Painter and teacher, born at Haddington, East Lothian. She graduated at Gray’s School of Art, Aberdeen, followed by a postgraduate year. Further studies at Royal College of Art earned her a master’s degree and a fellowship course at Gloucester College of Art and Design, Cheltenham, followed. Joyce Cairns won a large number of prizes and awards, including the Hospitalfield Prize, 1969; RSA Student Prize, 1970; Carnegie Travelling Scholarship to America, 1971, and the English Speaking Union Scholarship there in 1972; and the RSA’s Latimer Award in 1978 and the first prize in its Morrison Portrait Competition in 1989. She was elected RSW in 1979. From 1977 Cairns was a lecturer at Gray’s School of Art while also teaching at Dundee and Glasgow Art Schools.
Text source: 'Artists in Britain Since 1945' by David Buckman (Art Dictionaries Ltd, part of Sansom & Company)