IASH/Traverse Creative Fellowship

Do you have the beginnings of a brilliant story to tell?

An inspiring idea to unpack?

Or a new form of theatre to explore?

Then the IASH/Traverse Creative Fellowship 2024 is for you.

Applications for 2024 have now closed for playwrights and theatre makers for the IASH/Traverse Creative Fellowship. The Fellowship is a collaboration between IASH (the Institute for Advanced Studies in the Humanities at the University of Edinburgh, supporting innovative research and public engagement activities across the arts, humanities and social sciences) and the Traverse Theatre, Scotland’s leading New Writing Theatre.

In 2024, we are providing one Creative Fellowship that commissions, develops and supports an exceptional and innovative playwright in the creation of a new piece of work that speaks to our lives now and into the future.  

You can find out more about IASH via the About page.

You can find more about the Traverse here: www.traverse.co.uk



A writing Fellowship of up to 10 months to take place from January 2024 onwards.  

  • This Fellowship will be open to writers with an idea or story for an audience-focused, ambitious and entertaining new play that speaks to the urgent issues impacting on our lives now and into the future, contributing to the cultural voice.
  • This Fellowship will be spread across a 10-month period, giving the writer the time, space and support needed to research and write the play whilst working around other commitments.
  • Each Fellowship will be tailored to the writer's needs and availability but it is expected that the writer can work at the University on a regular basis – such as two or three days a week, or two weeks per month for example. Applicants do not need to be based in Edinburgh, but should be able to travel to IASH regularly.
  • The recipient will enjoy a private office at the University, as well as access to the university library and the Institute’s many other resources, including joining the community of other Fellows working at IASH during this time.
  • The recipient will receive dramaturgical support from the Traverse Literary Department, with the expectation that up to two drafts be completed during their residency, with another draft due at some point after the residency finishes (exact timelines to be tailored to needs of the project and Traverse Theatre). There may also be the opportunity for practical development periods working in collaboration with the Traverse artistic team and other creatives as required.
  • The Fellow will be expected to contribute to IASH and Traverse Theatre events as mutually beneficial, giving at least one work-in-progress seminar and/or reading of the work to an invited audience.
  • The stipend for this fellowship is £12,000.


Application process


Please send a cover letter (no more than 2 pages of A4) and CV to iash@ed.ac.uk containing the following information by 5pm on Friday 22 September:

  • Why you are interested in the Fellowship.
  • A short statement about you and your work.
  • A short statement about the story or idea you want to use as a starting point for your play.

Notes: Candidates must have had at least one professionally produced play to be considered. We’re particularly interested in knowing what the story is you want to tell (even if it’s just a starting point), thematically how it might link in with the Traverse Theatre and IASH’s interests and, crucially, what your ambitions would be for an audience experiencing your work.

Shortlisted writers will be interviewed via Zoom or in-person in early October. Shortlisted candidates will be asked to send two examples of their writing / work prior to interviewing – please do not include any writing examples in your initial application.

We welcome applications from all writers and theatre makers interested in the Fellowship. If you have any questions about the application process or Fellowship please don’t hesitate to get in touch at iash@ed.ac.uk. We are particularly interested in applications from groups who have been traditionally unrepresented.


Previous Fellows

  • Jo Clifford (2010) and Linda McLean (2011) were both writing on aspects of the life, work and legacy of David Hume, as part of the 2011 celebrations to mark the tercentenary of his birth. Jo’s play The Tree of Knowledge, written during the Fellowship, was performed at the Traverse Theatre in December 2011.
  • Pamela Carter was in residence in the autumn of 2012 and Iain Finlay Macleod in spring 2013. The theme for 2012-13 was “Difficult Dialogues”.
  • Clare Duffy was in residence from September 2014 to May 2015, working on her play Arctic Oil, performed at the Traverse Theatre in 2018.
  • Peter Arnott was the 2017 Fellow, working on his play Variant, performed at Òran Mór and the Traverse Theatre in 2023.
  • Frances Poet was the 2018 Fellow, working on her play Still, performed at the Traverse Theatre in 2021.
  • Lewis Hetherington was the 2019 Fellow, working on his play Deep Time.
  • AJ Taudevin was the 2020 Fellow, working on her play A(u)nti(e) Empire.
  • Apphia Campbell was the 2021 Fellow, working on a new play.
  • Michael Patrick and Oisín Kearney were the 2022 Fellows, working on their play Union of Craic.
  • Isla Cowan is the 2024 Fellow, working on a new play.

IASH is a precious island of intelligent, creative, and free discourse.  It's an intellectual community in the very best sense of the word: an amazing and astonishing space to write a play in. Jo Clifford

The work I've done here includes the final draft of Melody (produced by the Traverse Theatre); a rough first draft of a new play called The Gypsy Grave; an adaptation of an American novel I've titled Mancub and the first act of a play called If Destroyed True (Paines Plough commission) which is the most directly inspired piece from my time here. It's a lot of work, about double what I would normally achieve in the time frame. Douglas Maxwell

My time at IASH was extremely productive and memorable. A really special period when I rediscovered the process of writing a play at a desk, which just so happened to be exactly what I needed at exactly the right time. I really valued the cross-pollination process through the IASH structure of lunches and work-in-progress sharings and I felt that my place as a creative writer was of interest as well to the other Fellows. Clare Duffy


The Traverse Theatre

As Scotland’s new writing theatre, the Traverse Theatre is a dynamic centre for performance, experience and discovery, often referred to as Edinburgh’s ‘beating heart of the Fringe’ in August. Enabling people across society to access and engage with theatre is our fundamental mission.

Our year-round programme bursts with new stories and live performances that challenge, inform and entertain. We empower artists and audiences to make sense of the world today, providing a safe space to question, learn, empathise and – crucially – encounter different people and experiences. Conversation and the coming together of groups are central to a democratic society, and we champion equal expression and understanding.

We commission, produce and programme for existing and future audiences to offer new and exciting experiences for everyone, and our partnerships with other theatre companies and festivals enable us to present a wide range of innovative performances.

The Traverse would not exist without our over-arching passion for talent development and embracing the unexplored. We work with the newest and rawest talent – with an emphasis on the Scottish-based – nurturing it to become the art, artists and performances that can be seen on our stages through a variety of creative learning and literary programmes.

The timely, powerful stories that start life on our stages have global impact, resulting in dozens of tours, productions and translations. We are critically-acclaimed and recognised the world over for our originality and artistic risk, which we hope will create some of the most talked-about plays, productions, directors, writers and actors for years to come.

The Traverse remains the best new writing theatre in Britain. - The Guardian

For more information about the Traverse, please visit www.traverse.co.uk.