Glasgow-based artist Jamie Crewe has been announced as the tenth recipient of the annual Margaret Tait Award. Crewe receives £15,000, to be used to produce a new film work which will be premiered during next year’s Glasgow Film Festival.
Crewe – who uses the pronouns they/them – was presented the award by Lux Scotland director Nicole Yip at the Glasgow Film Festival premiere of 2018/19 prize-winner Alberta Whittle’s film, between a whisper and a cry (2019). They were chosen from a shortlist which also included Winnie Herbstein, Stuart Middleton and Margaret Salmon.
Explaining their choice of winner, a statement from the award’s selection panel said: “While all of the shortlisted proposals showed tremendous promise, the panel was especially excited by the new narratives that Jamie proposes to bring to the lineage of the award.
“The way in which their film will experiment with the conventions of genre and form is at once intriguing, rigorous and brave. The panel is thrilled to be able to offer such an opportunity to Jamie at a time when it can make a significant difference in the development of their practice, and we look forward to seeing their work at next year’s festival.”
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.”
Crewe graduated from Sheffield Hallam University in 2009 with a BA in Contemporary Fine Art, and from Glasgow School of Art’s MFA in 2015. They have had 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).
Crewe said that the Margaret Tait commission would be their first first stand-alone, cinematic work, describing it 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”.
They added: “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.”
The panel for the 2019/20 award included: Richard Ashrowan (Alchemy Film & Moving Image Festival); Kate Davis (2016/17 Margaret Tait 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).
1. Jamie Crewe, Adulteress, film still, 2017. Courtesy: the artist
2. Jamie Crewe, Pastoral Drama, 2018, production still. Courtesy: the artist and Tramway, Glasgow