Process: Application Information

Local Heroes is a curatorial studio that connects audiences with contemporary Scottish design and craft. Our mission is to sustain and catalyse opportunities for designers and put design from Scotland on an international stage.

We pioneer new formats for exhibitions and events and develop projects with partners in the cultural and commercial sectors. We use unconventional and inventive sites and spaces to bring the work of designers and makers to a wider public through design-centred experiences, showcases and exhibitions.

Professional Development Programme

PROCESS is a new practical and research-based programme focused on strengthening and contributing to the career development and increased capacity of independent designers based in Scotland.  Highly bespoke activity, such as mentoring; studio-style crits; and input from international experts is aimed at enhancing skills, increasing knowledge and offering specific advice where needed to maximise opportunities for design businesses. This programme will run as a pilot to allow us to test the model and impact for the sector within a one-year timeframe.

The key benefits and value for participating designers is a supportive environment for the research and development of a new product or range with a focus on: accessing new markets; increasing confidence and skills; critical thinking; PR and presentation; and sustainable production.

This one-year pilot programme is aimed at professional practising designers who are Scotland-based and in the early to mid stages of their career, and who have up-to ten years of relevant experience. Local Heroes will pay a research and development fee of up to £1,500 to each of the selected participants.

The pilot programme will run between August 2023 and August 2024. Applications are now open for the PROCESS Programme 2023.

Deadline for applications is 5pm, Monday 24 July 2023.

Programme Overview


Design research is critical to how we relate to and understand the world around us as designers. Local Heroes has developed this pilot project which will support between three and five designers to explore an expanded approach to their design practice within a supportive and structured  environment. Our international network helps connect our programme to the wider world, and to bring in new contexts, different forms of knowledge and a wide variety of voices.


Designers will work supportively and collaboratively together through the programme. Local Heroes curator Dr Stacey Hunter will provide mentoring and facilitate both knowledge-sharing and industry expertise from invited international guests.

The key benefits and value for participating designers is a supportive environment for research and product development. Four key areas will be explored during the programme in the context of accessing international markets:

  • New Product Development
  • Confident Critical Thinking
  • Media & PR Training
  • Embedding Sustainability Into Everyday Practice 

PROCESS is a practical and research-based programme aimed at designers based in Scotland who are developing and/or producing products for lifestyle, furniture, lighting and interior design. 

The opportunity is suitable for professional practicing designers at the early to mid-career stage who are based in Scotland and work independently of an organisation. The programme is designed to support designers to improve their practical and critical practice and embed an increased knowledge and capacity around sustainability into their work.

Participants will be supported to focus their position, learn to reflect on their work in peer-to-peer sessions and alongside invited design experts; develop their personal aesthetic; and research topical questions to come up with design proposals and a final group presentation in 2024. Collectively the cohort will write about and critique design, further developing their critical writing and thinking skills. Alongside this, there will also be opportunities to network with the design sector. 

The programme involves online and in-person networking and professional development sessions; travel as a cohort on selected field trips; studio visits; and online sessions with international experts.

Throughout the programme, participants will be supported by Local Heroes through a clearly articulated process and set of outcomes – partly co-produced by the cohort with guidance from Stacey Hunter. This will also include a Scotland-based exhibition or profile raising PR project in 2024.

Online and in-person workshop series

With PROCESS, we want to capitalise on the networks we have been building and continue to support independent designers who want to grow their market internationally. 

The programme is designed to meet the needs of design businesses based in Scotland who are producing products for lifestyle, furniture, lighting and interior design. Our model operates in a similar way to a design collective. By working as a collective we can be a critical friend to designers – using our experience of the design sector to create an effective programme of activity where everyone in the group works towards a common goal. 

It will be delivered over 12 months in partnership with international design experts and utilising local know-how and talent; for example a PR & Media workshop with Oh Really PR.

The first session will be in person and for the full day, the remaining sessions will be a combination of online and in-person sessions lasting around 90 minutes to 2 hours.

Further Activity

Designers will attend a planned programme of meetings, networking events, talks and studio and exhibition visits. The cohort will be supported through the programme by an established design curator and producer, Stacey Hunter who will provide support through group meetings and one-to-one advice.

Sector meetings and shared learning

Throughout the programme there will be an opportunity to meet other key members of the design and craft sector in Scotland who will be able to share thoughts and learnings.

End of Programme Exhibition or Profile Raising Activity

To enable the cohort to bring together their learnings and create a coherent outcome as a collective, Local Heroes will offer funding for a Scotland-based exhibition or profile raising activity.

This will take place in 2024 and will enable the participating designers to collectively produce an event, exhibition or PR objective on completion of the programme. Participants will work together and have access to a small budget provided by Local Heroes to realise their idea.

