‘A Portrait of Alexander Blackwood’

Submissions to take part in this year’s festival exhibition are now open. 

We are thrilled to announce our competition for artists for Edinburgh Deaf Festival 2024. This year, we will be showcasing work themed around ‘A Portrait of Alexander Blackwood’, the founder of Deaf Action. Known for his kind heart, his presence has left a lasting impact on our charity. 

We invite artists to respond to our theme, ‘A Portrait of Alexander Blackwood’. We encourage all deaf visual artists to submit their unique take on Deaf Action’s founder. Download the Artist’s Resources Pack to learn more about Blackwood’s life and legacy.

Over the years, we have delved into the history of our founder, and recognise the risk of his story disappearing like many historical deaf figures. We aim to honour his memory by inviting you to offer an imagined version of Blackwood through your artistic lens. How do you envision him? What values do you believe he embodies? What does Blackwood represent to you personally? Let your creativity soar! Go abstract and delve deep as you interpret Alexander Blackwood in your own way.

We are excited to see the unique perspectives and creativity that you will bring to this project. Your interpretation of Alexander Blackwood will help us celebrate and preserve the legacy of a significant figure in deaf history.

The exhibition will run alongside Edinburgh Deaf Festival in August 2024. All the successful entries will be displayed in our festival venue.

Why join our exhibition?
  • Be part of the only deaf festival in Scotland  
  • Support from our festival team 
  • Exhibit your artworks for free  
  • Showcase your work to deaf and hearing audiences
  • Experience being part of the vibrant Edinburgh festival scene 
  • 100% of profits for sold artwork goes to you
Who can apply?

Deaf and CODA artists at all stages in their careers are welcome to submit.  
We are looking for any medium (photography, craft, digital etc), but will be prioritising 2D works. There are no size restrictions. 

Competition information

We will award 3 shortlisted artists, and the winner of the contest will be invited to the festival to present their work and promote their art practice.

  • First prize £60, plus travel and accommodation up to £200
  • Second and third prize £50 
Submission information

We are looking for any medium (photography, craft, digital etc), but will be prioritising 2D works. There are no size restrictions. Artists are welcome to submit up to 3 distinct pieces of work for consideration.


Deadline for online submissions is 17 June 2024.
Applications must be completed before the deadline. After this date you will not be able to make changes to your online submission and new entries will not be accepted. We recommend you do not leave completing your application to the last minute. One image per work is required, however up to three images showing different angles or details can be submitted. Please provide good quality images that will do your work justice. We recommend JPEG or PNG files of at least 1MB in size and no larger than 5MB. Alternatively, please send via wetransfer. Submissions must be sent to festivaldeafaction.org. When sending the email, please specify your name, artwork details, and artwork price if you are apply to have it on sale.

Additional information

Delivering the artworks to the exhibition space is the responsibility of the artist, as is any insurance. Artists will be required to bring artwork to our festival venue. The collection of artworks is the responsibility of the artist. Artwork collections are to be made from the end of the festival and no later than 1 September.

If selected, you will exhibit alongside artists at all stages in their artistic careers. You will have the opportunity to place your artwork for sale, receiving 100% of the profits if sold, or have your artwork returned to you after the festival. We aim to put on an event that will celebrate the exhibition and artist’s work, to which all artists are invited to come along for networking opportunities.

How to apply 

Download our Artist’s Resources Pack here.

Register your interest with our festival team using the form below, we’d love to know more. If you need help or require BSL access to complete the form, please get in touch at festival@deafaction.org.

Registration deadline has been extended until 17 June. All artwork submissions must be received by 1 July.