It has been a time of change over here, with the appointment of our new Festivals & Projects Manager Aidan Nicol, recruiting to replace almost half of our board and lots of future planning. In lots of one-to-one conversations with artists over the last 12 months, and in more formal conversations through our festivals, we have heard about how the COVID pandemic has affected you, and also how you feel the sector could improve and better support your practice in the future. It’s given us a chance to begin thinking deeply about the future for Puppet Animation Scotland and how we will build back after COVID. We are keen to do this in a way that is considered, collaborative, and that is not afraid to be radical.

With that in mind, this summer we are embarking on the creation of a plan for our future, reviewing our activity across the business to create a 5-year business plan which we’ll both create in partnership with you and our other stakeholder groups and then share with you. Our aims with this process are to look at how our organisation can continue to become more financially and environmentally sustainable, inclusive, democratic, collaborative and deeply engaged with communities. We’ll be looking at the kind of future we want to be part of, and how we can best serve and be led by the communities that we represent.

We will be asking artists to respond in a number of ways, the first of which is this BIG SURVEY which we would love to have as many responses to as possible, from across all the artforms we represent. We really appreciate your time in helping us with this at a critical juncture in the organisation’s development. In September, we’ll also be inviting a group of artists to join us in a focus group to further delve into the issues explored here. If you are not an artist but would like to feed into our business planning, please contact [email protected] and we can direct you to the best way to become involved as we’re consulting with a number of different groups in different ways.

In the meantime, here’s what’s happening right now and across 2021/22:

Web redevelopment – we are in the process of updating our website to make transparent and clear all the ways that you can connect with our organisation. From how to get your work on at our festivals, to all the strands of support we provide, to shared online resources. This process may take a little time but should be complete by early Autumn.

MANIPULATE Festival – planning is well underway for a (hopefully) live festival in Jan/Feb 2022. Most of our programme is already in place, however we’re still looking for work in three categories, so please get in touch with Dawn Taylor on [email protected] if you’d like to propose anything. The work we’re still looking for is:

Work-in-progress and scratch performance – new scratch and work in progress ideas for the stage from 5-30 mins in length

Animation – animated shorts by female and non-binary artists

Workshops – suggestions for workshops that you would like to see us provide at the festival, whether something you’d like to participate in or run.

Puppet Animation Festival – applications are now closed for this festival in 2022 and we will be reviewing them over the coming week.

Creative Opportunities –We have plans to announce various new small programmes alongside the redevelopment of our website, which will formalise the kind of support which Puppet Animation Scotland has offered for a long time – bespoke advice and support, networking, training, and exchange opportunities.  These will be live by early Autumn and we’ll welcome your feedback as we refine our offer

In the meantime, if you are an artist who has not yet met with us for a general introduction and chat, please do get in touch as we’d love to connect, especially during this time when it has not been possible to see anyone’s work live.

It has been and continues to be a difficult time for so many families and creative practitioners. We can’t wait to meet you in person again soon, whether in venues or rehearsal rooms, in classrooms or in the great outdoors, and are here in the meantime to support however we can.

With best wishes,

Dawn and the Puppet Animation Scotland team

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