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Arts / Local artist picked for prestigious fellowship

Vivian Ross-Smith. Photo: May Graham

SHETLAND artist Vivian Ross-Smith has been selected as just one of six recipients of the prestigious Freelands Studio Fellowship.

The successful fellows are based at their host university for a full calendar year and provided with a studio within the fine art department, access to workshop and library facilities and supported by a teaching mentor.

Each fellow receives a bursary of £22,000 for the duration of the fellowship. They will work towards a solo exhibition, housed by their host university, and will then participate in a group exhibition, at the Freelands Foundation space in London in early 2024.

Ross-Smith started her fellowship at Swansea College of Art, University of Wales Trinity Saint David on 30 January and will be mentored by professor of fine art Sue Williams.

Ross-Smith, who grew up in Fair Isle, uses physical and digital spaces to make painting, performance and textile work.

She has a masters with distinction from Glasgow School of Art (2020) and a BA (Hons) from Gray’s School of Art (2013).

Ross-Smith’s practice explores an infatuation with materiality – she engages with making through rhythmical, bodily processes, resulting in visceral outcomes that are to be felt, experienced and worn.

Heavily influenced by her perspective as an island artist, Ross-Smith’s work considers communal acts of gathering and making that explore themes of place, community, care, comfort, accessibility and communication.

She said: “This fellowship provides a rich opportunity to work alongside an institution, develop a network, and deeply sustain my practice.

“The Fellowship’s focus on practice, making, and contributing to creative communities held within the art school environment is hugely exciting and I am honoured to be one of the six selected artists across the UK.”

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