On Monday 25 February, LUX Scotland announced artist Jamie Crewe as the tenth recipient of the £15,000 Margaret Tait Award, Scotland’s most prestigious moving image prize for artists. The award was presented to Jamie at the Glasgow Film Festival at the world premiere of Alberta Whittle’s 2018/19 Margaret Tait Award commission, between a whisper and a cry (2019).
Established in 2010, the Margaret Tait Award is a LUX Scotland commission delivered in partnership with Glasgow Film, with support from Screen Scotland. Inspired by the pioneering Orcadian filmmaker and poet Margaret Tait (1918–99), the award recognises experimental and innovative artists working with the moving image, offering a unique avenue of commissioning and production support and providing a high-profile platform to exhibit newly commissioned work.
Jamie Crewe is an artist, a singer, and a beautiful bronze figure with a polished cocotte’s head. Now settled in Glasgow, Jamie grew up in the Peak District, and graduated from Sheffield Hallam University in 2009 with a BA in Contemporary Fine Art, and from Glasgow School of Art in 2015 with a Master of Fine Art.
They have presented three solo exhibitions: Pastoral Drama, Tramway, Glasgow (2018); Female Executioner, Gasworks, London (2017) and But what was most awful was a girl who was singing, Transmission, Glasgow (2016). Their work has also been presented as part of the Artists’ Moving Image Festival 2016 at Tramway, Glasgow - as part of the Glasgow International 2018 Director’s Programme in the group show Cellular World at GoMA, Glasgow - and as part of the KW Production Series at Julia Stoschek Collection, Berlin.
Jamie will use the Award to develop a new cinematic work that they describe as a ‘rural horror film, filmed on the West Coast of Scotland… its semi-autobiographical plot will begin with a transgender protagonist seeking a bucolic retreat, only to find they are antagonised by precarity, painful memories, and an unseen community.’
Drawing on the conventions of the rural horror genre and television series such as the BBC’s West Country Tales (1982–83), Jamie will 'take an experience of modern femininity and mine it for terror – psychological, supernatural, and societal. Formed around the particular qualities of a cinematic experience, and edited with a pointed approach to conventions of narration, I think this film will powerfully address the fears, stresses, and vivid transformations of a certain kind of trans life.’
Inspired by the wealth of talent emerging from artists working with the moving image in Scotland, the Award is presented to a Scottish or Scotland-based artist who has established a significant body of work over the past 5–12 years; is recognised by peers for their contribution to the artists’ moving image sector; and can demonstrate the significant impact that the award will have on the development of their practice.
The recipient of the award receives a £15,000 commissioning prize to produce ambitious new work, which is exhibited at the Glasgow Film Festival the following year.
"I am thrilled to have been selected for the 2019/20 Margaret Tait Award commission"
"Before I graduated from my postgraduate studies I was asked by a tutor I trusted to name an opportunity that I aspired to; I suggested that I’d like to do the Margaret Tait Residency (which was running at the time), and felt almost guilty for aiming so high. Four years on, I am less guilty about everything, and I’ve been selected for this award, which was beyond the limits of my imagination for a long time."
The 2019/20 Margaret Tait Award panel said,
"The panel is delighted to announce Jamie Crewe as the recipient of the tenth annual Margaret Tait Award. While all of the shortlisted proposals showed tremendous promise, the panel was especially excited by the new narratives that Jamie proposes to bring to the lineage of the Award. The way in which their film will experiment with the conventions of genre and form is at once intriguing, rigorous and brave. The panel is thrilled to be able to offer such an opportunity to Jamie at a time when it can make a significant difference in the development of their practice, and we look forward to seeing their work at next year’s festival."
Jamie Crewe said,
"I am thrilled to have been selected for the 2019/20 Margaret Tait Award commission. Before I graduated from my postgraduate studies I was asked by a tutor I trusted to name an opportunity that I aspired to; I suggested that I’d like to do the Margaret Tait Residency (which was running at the time), and felt almost guilty for aiming so high. Four years on, I am less guilty about everything, and I’ve been selected for this award, which was beyond the limits of my imagination for a long time.
