the dedicated artist’s studio in a spectacular setting overlooking The Sound of Sleat, the place which so inspired Schueler as an artist.

The Scholarship is open to international artists (including Scottish and UK) working to the highest level of contemporary professional practice in a visual medium and with a particular interest in landscape and the environment. Artists must have completed formal arts education at least 3 years previously.

The annual (2013 -2016) visual arts scholarship has been set up in celebration and in memory of the life, work and artistic influence of internationally renowned artist and abstract expressionist, Jon Schueler (1916-1992), in recognition of his very special relationship with the landscape and environment of the Sound of Sleat

The aims of the residency are 1. to provide a visual artist working to the highest level of contemporary practice a period of research, development and production in a unique environment, 2. to promote Skye, The Gaeltachd and Scotland as an exciting, distinct and inspiring place to work for a contemporary artist, and to promote the exchange of ideas.

The residency is for 12 weeks from Mon 20th July - Frid 9th October 2015.


The Artist will receive:

• a residency fee of £8,000 for the 12 week period

• an allowance of £500 for materials

• provision of an artist's studio with ICT support

• reasonable travel costs of a single return trip to undertake the residency in Skye (12 weeks) met in full as part of the scholarship

• accommodation on campus


The Scholarship will enable a visual artist to come and work in and from the large Visual Arts Studio, based within the FÀS Centre for the Creative and Cultural Industries, Sabhal Mòr Ostaig, in a rich and multi-disciplinary arts environment. The Stiùidio Ealain is a custom-built working Visual Artist studio. Perched high over the rocky shoreline and looking out over the Sound of Sleat and Knoydart, its generous space includes double height ceiling (in part), outside access, sink room, storage and blackout blinds.

In addition to the provision of the generous studio, the Artist will have access to our sound recording studio and extensive reference library with two collections of  national and international significance - the ‘MacCarmaig’ and ‘Celtica’ Collections, together creating one of the most important collections of antiquarian books of Gaelic and related materials in existence anywhere in the world. It may also be possible, by special arrangement, to have access to a range of film, editing and post-production facilities on site.

Artists will be given the opportunity during their residency to engage with the Gaelic Language and Culture and also have the opportunity to meet with other artists working in different art forms: film, literature, drama and music. There will also be opportunities to meet with artists working within the local area. This is hoped will encourage the exchange of ideas.

“ I am so grateful to be given this opportunity of discovery, that has opened my eyes to a new way of looking. I will treasure this experience. It will remain with me and influence my work for the rest of my life.” Takeshi Shikama, Jon Schueler Artist in Residence 2013.

"Being given the opportunity to work for three month in the unique context of Gaelic Culture and Language, based on the breathtakingly beautiful Island of Skye, and surrounded by supportive and engaging people, has opened new routes in my work for me. This residency is without doubt one of the most stimulating I have ever been involved in.”

 Helmut Lemke, Jon Schueler Artist in Residence 2014.


  Sabhal Mòr Ostaig Background Notes

  Visual Arts Studio Plan

About the Jon Schueler Scholarship

  Scholarship Guidelines