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.

Upcoming Events


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.

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

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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.

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

On Site: Drawing and Stitching Workshop: 18 October 2017 14.00 – 17.00


Join artist Deidre Nelson for an introduction to her work and an opportunity to create a small textile handkerchief or napkin. Inspired by the Cove Park site participants will explore drawing and stitch to make 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 necessary.

The workshop is for all abilities and all levels of experience. It is offered free of charge. There are eight places available so please reserve a place by booking through Eventbrite.

Lost Wax Carving with Mirka Janeckova


Lost Wax Carving is a two-day masterclass for people in Argyll and Bute who have an interest in jewellery making and design. You will have the opportunity to learn this fascinating technique from professional artist Mirka Janeckova, Mirka was resident at Cove Park in 2014 and is returning to teach this special weekend masterclass.

Lost wax carving is one of the oldest jewellery techniques which has been used since prehistoric times. During this workshop you will make jewellery from special waxes which then can then be cast in a metal of your choice (silver, bronze or gold).

You will learn about different carving and sculpting techniques, wax tools and jewellery waxes, casting process and finishing. Each participant will create their own set of jewellery – rings, earrings or pendants inspired by Cove Park’s unique surrounding.

This workshop is suitable for people without any previous jewellery experience as well as jewellers who would like to learn this technique.

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.

Found Movement Masterclass with Vanessa Smith

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This 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.

Here is a taste of previous events and activities.

Laura Spring – Artist Talk: 10 October 2017. 16.00 – 18.00


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. We would like to invite you to a short talk where she will share 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.

Beach Combing Holiday Art Club



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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.
10:00-13:30, Monday 24 - Friday 28 July 2017
FREE, 10 places available


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.
09:30-12:00, Monday 7 - Friday 11 August 2017
FREE, 8 places available


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).


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