Our programme is designed to support the development of new work as well as strategically access new markets. It will:

  • Respond to and catalyse the ambition and talent of a small cohort of designers based in Scotland 
  • Connect design businesses to buyers, galleries, journalists and curators to strengthen and sustain their practice
  • Be included in a wider international network of contemporary design and craft discussions 
  • Be part of a live project that enlivens Scotland’s craft and design discourses

Who should apply?

Our project is funded by Creative Scotland and it is specifically focussed on the support and development of design businesses. We know that designers stray beyond the boundaries of their disciplines and that likewise makers and artists are drawn to the interdisciplinarity that the contemporary design scene offers. We are looking for independent professional, practising designers who are living within Scotland and who have been in business between a total of 2 and 10 years. We are open-minded about who is ‘doing’ design and how they do it. Local Heroes do not function as gatekeepers or observe distinctions that intentionally or unintentionally restrict creative freedom, diversity and or/ a plurality of practices.

You may be:

  • A self-taught designer or one who has come to the profession via informal educational routes (community education, online learning, evening classes etc.)
  • Someone who is returning to design after a break.
  • Someone who has moved into design later in life, as a second career or returning after a break.
  • A designer who is now looking for ways to develop a new or relatively new career.
  • An art, craft or creative professional, producer or maker who has a strong design element to their practice such as a series of design products or bespoke design commissions.


Our first cohort will be selected by an expert panel (final panel to be announced shortly).

We are looking for designers who:

  • Design objects or products with a high level of distinctiveness and originality
  • Design and make objects or products with a high level of craft or manufacturing technique
  • Demonstrate an in-depth knowledge of design and an independent creative vision
  • Are committed to embedding best practice in terms of Fair Pay, Equality, Diversity and Inclusion and Sustainability/Climate Action.

We are particularly interested in designers that would like to develop their practice and can demonstrate they have the potential, drive and ambition to do so.

Our criteria for selection has been developed and informed by reflecting on what our prior Local Heroes exhibitors have experienced (2016 to present). We have a thorough evaluation process that takes a qualitative and quantitative approach to establishing what participants benefited from professionally and artistically and where we can learn how to better support designers and makers in the future. Accordingly, our selection criteria is informed by these experiences directly, and includes the following aspects: 

  • Quality of Previous Work
  • Quality of Proposed Work
  • Availability for all parts of the programme as detailed in the Key Dates section
  • Demonstration of Interest in Working Sustainably
  • Demonstration of Ambition and Commitment to the Programme
  • Balance of Demographic Diversity and Equitable Opportunity (with reference to protected characteristics)

Equal Opportunities and Access

We are committed to equality and opposed to all forms of unfair discrimination. We welcome applications from those underrepresented in the cultural sector: including but not limited to candidates with lived experience of being Black, Asian, Mixed Heritage and/or a Person of Colour, Refugee, D/deaf, Neurodivergent, Disabled, and/or LGBTQIA+.

Dedicated places for under-represented designers:
We have dedicated places on PROCESS for designers with lived experience of being Black, Asian, Mixed Heritage and/or a Person of Colour, Refugee, D/deaf, Neurodivergent, Disabled, From an area of multiple deprivation and/or LGBTQIA+. These dedicated places have been created because we know that specific groups are systematically under-supported in the design sector.

If you think you might be a good fit for the programme and would like to find out more, in advance of applying, then please do get in touch. You can contact Stacey Hunter via email at

Eligibility criteria

  • Designers must be living and working in Scotland.
  • Applicants should be an independent professional practising designer, you may be part
    of a partnership or collective. This will be evidence-based on CV and images provided.
  • Designers should be working within contemporary design or craft and producing products for lifestyle, furniture, lighting and/or interior design.
  • Designers will be able to demonstrate evidence of their design work.

All applicants will be notified regarding the outcome of their application by the deadline of Monday 31st July 2023. 

Key dates 

  • Open Call: 3rd July, 2023
  • Deadline for applications is 5pm, Monday 24 July 2023
  • Selected Participants Notified: 31st July 2023
  • Selected participants one-to-one meetings with Local Heroes curator Stacey Hunter
    1 hour, Zoom, various date tbc August 2023
  • PROCESS Cohort Programme Introduction
    Full day, in-person (Edinburgh, Glasgow or Dundee tbc) Date tbc August/September 2023
  • Workshops: Various - combination of zoom and in-person - dates TBC
  • One-to-One Mentoring - combination of zoom and in-person dates TBC
  • Research trip / Fieldwork - in-person dates TBC
  • Studio Crits with International Guests - combination of zoom and in-person dates TBC
  • PR and Media Workshop with Oh Really PR - November/December 2023
  • End of Programme activity or exhibition: July/August 2024 

Application Form

To apply, please complete our Application Form (via Google forms)