The New Scriptorium

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.

This building was designed and created by artist Bobby Niven, taking inspiration from the Abbeys Scriptorium. This space was designed to inspire and influence the artists in residents. With colours from the manuscripts and the massive window looking directly towards the Round O of the historical Abbey. Niven creates beautiful small spaces that encourage artists to go off grid and focus, known for many works including the Bothy Project which sees these buildings dotted about Scotland.


Part one of the Young Persons creative programme completed at the weekend. We had 6 Angus P6/7 artists work collaboratively to create some really interesting art work to populate the town newspaper, with the view for giving us a glimpse at the Arbroath they see and experience. 

There was lots of very positive chat about the town and what they want to see in the future for the town, lots more art was high on the agenda. As well as greenery and nature, nice food and active living. Really encouraging interpretations of the people of the town too. 

We look forward to welcoming the next batch in July, this will be our older group, 3rd and 4th year students from both secondary schools in the town. We are really interested to see their interpretation of the town and hopes for it’s future. Why we’re asking these young artists questions like this is to interpret their lives and futures here in Arbroath, the Scriptorium is the vehicle for creating legacy for our young people through this programme and hopefully more. Art and creative practices offer an honest language, they dig into the young peoples thoughts and offer a chance to make.


P6/7 11/12/13th of April 11-3 Scriptorium, Arbroath Abbey. Packed lunch is required from home, or email us to arrange. 

3rd & 4th year group is 1st – 5th of July 10-3.30 Morning at the Scriptorium in Arbroath Abbey and then taking a booked Taxi up to Hospitalfield house, where they will receive soup and sandwich lunch.

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.

April’s Residency – Erin Farley.

Erin Farley, local historian and storyteller will be in residence at the Scriptorium for a week at the beginning of April. Erin has participated in activity at the Scriptorium previously so we’re really excited to see what unfolds during this further exploration.

  • “I’ll be spending a week in residence at the New Scriptorium at Arbroath Abbey at the beginning of April. At the opening of the Scriptorium in June 2022 I told the story The Twins of Edzell, an Angus legend about a Traveller woman and her two deaf sons, and their uneasy encounters with the human power structures that shape the community and the deeper, wilder powers of nature and the landscape. With its themes of language, the ways we (often don’t) understand each other and the way events echo down the years in ways we never fully understand at the time, it is one of my favourite stories and it felt like a natural fit with the location. I’m very much looking forward to returning to the Scriptorium and getting to know it, and its surroundings, better – it feels like the perfect place to explore stories and the ways we pass them down.

John Glenday

In January and February we had the very talented John Glenday in to share his knowledge and skills in poetry. Whether you were just starting out, or a little more well versed, John had different methods of extracting and encouraging words to flow.

These very popular events took place in the Scriptorium, a perfect place for taking inspiration from our surroundings and creating wonderful works of words.

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

Creative Project Coordinator, Kristina Aburrow. Local artist, originally from North of Inverness.

Tina has experience running very busy retail and hospitality businesses, worked with local charities and organisations, and graduated from Grays School of art with a BA hons in Contemporary Art – after achieving a HNC from Dundee and Angus College. This varied experience and understanding of the local environment will help navigate this varied role.

Tina can be reached at

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.

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