Scottish Cancer Prevention Network

Fiona Mackay


Oct 12

The first SCPN prize for creative communications was awarded to Fiona McKay, from the Duncan of Jordanstone College of Art & Design. The prize aims to highlight innovative communications about behavioural risk in degree show work. The piece can be done in any medium, and Fiona’s work incorporates photography and screen printing, creating a provocative and dynamic display on Scottish drinking culture.



Having grown up with parents who own a local pub – and more recently having worked behind the bar – Fiona’s piece was very much a personal insight. Those in the photos were regulars she had come to know and it is their life stories and situations that provided her raw materials.

The pub is tailored for “an older, working class stereotype” and Fiona aimed to capture something of the micro community, social dynamics and underlying issues faced by users. Fiona hoped that people will be able to connect with the images and texts. The photos were not contrived or staged but instead captured moments of genuine pleasure between friends, capturing something of the male bonding and camaraderie of pub time. The texts which formed a significant part of the piece sit in juxtaposition to these photographs. The texts used were from songs that discuss issues faced by those in the photos. The lyrics used included: “You can’t find no salvation, you have no expectations, anytime, anyplace, anywhere” from Bob Dylan’s “No time to think”. The texts are emotive and are united by the themes of depression, loneliness and dependence on alcohol.

Fiona said, “I have not sought to damn or berate the individuals portrayed. Instead, I wish to draw attention to their social position and their own perception of individual identity”.
Fiona came to recognise the value an artist’s work can have on promoting a healthy lifestyle. Whilst researching alcohol advertising for her dissertation she became more aware of the vast number of advertisements around us and the importance of their aesthetic appeal.

Fiona’s images could be used for teaching purposes such as workshop discussions on the role of alcohol in Scottish culture. For more information or to request use of the images please contact Fiona: