Outspoken______a blank space for artists

In light of the mass outbreak of Corona Virus (COVID-19) and its effects on social gatherings, and the closure of museums, galleries, cafes, bars and other places of congregation across the whole of the UK, Outspoken Arts will take their Spring & Summer 2020 programme online.

This major interruption to our normal ways of working, we know, affects all of us.  It affects our lives, our livelihoods and our social connections.  We are reaching out to say that we wish to support our communities, artists and partners to help keep us all creatively engaged and connected in this most vital of times. 

We recognise that many people, especially those with protected characteristics, will be feeling vulnerable, confused, angry and isolated at this time. 

We want to offer a space for you to ENGAGE, CHAT, CREATE & CONNECT. 

We are looking to support, promote and present work by independent artists.  The gig economy on which many of us rely has all but stalled.  We can offer a digital space to show work, chat, share ideas or meet new collaborators.

Whatever you want to share we are open to it.  We’re creating an open platform for sharing art and experiences. If you’d like a detailed brief just ask the team and we’ll send you some guidance

You can share content via this link
(Please note we won’t publish any explicit or obscene content and reserve the right to refuse any entry.)

Please note we are unable to offer any fees or payments at this time due to funding constraints.  We do want to be supportive and hope to offer paid engagements later in the Autumn, Winter, and in 2021, should things return to normal.

If you have any tutorials, workshops or masterclasses you’d like us to share please send us links.  These can include any paid links for your promotion.

We will share our content via our social channels (up to 10,000 followers) via E-flyers | Website | Youtube | Facebook | Twitter | Instagram.
Outspoken Arts Scotland Team

We are accepting emails only.

Submission Guidelines

Guidelines for those wishing to submit content for our new online programme:

Outspoken_______ A blank space for artists  

Outspoken: Discussion  

The main hope is live talks will keep us connected and talking freely about our experiences by inviting established and emergent creatives to talk on a live platform. Scheduled events on Youtube or Facebook live streams, where an audience can tune in to listen to the talks and have a chance to ask questions in the comment section. Ranging from discussions on topical issues facing the arts, artistic practices, a simple Q&A for the host and guests or a topic of discussion voted for by the audience. 

Outspoken:  Content  

The main point of the video uploads is to keep up connected and up to date on what our artistic community is doing. Short videos can be recorded and edited how the artist chooses, ready for upload and will be put onto Outspoken Art’s social media for our audience and other artists to see what the artist is doing. We want to give stage to artists who may be feeling isolated or disconnected as we aren’t able to conjugate in the normal ways through meetings, exhibition openings or even in shared studios. The content of the videos can be of the artists choosing, as simple as talking about their current practice or due to the uncertainty of these times they may want to discuss issues they are facing due to Covid-19 or how they think this will affect the contemporary art scene etc. The health and well-being of our artistic community is our top priority, so this is an open call to all independent artists to talk, communicate and create. 

Outspoken:  Support  

If you have any tutorials, workshops or masterclasses you’d like us to share please send us links. We want to give stage to your art practice and provide free advertisement for your practice and help promote you during this difficult time, this can include any paid links for your promotion, your artist Patreon account for example. 

Guidelines for submission:  

To make it as easy as possible for the team to platform your submission there’s a few simple guidelines to follow for the digital programme: 

  • Send us your basic Info: Name/ Email/ Social Media Tags/ Artist Website. 
  • Send us your artist Bio: Who are you, what do you do. 
  • Send via outspokenteam@outspokenarts.org 

Specific guidelines for- 

Outspoken:  Discussion  

  • If you would like to take part as one of our guests, please get in touch with what you would like to discuss. 
  • Please make sure you have a functioning camera and/or microphone. 
  • If we decide to host you on our livestream event please reframe for swearing or getting into a heated debate as we want this to be a safe space for all our audiences. 

