The New Scriptorium

An ambitious new artist commission by Bobby Niven, for Arbroath Town.

The New Scriptorium is devised as a place for writing and a place for conversation – a place of activity and to celebrate the power of literacy and learning. The structure of the programme for the New Scriptorium includes Writer’s in Residence, events, schools’ projects and more. This programme of activity, in collaboration with Historic Environment Scotland, transforms the building into a working space.

The New Scriptorium imagines the Abbey when it was a busy working environment with a library or scriptorium at its heart. The Benedictine order of monks who established the Abbey were from the French Tironensian order, each monk had their own craft or skill, literacy and the making of books was one of the most influential. The town of Arbroath grew up around the Abbey and so too; the red sandstone of the town with the streets running down to the harbour. The great Abbey, with its Round ‘O’ towering above the town, are completely inseparable formally and historically.

The New Scriptorium is an artist designed and built structure be sited on the Abbey grounds initiated by Arbroath 2020 committee in partnership with Historic Environment Scotland, Hospitalfield and part of the Angus Place Partnership Programme.

January 2024: ‘Starting to Write’ Led by John Glenday
Saturday January 20th 2024 – 2pm – 3.30pm

If you’ve never written before, or have limited experience writing either fiction or poetry, then why not come along to this taster session in creative writing? We’ll use simple exercises, tips and tricks to make memorable poems or flash fictions in the atmospheric setting of the Scriptorium at Arbroath Abbey. Suitable for young and old, but places are limited, so book early!

Please email to register for place or two. Or to ask any questions!

When registering please provide you name, postcode and if under 18, your age and if you will be attending with a guardian.

John is a writer and poet based in Carnoustie. He was poet in residence in the New Scriptorium in November 2023 in partnership with Scottish Poetry Library.

You can learn more about his residency and work here

November 2023: Creative Writing students from University of Dundee residencies

From 13 to 23 November, students from University of Dundee’s Creative Writing Undergraduate programme undertook daylong residencies in The New Scriptorium focusing on site writing and place. The students will be presenting their ‘work in progress’ at University of Dundee on Tuesday 28th November at 3pm.

“You are warmly invited to an informal sharing event with 4th-year Creative Writing students from the University of Dundee, Tuesday, 28 November from 3-4pm in the Chaplaincy Centre on the University of Dundee campus. These students have been writers-in-residence at The New Scriptorium, a purpose-built space for writers sited on the grounds of the Arbroath Abbey, and a project of the Arbroath 2020 committee and Hospitalfield House.
During their residencies, the students have been responding to the space and thinking about the relationship between the Abbey and place-making, community-building, Scottish histories and futures. They will be sharing creative work that they’ve generated and we’ll be joined by members of staff from Hospitalfield and Arbroath 2020 to talk about how the student work fits in with the wider project.”

Venue information:

November 2023: Recruiting a Creative Project Coordinator

Arbroath 2020 + 3 Committee are looking for a Creative Project Coordinator to manage the 8 month Power & Word: Town Writers Programme in 2024 with us in The New Scriptorium at Arbroath Abbey.

Arbroath 2020+3 committee wish to appoint an arts professional with great energy and a collaborative ethos, to coordinate the Power & Word project in The New Scriptorium in Arbroath Abbey. The committee’s ambitions are to create a successful and inspiring, community serving cultural programme for Arbroath. We think this role might suit someone in an early career stage. Apply here

October – November 2023: Poetry Residencies with Scottish Poetry Library

In October and November we are delighted to welcome poets Sean Wai Keung and John Glenday for residencies and public workshops in the New Scriptorium in collaboration with Scottish Poetry Library and Hospitalfield.

Come to visit the writers on Thursday 9 November from 2.30 – 3.30pm to meet both writers and hear about their work at the New Scriptorium in Arbroath Abbey.

September 2023: Angus Writers Circle Residency

Angus Writers Circle returned to the New Scriptorium for one month in September to spend time writing in the New Scriptorium and to launch their leaflet featuring new writings and readings. Find out more

May – July 2023: Open Writing Days in The New Scriptorium

Take the time and space within the inspiring context of The New Scriptorium Arbroath Abbey to develop your writing or literary work. Writers participating in the Open Writing Days in May and June 2023 include: Johnny Gauld, Julie Adams, Knotbrook Taylor, Julie Adams, Linda Watson-Brown and Wendy Jones. Find out more

June – December 2022: Short Sharp Stories

We launched The New Scriptorium in 2022 with the Short Sharp Stories programme and the inaugural Arbroath Town Writers’ Residency with Angus Writers Circle. In 2022, Hospitalfield led the Short Sharp Stories programme – find out more about the writers, illustrators, collaborations and workshops here: Short Sharp Stories: Scotland’s Year of Stories – Hospitalfield

We partnered to organise two major projects with young people in Angus:
Short Sharp Illustrated Stories by KMG & Arbroath Academy Students – KMG worked with young people from Arbroath Academy to create drawings that would illustrate the story of the Abbey and the idea of the role of the scriptorium within the Abbey. Find out more

Communication & The New Scriptorium – a film-making project led by young people in Angus, facilitated by Media Education Scotland. Watch the film and find out more

Access to The New Scriptorium

Visitors to the Abbey will be able to access the interior The New Scriptorium during public events and workshops. Visitors attending workshops and events will gain free entry to the Abbey.

Access to the Abbey Visitor Centre, Abbey Grounds (reduced) and The New Scriptorium is £5 standard price with a range of concessions available. Information on ticketing can be found here:

There is level access to The New Scriptorium.

Arbroath Abbey is open:

Daily, 10am to 5pm
Last entry 4.30pm