University bursaries help support skills development in Scotland’s cultural sector

By Press Office

In a bid to support skills development within the cultural sector in Scotland, a university is offering a limited number of bursaries for its Masters programme in Arts, Festival and Cultural Management.

Queen Margaret University, Edinburgh has established a bursary scheme to help staff from selected Scottish cultural organisations develop more effective knowledge of cultural management, both in the UK and internationally. 

The bursary offers a partial fee waiver of 50% for students undertaking the popular MA Arts, Festival and Cultural Management programme. This fee waiver is available for a limited time only to staff from specific cultural organisations in Scotland.

The scheme was piloted in 2014 and three staff from the Edinburgh Festival Fringe Society took up the opportunity to develop skills and knowledge that would support them in the development of their career. The partial fee waiver and the support of their employer has allowed them to study the master’s programme on a part-time basis while they continue to work.

David Stevenson, Programme Leader for the MA Arts, Festival and Cultural Management course at Queen Margaret University, said: “We are establishing this bursary to help support the development of the next generation of senior managers within Scotland’s diverse cultural sector. Given the rapidly changing economic and social landscape in which cultural organisations find themselves, we see this scheme as not only supporting the individuals but contributing towards the sustainability of cultural organisations in Scotland.”

Organisations choosing to take up this opportunity must agree to support staff members by giving them the time they need to attend the course - one day a week throughout each twelve week semester over the two years of the programme.

Lyndsey Jackson, from the Edinburgh Festival Fringe Society, said: “The fee waiver scheme allowed us to offer three members of staff high quality professional development as well as a postgraduate qualification.  We have encouraged these staff to apply their learning to their roles and the wider organisation, and the content of the programme reflects the reality of working in a festival organisation such as ours, giving students useful skills and knowledge to perform better in their working lives.”

Feedback from students who started the programme in 2014 has also been very positive. Tigho Ayovuare said: “The support of my employer to undertake postgraduate study has been invaluable to my professional development, and the schedule of delivery allows me to implement my learning in a live working environment, as well as question my organisation - and colleagues! - throughout my learning.”

David continued: “We are delighted that the students who took up this opportunity during last year’s pilot have found the programme so valuable. While cultural organisations can often work on very tight budgets, this should not mean that staff development is overlooked. We think this scheme offers an affordable way for cultural organisations to invest in their team and which will ultimately strengthen their ability to support creative practice in Scotland.

The partial fee waiver entitles permanent full-time or part-time staff members of eligible organisations to a 50 percent waiver of course fees for the MA Arts, Festival and Cultural Management. The remaining fee of £2000 can be paid by the participating organisation, the staff member or a combination of both. Eligible organisations must be either:

  •         part of Creative Scotland’s regularly funded portfolio;
  •         Accredited Museums (associated with Museums Galleries Scotland); or
  •         members of the Federation of Scottish Theatre

Individuals who are interested to know more about the bursary scheme and the content of the MA programme may wish to attend Queen Margaret University’s postgraduate open evening on Wednesday 25th March, 5.30pm – 7.30pm at Queen Margaret University’s campus in Musselburgh.

For more information on the MA Arts, Festival and Cultural Management visit our course page.

Notes to Editor

For further media information please contact Jonathan Perkins, Press and PR Officer, Queen Margaret University, Edinburgh, tel: 0131 474 0000, Email:

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