Outspoken:  Content  

  • Please make sure you have a functioning camera and/or microphone. 
  • Please send us the video submission exactly how you wish it to be presented, meaning its fully edited and ready for upload. 
  • We as Outspoken Arts will have a panel at the beginning of each video and at the end, reading- ‘Outspoken Arts presents…’ & ‘Outspoken Credits + Artist Info’. 
  • We have a wide audience and therefore prefer the videos to be ‘family friendly’ meaning a lack explicit content where possible. 
  • However, we are willing to upload a variety of videos; if your video does fall into an explicit category please put a disclaimer in front of the video and we can age restrict videos where appropriate. 
  • Please also put a disclaimer for any upsetting/distressing content or flashing imagery. 
  • Each video must have a short description of content as the artist wishes it to appear in the description section of social media platform- please keep this short and include any relevant tags. 
  • We accept links to WeTransfer.com, Dropbox or Vimeo to then be sent to our email outspokenteam@outspokenarts.org – Please send us a link to the downloadable video, do not send the full file to our email. 
  • We reserve the right to reject submissions. 
  • We cannot guarantee that every submission will be uploaded as we are expecting a high volume of submissions. 

Outspoken:  Support  

  • Please send us what you wish to be posted exactly how you wish it to appear- we may edit some in the interests of clarity or word count. 
  • We will post your content once as we want to avoid reposting the same content. E.g. One post for workshop advert, one post for artist page- Sent to us in preferably one email. 

Annual Report

Year: 2018/2019

In 2018/2019 the Company carried out a year-long research and development programme engaging with many organisations, groups and communities across the West of Scotland. This work was informed by the recent Community Empowerment Scotland Act (2015) and to refresh and inform our artistic mission. This work was subsequent to major consultation with Renfrewshire Council on its UK City of Culture Paisley 2021 bid.

In the year we carried out the following engagement activities:

  • Meetings: 137
  • Organisations: 30
  • Participants: 1,510
  • Hours: 400

We also delivered a number of live performances over the year:

  • Glasgay Archive Publication Launch: 14 Feb 2019
  • Notorious – Lauren Barri Holstein Co.: 11 May 2019
  • P Project – Ivo Dimchev: 18 May 2019
  • Cuckoo – Jaha Koo: 22 May 2019
  • Listening Party – Asrun Magnusdottir: 22,23,24 May 2019
  • In-Cube Creative Crafts Trail (12 events): 5, 6 July 2019
  • Paisley Youth Arts Festival (55 events): 1-15 Sep 2019
  • Paisley Art Institute – 131st Annual Exhibition: 5 Sep-20 Oct 2019
  • Jesus Queen of Heaven: 30 Oct-2Nov 2019
  • O Evangelho Segundo Rainha Do Ceu: 31 Oct 2019
  • Untitled 2009: 2 Nov 2019

Total Audiences: 15,903

Where they came from:


Combined following 149,504 – across Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Issuu, Mailchimp, Website.

Total Reach: 1,338,396

Employed & Engaged: 71 artists + 24 volunteers

Annual Accounts to 31st March 2019

Visual Arts Officer 


Indie has joined the team recently after graduating from Gray’s School of Art. Indie has extensive experience in working with emerging artists. Indie brings with them a knowledge and contact base of emerging artists of varied backgrounds as well as experience in the community arts field – having performed themselves at GOMA with ‘Dial A for Whispers – Talk is Cheap’ and having worked with Look Again Festival, VictoriArt and Grampian Hospitals Art Trust. Indie has recently worked closely with John Walter as a chaperone for the artists’ work ‘The Fourth Wall’ with Look Again’s 2019 Festival. The narratives of people with protected characteristics are of extreme importance to Indie, specifically the narratives of queer and trans people. In their post as Visual Arts Officer, Indie will take care in developing creative programming, forming and maintaining vital relationships with communities and emerging artists.

PR & Marketing Manager 
T: +44(0)141 847 1122
Lisa re-joins the Company after a spell of working on major events such as the Mackintosh Festival and other work with Glasgow’s Merchant Square.  Lisa brings a wealth of experience in public relations, advertising, publishing and press campaigning.

Engagement Manager
T: +44(0)141 847 1122 | M: +44(0)759 891 1026

Alphonso joined the Company as initially our Administrator in April 2007. He was previously Ticketing Director for NFL Europe League’s Scottish Claymores and England Monarch’s American football teams. He was also Box Office Manager for Promenade Production’s The Big Picnic at Harland & Wolff Engine Shed. Alphonso most recently worked for US military defence contractor Northrop Grumman. in his newly reformed post Alphonso will look after most aspects of artists, communities and participants engagement activities as well as programme and event management.

Creative Director/CEO & Company Secretary
T: +44(0)141 552 7575 / 847 1122
M: +44(0)776 272 2460

Steven has worked in the professional performing arts since 1983. He has worked at Glasgow’s Tron, Tramway, King’s and Mitchell Theatres as well as the Royal Scottish Academy of Music and Drama (now Royal Conservatoire of Scotland). He followed that with a large scale project, The Big Picnic, with Bill Bryden and Promenade Productions. He worked subsequently for the Scottish Claymores and from 1998-2003 he was Administrative Director for New Moves International Ltd, producers of the New Territories festival. He ran the Glasgay! festival from 2004-2014 and subsequently transition the company into Outspoken Arts Scotland. He has also consulted, as a Creative Producer, for Renfrewshire Council supporting its Paisley 2021 UK City of Culture bid and an Event Legacy plan 2018-2022.  Steven is also a lay committee member of the Paisley Art Institute.

Our History

Outspoken Arts Scotland Ltd is the legacy of a movement that began with the foundation of the Glasgay! Festival in 1993, founded as a direct response the Section 28 legislation banning the promotion of homosexuality as an acceptable lifestyle.

Glasgay! launched on Saturday 30th October 1993. This lesbian and gay arts festival was the innovation of Cordelia Ditton, well known in national arts scene as a performer, writer, and co-director of Gay Sweatshop. The introduction of Section 28 in 1988 galvanised a whole new era of political and public agitation and resulted also in the founding in 1989 of the influential national lobbying group Stonewall.

Ditton herself had been involved in the campaign against Section 28. Ditton recognised that important local organisations such as the Glasgow branch of Switchboard already existed. However, it was her idea that a lesbian and gay arts festival, would make the lesbian and gay communities of Glasgow more visible. In 1991 she joined forces with Glasgow-based freelance arts administrator Dominic D’Angelo. Both were determined to to produce an arts festival that would show gay lifestyles and performers and work in a very, very positive light. The mission was to change public opinion about lesbian and gay people and to show the wealth of amazing work that was out there.

The 1993 Festival opened to huge acclaim garnering audiences of just over 26,000 attenders. However, there were hateful campaigns in the press, from Tory Councillors and members of the public de-crying the use of public money on such gay art. This backlash and the difficulties it faced caused two years of festival blackout – 1994 and 1996.

In 1995 Cordelia and Dominic stepped down and a new board of directors was convened and the charity Gala Scotland Ltd established. This company then carried forward the legacy and produced the festival from 1995 to 2014.

In its history the festival worked with many of the top gay and lesbian artists in the world. Names such as Sir Ian McKellen, Simon Fanshawe, Donna McPhail, Edwin Morgan, Jackie Kay, Rhona Cameron, Annie Sprinkle, Penny Arcade, Bette Bourne, Diamanda Galas, Neil Bartlett, Scott Capurro, Pam Ann, Four Poofs and a Piano, Lypsinka, Louise Welsh, Marc Almond, Alan Carr, Zoe Strachan, Stewart Laing, and John Waters are amongst the many others that have graced the festival stages.

The work of the festival was always dominated by the prevailing social climate in terms of acceptance, tolerance and understanding of LGBT rights, equality and the march of progress. That social progress has resulted in the repealing of Section 28 of the Government Act 1998; the Civil Partnership Act (2004) and The Equality Act (2010).
Glasgay! artists across the generations have presented work in various artforms that continually reflect social attitudes, behaviours and experiences of the LGBT community. The Glasgay! Festival was a place where LGBT life was acknowledged, celebrated and understood.

