Scott Sutherland School students selected for Scotland + Venice Festival

Wednesday 31 May 2023

Scotland + Venice Festival - Ravenscraig part of the exhibition
Two master's graduates from the Scott Sutherland School of Architecture & Built Environment at Robert Gordon University (RGU) have been awarded scholarships to a major international project, ‘Scotland + Venice’.

The prestigious scholarships, awarded to Maxwell Wilson from Moray and Caitlin Watson from Aberdeen, recognise the best contemporary art and architecture talent from Scotland.

As part of this unique scholarship, Maxwell and Caitlin will start a dedicated Professional Development Programme this summer and will have the opportunity to develop their own research and to work in Venice at a major exhibition called the Venice Architecture Biennale.

The Scotland + Venice Learning Programme provides development opportunities for students, graduates and early year professionals and aims to foster their talents on a world stage.

Master's graduate, Maxwell Wilson, from the village of Lhanbryde, near Elgin in Moray, is in his final year studying a Master of Architecture. He designed a horticulture facility with an adjoining gin distillery in the small community of Finstown in Orkney for his final year Masters’  Architecture project with the aim of creating a sustainable, new industry for islanders.

He said: ““I am incredibly grateful for this huge opportunity, eagerly anticipating everything that it will bring. It’s great to be a part of it at such a pivotal stage in my professional career.”

Master's graduate, Caitlin Watson from Aberdeen, who is also in her final year has produced a project called ‘A Renewal is Looming’. The design addresses circular economy through a recycled plastic textile mill based in Stornoway, Isle of Lewis. The proposal, inspired by the Harris Tweed industry, promotes a renewal of the weaving industry by collecting ocean plastic to turn it into 100% recycled plastic yarn and textiles.

She said: “I am delighted to take part in the Scotland + Venice’s ‘A Fragile Correspondence’ exhibition after having previously attended the Venice Biennale in 2018 and the ‘What if...?/Scotland’ exhibition in 2021 at the Dundee V&A. More recently, as co-president of the 57°10 architecture society, we invited Madeleine Kessler, a co-curator of the British Pavilion in 2021 to speak in the 57°10 lecture series. The Professional Development Programme is a great opportunity to network with a variety of creative individuals at the international exhibition of architecture and I am grateful to the Scott Sutherland School for supporting the exhibition.


David Vila Domini, Course Leader in Architecture at Scotts, said: “It is absolutely fantastic that master's graduates from Scotts have been awarded scholarships to the Scotland + Venice Learning Programme. This is a huge opportunity for them that will really enhance their professional training, work experience and career development.

“The Scott Sutherland School of Architecture & Built Environment works closely with industry to ensure we offer professional opportunities to help our students and the gain Scotland + Venice project will provide invaluable work experience that will develop the foundation they have gained at RGU.”

Kate Hendry, Architecture and Design Scotland’s Scotland + Venice project lead said, “Since 2003 the partnership has been supporting the professional development of over 150 students, graduates and early career professionals. The participants are a vital part of our contribution to the Architecture Biennale, and they engage with our international audiences, whilst developing their own work and research. We are delighted to work with such a talented group on A Fragile Correspondence and can’t wait to see what they take away from the experience.” 

Founded in 2003, Venice Biennale exhibition is the pinnacle of cultural commissioning and a flagship project for Scotland that supports the Venice Biennale festival, established in 1895. Since 2008, the festival has incorporated the Architecture Biennale which offers national as well as international attention to artists, architects and curators.

Scotland + Venice is a partnership between Creative Scotland, British Council Scotland, National Galleries Scotland, Architecture & Design Scotland, V & A Dundee and the Scottish Government.

Main image shows Ravenscraig section of 'A Fragile Correspondence' exhibition, part of the Venice Architecture Biennale, credit Daniele Sambo. Other images show external view of Scotland + Venice Festival and image of Caitlin Watson and Maxwell Wilson.

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