The Gerry Rafferty Scholarship

The Press Release for the Gerry Rafferty Scholarship…



University of the West of Scotland is hitting the right note with the announcement of its innovative MA Songwriting and Performance programme which gets underway this September.

The course, the first of its kind in Scotland, also sees the launch of a new Scholarship, funded by Renfrewshire Council, in the name of legendary Scottish singer/songwriter and producer Gerry Rafferty. The Scholarship provides one funded place to study on the new course worth £7000.

The programme will be delivered within the state-of-the-art recording and rehearsal spaces at the University’s new £81 million Ayr Campus.

Aimed at graduates from a range of music disciplines and experienced writers and performers, the Masters programme will provide an opportunity to spend intense and sustained time developing new song material towards release in physical and digital forms and building new performances of material in both live and recorded contexts.

Programme Leader, David Scott has a wealth of songwriting expertise and is a member of the Pearlfishers and the BMX Bandits as well as collaborator with a number of artists such as Isobel Campbell and Ricky Ross. Scott is also presenter of BBC Radio Scotland’s long running Classic Scottish Albums series and is a board member of Burnsong, Scotland’s organisation dedicated to the support of songwriting.

Commenting on the new programme and the Gerry Rafferty Scholarship, Programme Leader David Scott said: “When I was first getting excited about writing songs I used to listen to a song called Mary Skeffington by Gerry Rafferty and it struck me that it was possible to write these incredibly cinematic songs about ordinary people and ordinary lives. To me Rafferty was a kind of magician, transforming tiny ideas into huge statements. We want the MA Songwriting & Performance to be a transforming experience for music artists so it’s an amazing thrill and honour to have Gerry’s name associated with it.”

Renfrewshire’s Provost Anne Hall said: “Gerry Rafferty was very much a part of Renfrewshire’s proud musical tradition. Renfrewshire Council believes the scholarship in his name is not only a fitting tribute to him but also something which he would take pleasure in supporting Renfrewshire’s current and future performers. We’re delighted to support such an innovative and creative initiative.”

Gerry’s daughter Martha Rafferty, who is a judge for the award along with David Scott, said: “We are delighted to support and endorse this exciting new development in education. Music can be such a positive force in people’s lives and we’re happy to know that Gerry Rafferty’s name and music is helping to support and inspire new and emerging artists. Hopefully the legacy will continue to grow through the MA Songwriting and Performance programme.”

The programme will provide opportunities to conduct research in areas of songwriting history, practice and cultural location as well as the chance for students to reflect critically on their own practice.

MA Songwriting & Performance has been developed in close consultation with industry partners including publishers, artist managers, Celtic Connections, Creative Scotland, Mechanical Copyright Protection Service (MCPS)/ Performing Rights Society (PRS) and American Society of Composers Authors and Pubishers. It will be delivered by established songwriters and industry professionals and seeks to provide a broad range of demanding content, strongly reflective of the creative industries.

David Scott added: “We have already received a really positive response to this course, which is only the second of its kind in Europe.

“The course is strongly geared towards the practicing songwriter/performer and while we will certainly be looking at classic songwriters from all eras of popular music we will be concerned primarily with giving people the opportunity to spend sustained periods of time practicing, honing and investigating their own music.

“It is about establishing ways of writing songs. Some sessions will also be spent in production – listening and working with other established songwriters in a masterclass environment. We will also be teaching the business side of things. In the new and ever changing music industry environments you need to be able to take charge of your own intellectual property.”

The University also has a limited number of UWS half-scholarships available for entry this September. Anyone wishing further information regarding MA Songwriting and Performance programme or scholarship opportunities should contact the University’s information service, University Direct, on 0800 027 100, email or visit



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