Over the 21 years of its history the festival was funded mainly on a year to year basis by the Scottish Arts Council and, subsequently its successor, Creative Scotland and Glasgow City Council. From 2007 to 2014 it enjoyed regular 3 year funding agreements from the Scottish Arts Council/Creative Scotland. In 2015 the Company was unsuccessful in its bid to become a new RFO client and the Board was asked to consider the future of the festival without the support of Creative Scotland.

The Company was also asked to consider its national role as a promoter of equality and the broader protected characteristics. It was clear that whilst the festival clearly enjoyed strong support in Glasgow the need to spread the message of equality, particularly to outer-lying communities was the principal challenge. The Company agreed to enter a period of funding transition and the board took the bold step of retiring the festival and renaming the charity, rebranding and re-purposing the mission.

The name Outspoken Arts Scotland was chosen to reflect the campaigning roots of the festival as legacy of a movement. A new mission was adopted to work in outerlying communities and to work across all, or most, of the protected characteristics. This transition period lasted for nearly two years 2015-2017 and the Company delivered a number of projects across that period.

The Company continues to be funded by Creative Scotland & Glasgow City Council and since 2018 by Renfrewshire Council.


The entire administrative, artistic, press & PR archive of the Glasgay! Festival 1993-2014 was transferred to Glasgow University’s Scottish Theatre Archive in Spring 2018.  This archive is still being catalogued and documented but reference to it should eventually appear at this link. http://special.lib.gla.ac.uk/STA/search/


See this link for Commissions, productions, presentations and a list of artists/companies who appeared.

Appendix N – Our History 1993-2014

Steven Thomson

Creative Director/CEO, 2004-present

Steven Thomson is now the Creative Director & CEO for Outspoken Arts Scotland. He was initially appointed as Producer of the former Glasgay! Festival In Feb 2004. During his tenure he successfully grew the Glasgay! into a large month long celebration at nearly 20 venues, attracting up to 35,000 visitors and contributing upwards of £0.5m to the national economy. He successfully repositioned the festival as Scotland’s annual celebration of LGBT culture, grew public funding, increased private sponsorship, and diversified the income base.  The festival was funded since its inception by the former Scottish Arts Council and Glasgow City Council. Glasgay! ran from 1993-2014 and subsequently the company entered a period of funding transition in 2015-2017 re-emerging as Outspoken Arts Scotland. In 2016-2018 Steven has also consulted, as a Creative Producer, for Renfrewshire Council supporting its Paisley 2021 UK City of Culture bid and an Event Legacy plan 2018-2022.

In 2005 Steven was awarded a Pride Award by Phace Scotland and The List Magazine. In 2009 he was listed 22nd place in the List Magazine’s Top 100 cultural movers and shakers of the year. In September 2005 he opened the Q! Gallery, Scotland’s first gallery dedicated to queer art and artists. The festival has been officially listed in Fodders and Frommers world travel guides, awarded Top 4th Gay Destination by USA’s Gay.com and won the prestigious Top Gay Event of the Year (List Magazine 2007). The Festival was awarded “Cultural event of the year” by the Equality Network in September 2015.

He began his career in 1983 as an actor and assistant director of a young, Paisley based community touring theatre company, Arc Theatre Company. He toured “The Game’s A Bogey” by John McGrath (7:84 Theatre Co.). The show transferred to Mayfest 1984. From 1983 to 1987 he worked as Box Office Manager at the Tron Theatre. Following that he was appointed as Theatre Manager with programming responsibilities at the Royal Scottish Academy of Music and Drama. The RSAMD (now known as the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland) had just opened a fine new public facility with four large performance spaces and he helped foster a significant growth in the profile of the venue, curating a busy programme of professional theatre, music and conferences. In 1992, after five successful years producing high quality public events, he took up a new promoted post as Senior Marketing Officer.

From 1987 to 1993 Steven also maintained his work as a Director and Producer. In 1987 he along with Pene Herman-Smith and Lorenzo Mele (formerly 7:84 Theatre Co.) founded Made In Glasgow, a professional student theatre ensemble at the RSAMD. The company staged the first Scottish Student Drama Festival at the RSAMD, and toured to the Edinburgh Fringe. In 1991 he produced Dunoon jazz singer and Billie Holiday look-alike Suzanne Bonnar (River City) in “I Cover The Waterfront – the Billie Holiday” story by Troy Fairclough which played at Glasgow International Jazz Festival, Edinburgh Festival Fringe and RSAMD. He made his directorial debut in 1992 for the Scottish première of Nice by Mustapha Matura which starred afro-caribbean actor Desmond McLean.

In late 1993 Steven left the RSAMD to go freelance and carried off a successful short-term marketing contract with New Moves – Scotland’s international contemporary dance festival. He followed that with a short stint as Press Officer for touring company Winged Horse’s Production of Tom McGrath’s The Android Circuit starring Michelle Gomez (The Green Wing). Mid 1994 he was appointed General Manager for Promenade Productions producers of The Big Picnic at the Harland & Wolff Engine Shed former Shipyard. This epic 1st World War production written and directed by Bill Bryden (former Head of Drama at BBC Scotland and Associate Director of England’s Royal National Theatre). He worked principally under the Producer, Nicholas Newton (founder of London’s the Bush Theatre and son of 1950’s Hollywood film actor Robert Newton). The production was staged to great acclaim to over 50,000 people and recorded for Broadcast on Armistice Day by BBC Television.

Between 1995 and 1996 he worked for Glasgow City Council as a citywide Theatre Manager at The King’s, Mitchell and Tramway Theatres. Mid 1996 he also organised the ticketing operation for the World League of American Football’s Scottish Claymores successful World Bowl Championship at Murrayfield Stadium attended by 38,000 people.

In July 1997 Steven relocated to London to again take up the post of General Manager with Promenade Productions who had been commissioned by Channel 4 to make a new six-part drama entitled SOHO. This was to have been a £6m serial drama filmed at Pinewood Studios. Unfortunately the production was cancelled by Channel 4. Over the last two decades Steven has continued to work in an associate capacity with Bill Bryden and Producer, Nicholas Newton. He has worked on a string of BBC Radio Recordings and the production Baby Doll by Tennessee Williams at the Albery Theatre in London’s West End in June 2000. During his year in London he returned to work for the World League of American Football, this time at its NFL Europe London Headquarters managing, the stadium and ticketing operation for its two main teams the England Monarchs and Scottish Claymores.

In May 1998 Steven returned to Glasgow and New Moves International in a new role as Administrative Director. During his tenure he was successful in securing an increase in the Company’s annual funding by moving the company from project to core revenue funding as well as managing many successful medium scale lottery bids. He also organised a major review by the Scottish Arts Council which culminated in the creation of new posts to further develop audience and contextual programming and took the average annual turnover of the Company from £100k to circa £350k. He found continuing funding support from the British Council, Visiting Arts and from time to time the Arts Council of England. In a bold move in October 1999 he successfully persuaded the Artistic Director and Board to merge the National Review of Live Art and the New Moves festival into a new annual five-week festival called New Territories which ran until 2010.

Creative Learning Officer 


Ilona joined the team in September 2019 as their Creative Learner Officer, keen to deliver and develop arts programmes for a variety of community groups. Utilising past voluntary teaching and creative learning experience of working within a variety of educational settings from primary to undergraduate. Her background is primarily in Contemporary Fine Art and as a practicing artist, working with a variety of mediums and specialising in oil painting. In 2016, she gained a Bachelor of Arts in Fine Art with Honours from Moray School of Art and in 2019, they achieved a Master of Letters in Fine Art Practice with The Glasgow School of Art – Painting Pathway.