To see our full list of current events and to book please see our dedicated Hands-On Eventbrite webpage.

Hands-On is a programme of free creative workshops, events and talks for people in Argyll and Bute led by national and international professional artists currently and formerly resident at Cove Park. The programme of educational and participatory creative activities runs throughout the year offering something for young children, families and older people alike. Hands-On increases opportunities for people in the region to access and participate in the arts, providing them space, time and freedom to learn creative skills, develop ideas, and enjoy the arts.

The Hands-On programme runs in parallel with Cove Park’s international artists residency programme, harnessing the creative talent we host at the southern reaches of Argyll and Bute every year, and have done since Cove Park opened in 2000.

Saturday Studios is our new series of monthly workshops for children. Each session will be taught by a different artist who will share their own techniques, skills and experiences in these creative and engaging workshops

Summer Studios


For full details and to book please see our eventbrite page here



Here is a taste of previous events and activities.

Saturday Studios: 24th March

Artists Rob Churm and Emlyn Firth will led our March 24th Saturday Studios.


Primary school aged children joined Rob for a printing making and drawing workshop where they created a series of incomplete bridges, then finishing then by hand to offer a variety of ‘other sides’.



Secondary school pupils were introduced to typography with Emlyn Firth creating a series of modular parts they used to create their own letterforms.

Saturday Studio: 24th February

Laura Lightbody worked with our primary school groups on artworks made from cutting vinyl.

28449807_10155499492053510_567122770_n 28450487_10155499554083510_1583337656_n-1 28458945_10155499491943510_1884425523_n

Our group of secondary school pupils worked with Rob Churm to create some beautiful artworks using a viewfinder and pen and ink.

28383520_10155499473388510_1761956949_n 28536870_10155499495243510_1571616102_n 28450381_10155499557068510_161015515_n


Saturday Studio: January 27th

Children from primary 3-7 were invited to work with visual storyteller Naomi O Kelly. She led a unique workshop combining storytelling, puppetry, play and imagination to encourage children to make up their own piece of visual theatre.


Our group of secondary school aged pupils had a fascinating day long workshop with with filmmaker Margaret Salmon where they learnt the basics of using a 16mm film camera and then had the opportunity to make their own short film.


website divider


Contemporary Portraits: Painting Masterclasses with Michael Fullerton 

1 & 2 December 2017



A two-day masterclass for people interested in exploring a diverse range of contemporary practices in portrait painting, catering to all levels of experience with making portraits.

Working from life or photographs attendees can learn how to evaluate and learn from old master paintings. Participants can work from life in which classical painting approaches will be examined. For those who choose to work from photographs formal issues will be addressed such as how to choose good photographs and the issues involved in translating from photography to painting. There will also be discussions around conceptual and critical issues and the context of source material, the use of titles will also be discussed.

For further information and to book, please visit our Eventbrite page or contact Emma Henderson (Hands-On Producer): emma.henderson@covepark.org

Overnight accommodation is available.

website divider

Found Movement: Dance & Choreography Masterclass with Vanessa Smith 

11th &12th November


Luminate16 - eoincarey_0434

This two day workshop will encourage participants to find new ways to make work. In the same way that visual artists use ‘found’ objects in their work, we will gather ‘found’ movement. This might mean learning movement we find around the Cove Park site, or learning movement from each other.

We will use smart phones to document the material, then, using a method which allows for structure to emerge through a collaborative process, we will organise the movements we find and use them as a springboard to make new material.

This workshops is lead by former Cove Park resident choreographer and movement teacher Vanessa Smith. It is for those who may or may not have some kind of dance/movement/ choreographic experience, but are interested in finding new ways to make movement based work, and new ways to collaborate.

For further information and to book, please visit our Eventbrite page or contact Emma Henderson (Hands-On Producer): emma.henderson@covepark.org

Overnight accommodation is available.


website divider

Dance and Movement workshop with Janice Parker

8 November 2017 


Luminate16 - eoincareyphoto_0071

A workshop for anyone over 50 interested in dance. This is an opportunity to discover, explore and develop your bodies natural capacity for movement. Working from our own natural movement capacity we will focus on connections between body and landscape, taking in the depth and beauty of Cove Park. The workshop will be facilitated by Janice Parker and is for everyone from first time to experienced movers and dancers.


website divider


Prepare Your Portfolio: Tuesday 17 October – Thursday 19 October 2017

SatClubCovePark17 - eoincarey_0121 copy

Creating and compiling a strong portfolio in support of your application for an arts or design based higher education course is essential! Your portfolio needs to showcase your creative skills, ability and range of practice. This is a three day course for young people in years S5 & S6 or above (the minimum age is 16). Led by former Cove Park residents designer Laura Lightbody and artist Douglas Morland, participants to the Portfolio Prep workshop will be introduced to a broad range of exciting activities aimed at developing their hands-on skills, as well as promoting creative initiative. The lessons planned will cover a selection of approaches including working in sketchbooks, large-scale drawings, and 2D/3D outcomes, with a focus not only upon materials and experimentation but upon encouraging the development of the students’ own personal visual language and interests.


