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Special Projects


In addition to supporting its partner museums to develop and make acquisitions of contemporary art for their collections, throught the NCSS, The Scottish Arts Council has provided funding towards a small number of specific initiatives and projects wherein NCSS partners have commissioned work directly from artists for their collections or buildings.

The museum partners involved in the NCSS have articulated the value and the potential offered by the commissioning process, for instance in terms of both fresh and imaginative engagement with collections and collaborative working.

'Within the museum the ability to work across departments is increased, with the possibility that this may result in commissions, possibly with artists who are interested in other areas of the collection.'

Into the future, the NCSS would like to work with new partners in order to find ways to support and enable its museum participants to explore projects with artists in relation to their existing collections, which can result in the creation of new work for those collections.


In the first phase of the NCSS (2003-2006), The Scottish Arts Council supported two commissioning projects undertaken by the partners and led by The Contemporary Art Society.

Firstly Aberdeen Art Gallery commissioned John Creed to make a pair of architectural gates for permanent installation in their gallery.

Secondly as part of a highly innovative joint commissioning project, the six museums and galleries participating in Phase 1 worked together collaboratively and with The Contemporary Art Society to commission renowned artists Joanne Tatham and Tom O'Sullivan, who produced a suite of objects that they subsequently installed at Newhailes House in Musselburgh October-November 2006.

In Phase 2, The McManus: Dundees Art Gallery and Museum has completed an extraordinary new commission with artist David Batchelor as part of its Re-development Project, which was supported partly with funds from the NCSS, as well as by The Art Fund, The Henry Moore Foundation, and Dundee Galleries and Museums Association.