By Kevin Brown
The Alasdair Gray Scholarship Trust has been set up by Alasdair and myself to ‘give forward’ to the younger generation of creative Scots in the fields of music, fine arts, theatre, dance and cultural studies.
The Trust was created in 2016 under the banner of Songs for Scotland 2. That project, through a combination of crowd funding, ticket sales and outright gifts, raised £1000 to be awarded as bursaries to promising young musicians. On 29 November, 2016 a first £500 bursary was awarded to Jennifer Austin, a promising young Orcadian musician.
A personal note from Alasdair for Jennifer Austin, first bursary winner.
Jennifer’s bursary was awarded at An Evening for Alasdair Gray, a musical and cultural event held on 29 November, 2016, in the auditorium of the Oran Mor beneath Alasdair’s iconic murals. Also as part of that project, Scotland’s leading musicians in various genres contributed songs to a compilation album themed ‘Work as if you live in the early days of a better nation’, and published in Alasdair’s honour: Native Musicians: Songs for Scotland 2.
The second £500 bursary funded in 2016 will be awarded in 2017 at another event at the Oran Mor, also on or near St Andrew’s Day. In advance of that, Alasdair and I will continue to raise funds in the hope that it will be possible to award several bursaries on that night. Towards that end, Alasdair has contributed a group of signed, limited edition prints to raise funds towards bursaries — 30 % of funds realised from fine art sales will be added to the Alasdair Gray Scholarship Trust (please see Alasdair Gray artworks for sale on this blog). It has also been decided to expand the remit of the trust to include young people pursuing studies in other cultural fields (see above).
This is an excerpt from the programme notes from An Evening for Alasdair Gray, which may shed a little light on the whys and the wherefores of the Alasdair Gray Scholarship Trust:
‘A better nation’ will be one in which we give forward to the next generation. It is in this spirit that tonight we will award the first in what we hope will be a series of scholarships to promising young musicians from the Alasdair Gray Musical Scholarship Trust. A better nation will also be one in which we pay tribute to our visionaries, those who have pointed us to the roads that will take us one day to journey’s end.