website divider


On Site: Drawing and Stitching Workshop

18 October 2017 14.00 – 17.00


Artist Deidre Nelson gave a fascinating introduction to her work and allowed participants the opportunity to create a small textile handkerchief or napkin. Inspired by the Cove Park site participants they explored drew and stitched  a small textile handkerchief or napkin. This short, introductory workshop will allow participants to go away with something to work on and develop in the future. No experience is


website divider

Saturday Art Classes for School Aged Children: 7 October 10.00 – 12.30



  • Saturday Art Adventures for Children in Primary 4, 5 & 6: 10.00 – 11.00 – Free weekly sessions offering children the chance to explore their creativity. Led by professional artist Soizig Carey.
  • Saturday Art Club for children in Primary 7 & S1:  11.30 – 12.30 – Free weekly sessions offering children the chance to play and experiment with materials, techniques and artistic expressions. Led by professional artist Soizig Carey.
  • National Art and Design Saturday Club for S2 and Upwards: 10.00 – 12.30 - Led by professional artist Alex McEwan, the sessions will nurture young peoples’ artistic and design talent, introduce them to new and familiar materials, techniques and processes and provide the space and time for them to enjoy what inspires and engages them.


website divider


Lost Wax Carving Masterclass with Mirka Janeckova

21 & 22 October 2017


Lost Wax Carvinga two-day masterclass where participants were given the opportunity to learn this fascinating technique from professional artist Mirka Janeckova who was resident at Cove Park in 2014.

Lost wax carving is one of the oldest jewellery techniques which has been used since prehistoric times, our participants learnt about different carving and sculpting techniques, wax tools and jewellery waxes, the casting process and finishing techniques.


website divider

Laura Spring – Artist Talk

10 October 2017


A special presentation from Cove Park’s 2011 Scottish Craft resident, textile artist Laura Spring.

Laura is a Glasgow based textile designer/printer/maker with an appetite for exploring and collaborating with others in addition to producing her own annual accessory and home-ware collections. Earlier this year, Laura was awarded a Creative Scotland grant to research and develop new work inspired by the ancient Finnish weaving technique known as täkänä. In this talk Laura shared the  journey of this project from a chance finding at a flea market back in 2015 to driving the icy, remote roads of Finland in March this year in order to meet with a secret world of weavers hidden in the basement of a community centre, to organising an exhibition of the work and research at Helsinki Design Week this September.


website divider


Beach Combing Holiday Art Club

 7-11 August 2017

beach combing image 2

Led by Celia Pym, an artist who works with textiles, this Holiday Art Club is for young people aged 12-18 interested in creating work inspired by their local environment, who want to slow it down a bit and look closely at the natural world surrounding their coastal setting.
website divider


The Inner Reaches of Outer Space Holiday Art Club


Led by Jesscia Fox, writer and former NASA storyteller in residence, this Holiday Art Club is for children aged 6-9 interested in connecting science and art through movement, writing and drawing.

website divider

National Art & Design Saturday Club at Cove Park


offers young people aged 12-18 the unique opportunity to explore, expand and enhance their creative skills at regular sessions. Led by professional artist Alex McEwan, Club sessions nurture members artistic / design talent and provides them with the space and time to enjoy what inspires and engages them. Club sessions complement members’ schoolwork and builds their creative confidence and self-esteem at a time when they are considering future study options. Cove Park is the first National Art & Design Saturday Club in Scotland in the UK network. Our Club members from 2016/2017 had their self-portraits exhibited at Central St Martins in London, went on a creative excursion to Edinburgh, visiting the Dovecot and Scottish National Portrait Gallery, and exhibited their work at the Saturday Club Trust‘s Summer Show at Somerset House, London (see images on Cove Park’s instagram feed).

website divider


Luminate16 - eoincarey_0394

In ’1973: Dance and Movement Workshop’, choreographer Janice Parker invited first time dancers and those still dancing to move and experience movement in the surroundings of her archive of 43 years of creating dance with people of all abilities. The workshop featured in Luminate: Scotland’s Creative Ageing Festival 2016.

Led by former residents, our weekend Masterlcasses provide participants with the space, time and freedom to create and develop work, learn new skills, processes and techniques in the relaxed and supportive environment of the artist residency centre. They are pitched at those with no, some or considerable arts experience. This image is from Developing Your Design Process through Drawing, Colour and Pattern with knitwear designer Jennifer Kent of Edition Scotland.


Prints of Play! with textile designer Laura Spring was the first of our Holiday Art Clubs. Inspired by play, participants designed and printed their own unique t-shirts. Holiday Art Clubs will take place at Cove Park during the Easter, Summer and October school holidays.


Hands-On is a two-year pilot programme running until Summer 2018. Many of the events and activities take place in Cove Park’s expanded Artist Centre. With the new building Cove Park will have, for the first time, spaces dedicated to participatory activities for individuals and groups. Activity will be free, unless residential, in which case a charge will be applied.

Cove Park has been awarded funding from two major UK Trusts, Paul Hamlyn Foundation and The Robertson Trust, to realise Hands-On. With further support from Argyll Youth ArtsThe Bridge Awards and Cass Art.

The programme will be managed by the Hands-On Programme Producer working in partnership with the Hands-On Board, a voluntary steering group of representatives from our local and regional community.

To hear about Hands-On activities as they are announced choose ‘Subscribe’ from the above menu, selecting the ‘Hands-On Cove Park’ option from the dropdown.

For further information about Hands-On visit our Facebook page or contact,

Helen Voce, Hands-On Programme Producer
01436 850500

Download Cove Park’s Child Protection Policy