Scotland’s Sounds / National Library of Scotland      

Unlocking Our Sound Heritage –    Artist in Residence Brief


About the Project

Unlocking Our Sound Heritage (UOSH) is a National Lottery Heritage Funded collaborative project, led by the British Library, in conjunction with 10 hub partners across the UK.  The National Library of Scotland is the Scottish partner for the project.

  • The project will run over 3 years 2018-2021
  • It will  digitise, catalogue and assess rights for around 10,000 sound recordings from organisations across Scotland.
  • There will also be a programme of engagement and learning activities.


The purpose of UOSH is to address the threat facing the UK’s sound heritage.  Sounds held on physical formats risk being lost as the carriers degrade over time and the equipment to play them is no longer produced.  Older carriers like lacquer discs as well as more recent formats like CDs, tapes and minidiscs are at risk.  There is a limited time to digitally preserve the material and a need to expand the infrastructure and necessary skills.  Research during the development of UOSH indicated that only 30% of those surveyed were confident of their capacity to care for the audio collections they were responsible for.  The Project will expand the heritage sector’s capacity to preserve and use sound material as well as increasing public access to and enjoyment of audio archives.

About the Artist in Residency

The National Library of Scotland will be developing an artist-in-residence programme, where different artists will be invited to explore the collections and their context to inspire new works and interpretations, and to compose new pieces. This could be any type of artist, who will be invited to research the sound archives and open up the collections to new audiences.  Part of the artist’s outcomes will be to work with different community partner(s), in Scotland, so that they are involved as part of the journey, in exploring and selecting items from the collections and contributing to outcomes. For this first residency, a collection of birdsong, interviews with ornithologists and ornithological conference proceedings from the Scottish Ornithologist’s Club will be the source material.

The programme will aim:

• To inspire new works and interpretations, and compose new pieces

• For the artist to engage community partner(s) and special interest groups with their artistic practice and take part in a range of creative workshops using the archival audio

• To work with community partner(s) and special interest groups to select and interpret recordings


We are therefore inviting experienced artists to devise, deliver and evaluate workshops aimed at engaging with community partner(s) and special interest groups, to inspire new works and interpretations and to feature some of the resulting new pieces and outcomes at public events in 2020 and 2021, with the aim of promoting the sound collections.

The aim of the workshops will be to engage the general public with the sound collections and to inspire their use in new creative works.

There is no restriction on media or approach, but all must be suitable and risk assessed to be safe to use within the project, with all those involved.

This is a collaborative project that must clearly reflect the involvement and influence of the participants and the community partner(s), so that it is valued and its outcomes both locally and nationally recognised.

As more recordings are digitised and more information discovered, we would anticipate that as the project develops the topics of focus might change, so there is an expectation that the artists involved can respond flexibly and positively to any new material.


This commission is intended to support the project’s outcomes as agreed with the HLF by facilitating;

  • Groups of people to be encouraged to listen to archival sound recordings as a muse for creative expression and reinterpretation
  • The artist-in-residence to benefit from working with archival sound and working with community to explore their creative practice
  • Participants to enjoy the experience of engaging with sound archive recordings

Source Material

The recordings to be used as source material by the artist will come from a collection held by the Scottish Ornithologist’s Club and include field recordings of Scottish birds, interviews with notable ornithologists and proceedings of the club. Access to these recordings may be restricted to the Kelvin Hall due to IPR.

Knowledge & Experience – Essential Criteria

Applicants will be measured against the following criteria;

  • Professional experience in the delivery and evaluation of collaborative/participatory arts project in any setting
  • Have an understanding of the different communication preferences that potential participants may have experienced and appropriately demonstrate how they will fully engage all participants and ensure their voices /opinions are heard and represented.
  • Have a good knowledge and understanding of equal opportunities, confidentiality, safeguarding and also the statutory and own personal professional responsibilities when working with vulnerable groups in the community.
  • Be able to supply at least 2 professional references who can be contacted.
  • Hold a current Disclosure Scotland or PVG certificate (as appropriate to the workshop participants)
  • Can demonstrate a high level of skills in working with the chosen artistic medium

The following are desirable;

  • Experience in undertaking and delivering, previous artist-in-residence projects
  • A degree level qualification or equivalent in a creative field, or, a substantial portfolio of previous work.

Delivery Timescale

We are commissioning an artist to deliver on the following schedule;

  • Commencing from 1st October 2019
  • Final presentation of new work by 28th February 2020

This will comprise 3 participatory workshops with members of the public via the community partner(s) and 1 celebratory event showcasing the participant’s creation(s).

Monitoring and evaluation

The artist will be required to report to the Project Manager on agreed milestones and provide information and documentation for reports and presentations. The artist will be expected to evaluate against our project outcomes (above).


The artist will be expected to engage members of the public via the community partner(s) who will have access to appropriate facilities.


The overall budget for this project is non-negotiable and set at £4,800 which includes;

  • The artist’s fee
  • Collaboration with a partner organisation (to be sourced by the artist)
  • Delivery of a celebratory event
  • Materials & resources for 3 workshops
  • Travel costs for the artist

(Any travel costs incurred by participants attending the workshop will be met, up to £10 per day, and claimed directly from the Project Manager).


The applicant will be required to provide evidence to demonstrate that the necessary insurances are in place, including public liability insurance of at least £2million, to cover any possible accident, loss or damage during the residency, as well as evidence of the appropriate Disclosure Scotland/PVG certificate as required.

Copyright and Intellectual Property

The copyright and any intellectual property in the created works and/or documents will remain vested in the artist or the person responsible for their production. The artist will be required to grant or agree to procure for the National Library of Scotland an exclusive and irrevocable royalty-free licence of the copyright in the created works and/or documents and/or photographs and/or film and/or sound for the unrestricted free use by the National Library of Scotland, the British Library and the Heritage Fund.

To Apply

  • Completion of the attached application form
  • A copy of your curriculum vitae
  • Applications to be submitted via email to

Closing Date

12pm on the 15th September 2019

For enquiries 

Please contact;

Jeni Park

UOSH Hub Project Manager

National Library of Scotland

Kelvin Hall, 1445 Argyle Street, Glasgow, G3 8AW

0141 880 2317