The New Scriptorium Open Call for a Comic artist

The New Scriptorium and the Lakes International Comic Art Festival, a national organisation are opening up a funded residency in Arbroath, a two-week residential opportunity to develop ideas, take inspiration from the breathtaking surroundings or the community. 

Lakes Arts Festivals was established in 2012 to create and present an annual international comic art festival, the not-for-profit Lakes International Comic Arts Festival (LICAF) and associated, year-round educational projects.

It was, and remains, the only comic art event of its kind in the UK taking over a whole town, covering every genre and currently working with more than 30 international partners. Its purpose is to enable all types of people to pursue their passion for culture and creativity through the accessible and dynamic medium of comics/graphic novels.

The LICAF mission is to create awareness and understanding about comic art through an international festival and year-round programme of work with social impact. The New Scriptorium want to work with partners who put communication, innovation and creativity at the forefront. 

We believe having a comic book/graphic novelist in residence will give us a really interesting interpretation of the Scriptorium and Arbroath. We would like the resident to participate with the community, help us mobilise local people in a variety of creative ways. The medium has a skill to bring together an intersection of ages and groups. Something we are striving for with 2024’s programme.


As with all the residencies, a ‘Gift’ for Arbroath is the outcome, how that manifests itself is up to the participant. Historically, it has been a number of poems by John Glenday and hand pulped paper made using conversations in Arbroath by poet Sean Wai Keung. One idea is to create a deconstructed newspaper displayed throughout the town, and the possibility of bringing the Scriptorium to the community in new non-conventional ways. 

The theme for the residencies is ‘Power & Word’, highlighting the historical importance of the Abbey – scribes writing very important letters, the most obvious one being the Declaration. Who had the power then, who has the power now? Powerful words can achieve a lot, what will you discover?

There will be an opportunity for engagement at the 2024 or 2025 Festival. How that will look will be decided by the resident and Lakes themselves. 


The LICAF residency is for two weeks, you will be housed in Hospitalfield House in Arbroath with meals supplied. You will join as part of Hospitalfield’s Interdisciplinary residency programme. This is not a flexible residency and dates are fixed – July 30th – August 13th.

The fee is £1000 total with additional £150 towards a public event, also arranged through conversation with partners. There is a budget for travel and a small budget for access.


We are seeking applications from comic artists in the UK. This can include Scotland, England, Northern, Ireland, Wales. This open call is not open to students in full time education at time of application.


You will have access to the Scriptorium daily, operating within the Arbroath Abbey hours which are seasonal. We will also have access for you to local people, experts in certain fields regarding Arbroath.

We are very interested in poets who might explore certain elements of Arbroath life – 

  • Football – a key community involved activity in the town. We want the residents of Arbroath to see the Scriptorium as a beacon for their historical and contemporary voice, the things they care about now – and they certainly care about Football – Jeezy Peeps Man! 
  • Arbroath’s underrepresented histories, for example traveler/gypsy stories, LGBTQI, bpoc and any community you perceive to be hidden but present.
  • Arbroath’s history and future in the fishing world is quite impressive, young families taking over the fish shops and carrying on the protected specialities. How does that influence the town and its residents? 
  • The geology of the area holds many stories, the pick marks still visible from harvesting the stone along the cliffs. There are guided kayak tours that gets you into the belly of the coastline, with plenty stories shared of pirates and cliff jumpers. 

These are a few points of interest for the town, but the real stories come from the residents and the communities. We have found, given the right situations, people are very keen to chat and share their stories. We are eager to hear from people who enjoy community engagement and would like to work with us on this element of the programme. 


The fees for the residencies are calculated using fee guidance for literature and visual arts resources on the Creative Scotland website.

The fees for the local and distant residency differ based on the significant in-kind provision provided through the residency stay at Hospitalfield.

Selection Panel –

Julie Tait, LICAF. Richard Foster, LICAF. Kate Charlesworth, Cartoonist, illustrator and writer. Kristina Aburrow, Project Coordinator, Arbroath 2020. Cicely Farrer, Programme Manager, Hospitalfield.

If you have any questions, please email