Students in the frame for Borders artwork

Scotland’s fashion designers of the future are being given the opportunity of a lifetime to help mark the opening of the Borders Railway.

Transport Scotland has approached the Heriot Watt School of Textiles and Design in Galashiels to run a competition among students to create a public artwork, which will also commemorate the 200th anniversary of the publication of Sir Walter Scott’s Waverley novels.

The winning student will receive the honour and lasting legacy of having their commissioned work displayed on the Borders Railway for hundreds of people to see every day once it opens next year.

Transport Minister Keith Brown said:

“We are now well on the way to opening the Borders Railway and I know that anticipation is really building for the new opportunities this will open up for the communities it will serve.

“The project is helping to build an exciting future for Midlothian and the Scottish Borders, as well as new opportunities for Edinburgh. But these are also areas with a rich and vibrant history, as is evidenced by the upcoming anniversary of the Waverley novels, and we wanted to recognise that heritage.

“It is also hugely important that we ensure the communities along the route play a central role in the celebrations.

“With a wealth of talented artists right on the doorstep of the project, it seemed only right that we give them the opportunity to become involved and create something that will decorate the railway, paying tribute to the past but looking forward to the future.”

The artwork will be unveiled at Abbotsford, the home of Sir Walter Scott, at the 200th anniversary of the writer’s Waverley novels in October and will be stored there until going on display at a station or a number of stations on the new railway.

Transport Scotland Rail Director Aidan Grisewood will lead the judging panel, joined on the judging panel by Abbotsford Director Beverley Rutherford and Mark Parker Director of Studies for Design for Textiles from the School of Textiles and Design.

Ms Rutherford said:

“We look forward to the completion of the Borders Railway in 2015 and the opportunities it will bring to Abbotsford and the whole of the Scottish Borders. We are very excited about this competition involving Heriot-Watt students and the commemoration of the 200th anniversary of the Waverley Novels; Abbotsford is steeped in history and we recognise the significance of keeping historic connections alive in a modern world.”

Mark Parker added:

“Our students will relish the challenge of working on this prestigious brief for the Borders Railway. The chance to have your design ideas permanently displayed in public is one that any student would be immensely proud of. As one of the world’s leading textile institutions, we set very high standards and I’m looking forward to seeing the ideas that our students put forward.”