Memories of


Stephen Palmer

We are deeply saddened by the death of our dear friend and colleague Stephen Palmer. Over the last 15 years Stephen has made a significant contribution to the work of Creative Scotland and the Scottish Arts Council, with a particular focus on the development of the Visual Arts.

He has been a constant advocate for and support to many hundreds of artists and arts organisations across the country and he took great pride and pleasure in helping them to achieve their goals.

Stephen has so many outstanding qualities but he’ll be especially remembered for his expansive knowledge and overview of contemporary art and culture; his supportive outlook and generosity to others; and his ability to bring humanity and humour into all aspects of the job, no matter how tough or difficult the situation.

We’ll be passing this book of remembrance onto Stephen’s family. All messages of love and support are welcome. Plans for a gathering later in the summer will also be shared over the coming weeks.

Donations if desired to St Columba’s Hospice or in aid of Motor Neurone Disease.

Amanda Catto,
Head of Visual Arts at Creative Scotland

Book Owner: Amanda Catto
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Margaret Mitchell

I was so saddened to hear the news about Stephen. In the short time, I knew Stephen, his kindness and dedication shone through. Not only was he interested in the work I was doing but he also enquired with sensitivity about the lives of those I photographed. He was incredibly supportive, helpful, and generous …

Margaret Mitchell

The Pier Arts Centre

We will remember Stephen well-coated and effortlessly scarfed to brave the Orkney weather on his visits to the gallery. Those visits always involved at least one night’s stay and he often extended that to meet and visit with other artists and practitioners in the County, providing sound and supportive encouragement and advice. We’ll miss …

Creative Scotland

Lucy Mason

Stephen was a very special man who carried his great knowledge and experience lightly.  I knew him, all too briefly, as a kind, caring and generous colleague – always encouraging, respectful and practical.  He brought laughter and good sense to his work and was a pivotal member of the Visual Arts Team.  His baking …

Creative Scotland

Sophie Crichton Stuart, Morven Gregor, Donna Chisholm and the team at Mount Stuart Trust Contemporary Visual Arts

Many condolences to Stephen’s family, friends and colleagues.   Stephen was a warm and generous spirit, who we will remember with great fondness.   Over the years, we have been grateful for his support and friendship and we will miss him greatly. From us all at Mount Stuart Trust Contemporary Visual Arts.    …


Morag Thomson Merriman

Stephen was a very dear friend and I was devastated when he told me about his MND diagnosis.  He brought so much joy, fun and laughter to my time at the Scottish Arts Council.  He had the most wonderful warm, caring nature and was always popping into the Grants Dept for a lovely blether …


Diana A Sykes

The small team at Fife Contemporary have all felt the impact of Stephen’s death and will miss his presence. His firm commitment to and knowledge of contemporary practice made a difference. This was undoubtably helped by the qualities of thoughtfulness, humour and kindness he brought to his work and life. I hope a little …

Creative Scotland

Ben Harman on behalf of Stills, Edinburgh

We are so sad to have lost Stephen. He gave so much advice and support to us over the years and was a genuinely brilliant person. We will really miss his company and remember him fondly. We are thinking of him and send our love and very best wishes to all of his family …

Creative Scotland

Embassy Committee (2012-2014)

We the Embassy Committee (2012-2014), wish to offer our deepest condolences to the close friends and family members that knew and loved Stephen outside of his professional capacity. By way of support and in remembrance of the fantastic man that he was, we want you to know how much of a debt of gratitude …

Joe Etchell

Joan Parr

I have so many good memories of Stephen as a friend and colleague, his wit, his genorousity, his distictive style his intellegece and his unfailing friendship. He will be greatly missed but I feel richer for having known him and I know this is a feeling shared by many. …

Creative Scotland

Susie Johnston

My deepest condolences to Stephen’s family, friends and colleagues. I met Stephen on the VACMA panel over the last 3 years the last time being on line in February. I feel he touched everyone who he came into contact with deeply. His humour, honesty, intelligence and dapper attire shone with every meeting. What a …