"I have a deep investment in Margaret Tait’s filmmaking and poetry, and in the history of this award. I intend to make a film – my first stand-alone, cinematic work – that operates in reference, and in some ways in opposition, to these legacies. It will be a rural horror film, filmed on the West Coast of Scotland, and its semi-autobiographical plot will begin with a transgender protagonist seeking a bucolic retreat, only to find they are antagonised by precarity, painful memories, and an unseen community. In the tradition of television episodes like ‘The Visitor’ (West Country Tales, BBC, 1982), ‘Robin Redbreast’ (Play For Today, BBC, 1970), and ‘Baby’ (Beasts, ITV, 1976), the film will take an experience of modern femininity and mine it for terror – psychological, supernatural, and societal. Formed around the particular qualities of a cinematic experience, and edited with a pointed approach to conventions of narration, I think this film will powerfully address the fears, stresses, and vivid transformations of a certain kind of trans life.
"I look forward to making this work over the coming year, and exploring the exciting possibilities this award opens up to me and my practice."
Nicole Yip, Director of LUX Scotland said,
"The past few years have seen Jamie move from strength to strength as they have continued to harness new ways of working with narrative, process and the indexical traces of their own history. Within their increasingly complex and varied body of work, Jamie has managed to distil a certain kind of trans politics that is at once profoundly incisive and approachable. I am so excited to work with Jamie on developing their award commission, which will exhume a deeply personal set of experiences to tell a semi-autobiographical story of powerlessness and alienation – something that only the most courageous of us could muster."
Sean Greenhorn, Screen Officer at Screen Scotland said,
"Screen Scotland is delighted to support the Margaret Tait Award for another year, and especially to have LUX Scotland in partnership with Glasgow Film Festival to deliver it. Jamie shows all the qualities that we look for in a recipient of the award, with a constant willingness to experiment, push boundaries and create questions at the heart of their work. The proposal submitted thoroughly impressed the panel, and we are excited to see what Jamie produces."
For more information
Nicole Yip | email@example.com | 0141 319 8377
Full details about the Margaret Tait Award can be found here: https://luxscotland.org.uk/programme/margaret-tait-award-residency/
Notes to Editors
The 2019/20 Margaret Tait Award was decided by a panel of professionals working across the fields of the visual arts and cinema, including Richard Ashrowan (Alchemy Film & Moving Image Festival); Kate Davis (2016/17 Award recipient); Kate Gray (Collective); Sean Greenhorn (Creative Scotland); Richard Parry (Glasgow International); Adam Pugh (Tyneside Cinema); Amy Sherlock (frieze); Nicole Yip (LUX Scotland, chair) and Sadie Young (Timespan). From the pool of eligible artists who were nominated through an open call process, four were then shortlisted by the panel and invited to present a proposal for the £15,000 commission. The shortlisted artists were Jamie Crewe, Winnie Herbstein, Stuart Middleton and Margaret Salmon.
Alberta Whittle, recipient of the 2018/19 Margaret Tait Award, screened the world premiere of between a whisper and a cry on Monday 25 February at Glasgow Film Festival 2019. Previous Margaret Tait Award recipients and commissions include Sarah Forrest, April (2018); Kate Davis, Charity (2017); Duncan Marquiss, Evolutionary Jerks & Gradualist Creeps (2016); Charlotte Prodger, The Stoneymollan Trail (2015); Rachel Maclean, Happy & Glorious (2014); Stephen Sutcliffe, Outwork (2013); Anne-Marie Copestake, And Under That (2012); and Torsten Lauschmann, At The Heart of Everything is a Row of Holes (2011).
LUX Scotland is a non-profit agency dedicated to supporting, developing and promoting artists’ moving image practices in Scotland. Working at the intersection of the contemporary visual arts and film sectors, its core activities include public exhibition and touring projects, learning and professional development for artists and arts professionals, distribution, commissioning and production support, research and sector advocacy.
From its offices based in Glasgow, it works with a growing network of national and international partners, including museums, contemporary art organisations, film festivals and educational institutions, to deliver its programme. One of its current priorities is the establishment of a new distribution collection of artists’ moving image based in Scotland. Established in 2014, LUX Scotland is a part of LUX and is supported by Creative Scotland. luxscotland.org.uk
Glasgow Film Festival (GFF) is firmly established as a key event in the UK's film calendar. Having grown greatly in visibility and significance in recent years, the festival has leapt into the top three film festivals in the UK. With 77 UK premieres and films from 51 countries, GFF 2018 welcomed audiences for an ambitious, wide-ranging programme. GFF continues to grow and develop its international reputation. The 2019 festival will take place from 20 February to 3 March 2019. glasgowfilm.org/festival