Artist Jamie Crewe becomes the tenth recipient of the Margaret Tait Award, Scotland’s most prestigious moving image prize for artists inspired by the pioneering Orcadian filmmaker and poet Margaret Tait (1918–99).

The award recognises experimental and innovative artists working with the moving image, offering a unique avenue of commissioning and production support and providing a high-profile platform to exhibit newly commissioned work. The £15,000 commission will premiere at Glasgow Film Festival in February 2020 and will subsequently tour with LUX Scotland.

Jamie Crewe is an artist, a singer, and a beautiful bronze figure with a polished cocotte’s head. Now settled in Glasgow, Jamie grew up in the Peak District, and graduated from Sheffield Hallam University in 2009 with a BA in Contemporary Fine Art, and from Glasgow School of Art in 2015 with a Master of Fine Art. They have presented three solo exhibitions: Pastoral Drama, Tramway, Glasgow (2018); Female Executioner, Gasworks, London (2017); and But what was most awful was a girl who was singing, Transmission, Glasgow (2016). Their work has also been presented as part of the Artists’ Moving Image Festival 2016 at Tramway, Glasgow; as part of the Glasgow International 2018 Director’s Programme in the group show Cellular World at GoMA, Glasgow; and as part of the KW Production Series at Julia Stoschek Collection, Berlin.

Inspired by the wealth of talent emerging from artists working with the moving image in Scotland, the Award is presented to a Scottish or Scotland-based artist who has established a significant body of work over the past 5–12 years; is recognised by peers for their contribution to the artists’ moving image sector; and can demonstrate the significant impact that the award will have on the development of their practice.

Jamie will use the Award to develop a new cinematic work that they describe as a ‘rural horror film, filmed on the West Coast of Scotland… its semi-autobiographical plot will begin with a transgender protagonist seeking a bucolic retreat, only to find they are antagonised by precarity, painful memories, and an unseen community.’ Drawing on the conventions of the rural horror genre and television series such as the BBC’s West Country Tales (1982–83), Jamie will ‘take an experience of modern femininity and mine it for terror – psychological, supernatural, and societal. Formed around the particular qualities of a cinematic experience, and edited with a pointed approach to conventions of narration, I think this film will powerfully address the fears, stresses, and vivid transformations of a certain kind of trans life.’

On receiving the award, Crewe said, ‘I am thrilled to have been selected for the 2019/20 Margaret Tait Award commission. Before I graduated from my postgraduate studies I was asked by a tutor I trusted to name an opportunity that I aspired to; I suggested that I’d like to do the Margaret Tait Residency (which was running at the time), and felt almost guilty for aiming so high. Four years on, I am less guilty about everything, and I’ve been selected for this award, which was beyond the limits of my imagination for a long time… I have a deep investment in Margaret Tait’s filmmaking and poetry, and in the history of this award. I intend to make a film – my first stand-alone, cinematic work – that operates in reference, and in some ways in opposition, to these legacies… I look forward to making this work over the coming year, and exploring the exciting possibilities this award opens up to me and my practice.’

Crewe was nominated alongside artists Winnie Herbstein, Margaret Salmon and Stuart Middleton.

The 2019 Margaret Tait Award was decided by a jury of artists and professionals from across the fields of the visual arts and cinema. This year’s jury is: Richard Ashrowan (formally Alchemy Film & Moving Image Festival); Kate Davis (2016/17 Award recipient); Kate Gray (Collective); Sean Greenhorn (Creative Scotland); Richard Parry (Glasgow International); Adam Pugh (Tyneside Cinema); Amy Sherlock (frieze); Nicole Yip (LUX Scotland, chair) and Sadie Young (Timespan).