Susie J

Margaret O'Connor

I’m so sad to hear about Stephen’s death.  We first met in Stockton when he was the film programmer there and then each of us made our way to Edinburgh.  At some point (and for quite a long time) Stephen lived at my house in the basement flat and later we both found ourselves …

Creative Scotland

Emma Campbell

Stephen was kind, funny, honest, and fiercely principled. I’ll always remember his ability to see things as they are and express his observations with such panache. He was able to pinpoint exactly what was important and what was ridiculous about the world, and it was a joy to be in his company. Stephen was …

Creative Scotland

Judith Winter

Stephen was an inspiration and always the most insightful, caring and honest steer. He knew how to make people laugh and keep things in perspective. We go back a long way with our Stockton-on-Tees roots. I am so very sad – he will be truly missed. I am sending all my love to his …

Creative Scotland

Janice Kelly

I would always know, when approaching the photocopiers in Waverley Gate, that Stephen was at his desk by the overcoat and fabulous scarf hanging on the rack.  Unique, insightful, and unsurpassed in the raising of a quizzical eyebrow, a colleague already much missed.  …

Creative Scotland

Norah Campbell

The heavens have gained a strong and brilliant star. Stylish, kind, knowledgeable and always a joy to spend time with, Stephen was one of a kind and I miss him. My thoughts are with his loved ones and his colleagues who cherished him. “And when great souls die, after a period peace blooms, slowly …

Creative Scotland

Karen Shaw

Stephen was our lead officer when I was at Glasgow International. His insight, guidance and knowledge were invaluable and he was enormously supportive of our small team. His friendly, open and stylish approach was enjoyed by us all. The last time we met in person was at the GSA degree show where he was …

Creative Scotland

Clive Gillman

Quiet, funny and needle sharp, Stephen’s generosity even extended to providing much needed sartorial advice. My pondering out loud in the office as to whether a nice three-button suit could be found led to a set of on-line shopping listings and tips for where to go next. A purchase ensued (ochre in linen) and …

Clive Gillman

Aly Barr

We sat next to each other for several years at Waverleygate. Oddly, the thing I thought of when I heard this awful news was Stephen’s watches. I developed what we later termed “parcel envy” as, once or twice a month, Jo the receptionist would bring Stephen another tempting looking wee brown box from God …

Creative Scotland

Emma Turnbull

Stephen was a loyal friend and a truly lovely human being. When I sat next to him at work he made me laugh every day for many years. I remember us hooting with laughter at his story of trying on drain pipe jeans in the 80s & having to lie in the floor to …

Creative Scotland

Katy McKeown

Dear Stephen You were a bright light in our corner full of quips and chocolate in the desk draw. A quiet thoughtful observational nature that missed nothing and with a generosity and humbleness that was inspiring to be around. I loved seeing you in Melbourne a few years ago and valued that you took …

Creative Scotland

Cooper Gallery

We are devastated by the saddest news of Stephen’s passing. Stephen was an extremely supportive colleague and dear friend who inspired many of us with his dedication, flair, generosity and humour. He will be sorely missed and remembered for his honesty, rigour, warmth as well as his dashing sense of style. Our thoughts are …

Creative Scotland

Chris Young

I knew Stephen as a colleague and then in retirement served briefly with him as a member of the Children’s Panel and I’d like to record how impressive and supportive he was in that capacity.  He had great compassion and courtesy, was able to think carefully and make clear decisions to improve the lives …

Creative Scotland

Document Scotland

Document Scotland are very saddend to hear of Stephen’s death. Stephen was an open, honest, encouraging, supportive and engaged friend of Document Scotland. Our collective’s members, Sophie Gerrard, Colin McPherson and Jeremy Sutton-Hibbert enjoyed meeting with him in person on a number of occasions to discus our ideas, plans and, more generally, the way documentary …

Creative Scotland

Alex Hetherington

Acht! I am really sad to hear this news. My condolences to all of Stephen’s family, his friends and his colleagues at Creative Scotland and my thoughts are with the wider visual arts communities in Scotland and beyond too. Stephen’s dedication to the sector means that each and every one of, across many generations, …

Creative Scotland

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