IASH/Traverse Creative Fellowships

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 Fellowships 2021 are for you.

Applications are now closed for playwrights and theatre makers for IASH/Traverse Creative Fellowships in 2021. The 2022 open call will be issued in the autumn. This year, we are providing two creative Fellowships, commissioning and supporting two writers to produce work that links to the Traverse Theatre and IASH’s interests in urgent stories that speak to our lives now and into the future. You can find out more about IASH via the About page.


About the Fellowships

IASH/Traverse Digital Fellowship

A full-time 3-month writing Fellowship focusing on new work for digital platforms between May – July 2021. 

  • This Fellowship is open to writers with an idea or story suitable for digital platforms. That could be a Virtual Reality storytelling piece, a theatrical film, a binaural audio play or something entirely different.
  • We’re interested in how technology and new forms of theatre can be brought together to produce innovative ways for audiences to experience stories.
  • For this Fellowship, the writer will be invited to live in Edinburgh full-time for three months (or they must already be based in a commutable location), working in residence at the University of Edinburgh to produce a first draft text by the end (or soon after) of that period.
  • 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 playwright will receive dramaturgical support from the Traverse Literary Department, and while each Fellowship will be tailored towards the writer's / project's individual needs, it would be our ambition to work towards a work-in-progress sharing of the work in 2021 as part of the piece’s ongoing development.
  • The stipend for this fellowship is £10,000 inclusive of an accommodation allowance.
  • In addition to this, the University of Edinburgh may be able to provide international travel bursaries, and can help support visa applications for writers based overseas.


IASH/Traverse Playwriting Fellowship

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

  • This Fellowship is open to writers with an idea or story for an ambitious and entertaining new play that speaks to the urgent issues impacting on our lives now and into the future.
  • This Fellowship will be spread across a 6- to 7-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 days a week, or one week per month for example.
  • 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 being 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).
  • 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 £10,000.


Application process - APPLICATIONS FOR 2021 ARE NOW CLOSED

  • Please send a cover letter (no more than 2 pages of A4) and CV to iash@ed.ac.uk containing the following information.
  • Why you are interested in the Fellowship.
  • A short statement about you and your work.
  • What’s the story you want to tell?


  • Candidates must have had at least one professionally produced play to be considered (which could be digital in format).


Notes: 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. For the digital residency, please include information on what digital form of storytelling you’re interested in exploring and why.

Deadline for applications for both Fellowships were: 5pm GMT on Monday 30th November 2020.



Shortlisted writers will be interviewed via Zoom in the week commencing 18th January 2021.

Exact times TBC. 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 these fellowships. If you have any questions about the application process or Fellowships 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 and as such are committed to appointing at least one person of colour to these Fellowships to ensure Fellows working at IASH and the voices on our stages are as representative as possible.



It is currently expected for the university and its facilities to remain open to Fellows in 2021, albeit with social distancing and strict COVID safety measures in place. However, if and as the situation changes, we will work with the Fellows to best accommodate them and their needs as restrictions necessitate.


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 was the 2020 Fellow, working on her play A(u)nti(e) Empire.
  • Apphia Campbell is the 2021 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.