Samstag Scholarship gives artists agency over their education

A once in a life time international study opportunity is available to applicants of the Samstag Scholarship, including institutional fees for one academic year and so much more.
Samstag Scholarship gives artists agency over their education

Image: Zoe KIRKWOOD, The Screen Set Series, 2015, installation view, CACSA Contemporary. Photograph Che Chorley.

There’s a crisp chill to the Glasgow air in February. Presently hovering around 4°C and reaching an average of  just 15°C in summer, the temperature in this significant Scottish city remains cool throughout most the year.

Speaking to ArtsHub from Glasgow, student Zoe Kirkwood – the recipient of the 2017 Samstag Scholarship – doesn’t seem to mind the weather. Kirkwood is currently attending the Glasgow School of Art (GSA): her institution of choice, which the Scholarship has facilitated.


Open nationally, the Samstag Scholarship is offered by The University of South Australia on behalf of the estate of two distinguished American benefactors to Australian artists, the late Gordon Samstag and his wife, Anne. Two scholarships are provided each year to two current students of an Australian visual arts program.

Each scholarship includes a tax-exempt stipend of US $48,000 (approximately AUD $65,000); institutional fees for one academic year (where applicable); return airfares, and personal travel and medical insurance.

Learn more about the Samstag Scholarship

‘I chose to study at Glasgow School of Art, which has a critically renowned Masters program,’ Kirkwood said. ‘I had completed my Honours in Visual Arts at UniSA in 2013, majoring in painting. I applied for the Samstag Scholarship in 2016 after gaining some exhibition experience.’

Working in larger scale installations, Kirkwood’s practice also includes sculptural and painted elements, with colour often being a key component. Increasingly concerned with architectural theory, the scale of her artwork is beginning to reflect her further understanding of the subject.

‘I think that the process of study in a challenging and engaging environment is always going to push your practice and allow you to make things you wouldn’t have necessarily thought you would or even could make,’ Kirkwood explained. 

‘Exposure to new art and new ideas is also vital to any art practice and I’ve been really lucky to visit some incredible shows whilst here, as well as GSA having an amazing roster of visiting lecturers and artists. I feel like in the last six months it’s been a whirlwind of intense engagement with new processes and ideas!’

Samstag Scholarship guidelines and tips

The window in which to apply for the 2019 iteration is fast approaching. Below are some tips to help you prepare for your application:

  • All applicants must be either Australian citizens or have permanent resident status in Australia, and be at least 18 years of age.
  • This scholarship is open nationally so ensure you are eligible; graduates within five years of completion or students with at least two years of a practice-lead visual arts undergraduate or graduate degree completed by the closing date may apply.
  • Research is a must. Applicants are asked to identify their selection of proposed overseas institutions. Ensure you have done the relevant homework regarding your preferred international school. Kirkwood said: 'Research the schools that you are applying for and find those that have the facilities and staff that are really going to strengthen your work.’

To learn more about the 2019 Samstag Scholarship visit:

About the author

Andrea Simpson is ArtsHub's Feature Writer and Reviews Editor. Andrea is a Filipino-Australian writer with a love for diverse Australian stories. She is curious about all forms of art, though she has an especially keen interest in the publishing sector.

Andrea has had short stories published in various anthologies, and is currently working on her first novel.  

You can follow Andrea on Instagram @andi_jayyy