The Creative Director of Alchemy Film & Arts, Richard Ashrowan, has announced he is to step down at the end of January 2019, to pursue new filmmaking and writing projects. Richard founded Alchemy Film & Moving Image Festival in 2010 and has led its development into one of Europe’s leading festivals of experimental film and artist’ moving image. Over the last eight years, he has overseen the development of Alchemy Film & Arts, including a year round programme of exhibitions, residencies, community filmmaking projects and as curator for Scotland’s 2017 exhibition at the Venice Biennale. Alchemy Film & Arts became a Creative Scotland Regularly Funded Organisation in 2018.

For the upcoming Alchemy Film & Moving Image Festival in May 2019, Michael Pattison has been appointed as interim Festival Director, while Richard will remain involved in the programming team until the end of January 2019. Michael has a wealth of experience across a range of international festivals, and has been closely involved in shaping the Alchemy festival programme over the last two editions.

The year-round Creative Director position was advertised in mid December 2018, with a deadline for applications at the end of January 2019, and a start date after the delivery of the upcoming edition of the Festival, in early June 2019.

Speaking about his decision, Richard Ashrowan says:

“This has been perhaps the most difficult decision I have ever made. After nine years of intense creative and organisational activity, I feel that Alchemy Film & Arts is now in a really strong position to grow and develop. Alchemy itself arose out of my own filmmaking practice, and I have always been motivated by a deep commitment to creative action in the world. I feel it is time for me to refocus that spirit into my own artistic work, to open myself to new experiences and new modes of creative activism.

It has been an incredibly rewarding journey to see Alchemy Film Festival grow into the high profile international event it now is. Alchemy Film & Arts is today in a robust position, with a distinctive artistic vision, a fantastic team, secure funding, and great goodwill from our local and international communities. I feel certain that Alchemy will have a bright new future ahead. I owe a massive personal debt of gratitude to all who have backed us over the last few years, and most deeply of all to the committed artists who have supported our vision, without whom nothing would have been possible.

I am absolutely delighted that Michael Pattison has agreed to take on the role of Festival Director for our May 2019 edition. As a senior member of our programming team, he champions our values of artistic excellence, inclusivity and openness, and will bring a wealth of energy, experience and knowledge to the next festival.”

Keith Alexander, chair of Alchemy Film & Arts Board of Trustees commented:
“In Alchemy Richard has created an amazingly rich and dynamic force which has truly put Hawick on the international artistic map. It is a tribute to his formidable organisational skills and to the strength of the team that he has built around him that we can look forward with confidence to a bright and exciting future. We wish Richard all the very best in his next ventures and hope to see some of the fruits they bear back here in Alchemy!”

Richard Ashrowan can be contacted via his website: