Gather is a series of five new artist commissions. The fee for each one is £600. The work is to be presented online.

We invite artists of any discipline, based anywhere in Scotland, to propose a new piece of work that can be shared online from May 2022.

‘Gather’ is the chosen theme for this year’s Scottish Mental Health Arts Festival. Bringing people together has always been vital to our work. We use the arts to connect communities, reduce social isolation, and challenge mental health stigma.

After two years of social distancing, though, what does it mean to gather? Does it mean something different now? How does sharing a space affect our mental health and our experience of art? And when we can’t – or choose not to – come together physically, how else can we gather in a way that is inclusive?

Like many other organisations, SMHAF began commissioning online work after lockdown began in 2020. We received proposals from many artists we had not worked with before. For some – those with long term mental or physical health conditions, for example – it was an opportunity to be part of an arts programme they had found it difficult to access before. Our programme was enriched by their work and their wisdom.

As festivals (including ours) return to live events, we are keen to ensure these artists’ voices are still heard. While this commission is open to anyone, we are particularly keen to hear from artists who have felt marginalised or excluded by live ‘gatherings’. What does gathering mean to you? And what could other people learn from that?

To enter, please send us a short proposal – one or two paragraphs if in writing; we can also accept proposals by audio or video – plus examples of previous work and an estimate of how long it would take you to make and submit your piece.

We will not prioritise applicants who are able to make work more quickly and will be flexible around access needs. We hope to showcase the majority of these commissions during this year’s festival dates of 4-24 May 2022 but we are also open to presenting work after these dates.

The successful proposals will be compellingly presented and have something insightful to say about ‘gathering’ and mental health.

Please email applications to with the subject line Gather artist commission – Your Name’. The deadline for applications is Friday 4th March. 

Gather is supported by Creative Scotland.