IASH/Traverse Creative Fellowship


The IASH-Traverse Creative Fellowship 2021 will be open for applications at the end of October and this year, as the world changes, so do we. 

In 2021, we’ll be providing two fellowships both tackling different forms of theatre to respond to the new world we live in:

IASH-Traverse Digital Fellowship

A full-time 3-month writing fellowship focusing on new work for digital outputs, to take place between May – July 2021. 

IASH-Traverse Playwriting Fellowship

A part-time 6-month writing fellowship to take place from August 2021 onwards.


Full details to be announced soon.


About the Fellowships

In each case, IASH and the Traverse Theatre will commission a play on or inspired by any aspect of the Institute’s current interests. The stipend will be £10,000 and the recipient will have a private office and full Fellowship at IASH, and contribute to the Institute’s events, including giving at least one work-in-progress seminar during the tenure of the Fellowship.  During the period of the Fellowship the playwright will receive dramaturgical support from the Traverse’s Literary Department. The recipient must be Edinburgh-based for the duration of the residency, as their regular presence at IASH is expected and they will be encouraged to play a part in the artistic life of the theatre.

The ideal candidate will be a writer who wants to engage actively with the Traverse and is eager to make the most of the unique environment that IASH provides to further their thinking and develop their work. You can find out more about IASH via the About page.

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 the birth of David Hume. Jo’s play The Tree of Knowledge, written during the Fellowship, was performed at the Traverse Theatre in December 2011.
  • The theme for 2012-13 was “Difficult Dialogues”.  Pamela Carter was in residence in the autumn of 2012 and Iain Finlay Macleod in Spring 2013.
  • Clare Duffy was in residence from September 2014 to May 2015, working on her play Arctic Oil.
  • Peter Arnott was the 2017 Fellow, working on his play Variant.
  • Frances Poet was the 2018 Fellow, working on her play Still.
  • Lewis Hetherington was the 2019 Fellow, working on his play Deep Time.
  • AJ Taudevin is the 2020 Fellow, working on her play A(u)nti(e) Empire.

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.


The application process will open in autumn 2020 for the 2021 Fellowships.