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.

Details of our forthcoming programme are currently being confirmed. We are now taking bookings for Prepare Your Portfolio. Further opportunities will appear below with the opportunity to book your place provided on our dedicated Hands-On Eventbrite webpage:






Prepare Your Portfolio

Tuesday 17 October – Thursday 19 October 2017

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.

Being based within the unique setting of the new artist centre at Cove Park will not only enhance the students’ overall experience while there, but it also provides a fantastic advantage for boosting the application process. The students will be able to take away with them a confident start to an art school-suitable portfolio while also being able to incorporate what they have learned into the Higher/Advanced Higher Art & Design Curriculum.

Former residents, artist Douglas Morland and ceramic designer Laura Lightbody, both graduates of The Glasgow School of Art, will deliver the course via talks, studio based briefs / tasks and short projects, supported by sketchbook work and individual / group critical reviews.

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

Here is a taste of previous events and activities.

beach combing image 2

Beach Combing Holiday Art Club
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