Every year is a busy year for the art world in Scotland. Week in, week out, without fail, there are exhibitions, festivals, open studios and pop-up events taking place across the length and breadth of the country. So what does 2018 have in store for art lovers?

1. The Society of Scottish Artists & Visual Arts Scotland Together, The Royal Scottish Academy, Upper Galleries, The Mound, Edinburgh, EH2 2EL, open2018.art/ January 29–March 8

Scotland's artist-run societies have a long and distinguished record of championing the work of both emerging talent and established names in the art firmament. Working together for the first time, two of Scotland's leading arts organisations, the Society of Scottish Artists (SSA) and Visual Arts Scotland (VAS) have joined forces to present an ambitious collaborative exhibition celebrating the best in contemporary and applied art. Opening at the Royal Scottish Academy's upper galleries in Edinburgh on 29 January, Together promises a feast of over 200 artworks across all disciplines.

In this joint show, look out for Ones to Watch, a graduate showcase presenting work by recent graduates of Scotland's art schools and Làrach, a Hebrides Showcase, presented in collaboration with An Lanntair arts centre in Stornoway. The Inches Carr Mentoring Award will showcase works by shortlisted makers; Amanda Baron, Ffion Blench, Vicky Higginson, Jo Pudelko.

2. Charles Rennie Mackintosh: Making the Glasgow Style, at Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Museum, 695, Argyle Street, Glasgow, G3 8AG, 0141 353 8000, www.events.glasgowlife.org.uk/event/2/charles-rennie-mackintosh-making-the-glasgow-style. From 3March 30–August 14. £7 (£5 concession, under 16s free)

This year sees the 150th anniversary of the birth in Glasgow of Charles Rennie Mackintosh and to mark the occasion, a major exhibition at Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Museum, will showcase over 250 works from Glasgow and the Mitchell Library Archives and Special Collections, along with loans from other public institutions. It will span the lifetime of Mackintosh from 1868–1928, looking also at the work of key contemporaries including his wife Margaret Macdonald.

A number of these works have never previously been seen in public, with the majority not being displayed in Glasgow for more than 30 years.

The exhibition will present his work in the context of Glasgow, Mackintosh's key predecessors, influences and contemporaries, particularly those working in the Glasgow Style. Look out for a wide-reaching event programme which will be held in tandem and expect to be dazzled by stained glass, ceramics, mosaic, metalwork, furniture, stencilling, embroidery, graphics, books, interiors and, of course, the unique architectural style which Mackintosh made his own.

3. Glasgow International (GI), glasgowinternational.org/ at venues across Glasgow from April 20–May 7

Every two years, Glasgow International Festival of Visual Art (GI) rolls into the city, bringing in its wake a host of cutting-edge contemporary art to delight, challenge and baffle viewers in equal measure.

This spring, GI presents its eighth edition and, with new director Richard Parry, at the helm there's a fresh set of eyes guiding the proceedings. Parry's programme comprises new works, site-specific commissions, exhibitions and events across over 70 venues and spaces in the north, south, east and west of the city.

There's solo exhibitions by various internationally-feted contemporary artists including Glasgow-based Stephen Sutcliffe, Graham Eatough, and Michelle Hannah, as well as recent Turner Prize winner Lubaina Himid.

GI 2018 will begin with Cellular World, at the Gallery of Modern Art (GoMA), which aims to introduce key themes that will resurface in other commissions. Prominent concepts include ideas about the ‘cyborg’, of artificial intelligence (AI) and of avatars.

The Director’s Programme also includes substantial new commissions in favourite venues such as Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Museum and Tramway, as well as more unconventional sites across the city, such as Film City in Govan.

4. Rembrandt: Britain’s Discovery of the Master, Scottish National Gallery, The Mound, Edinburgh EH2 2EL, 0131 624 6200, nationalgalleries.org July 7–October 14

This summer's blockbuster Edinburgh festival exhibition is based around the work of Dutch master Rembrandt. This show, which will only be seen in Edinburgh, will reveal how the taste for his work in Britain evolved over 400 years. From around 1630, it grew into a mania that gripped collectors and art lovers across the country, reaching fever pitch in the late-18th century.

The exhibition will reveal the impact of Rembrandt’s art on the British imagination and bring together key works by Rembrandt which remain in British collections, including Belshazzar’s Feast (c.1635) from the National Gallery London, and Girl at a Window (1645) from Dulwich Picture Gallery. Other star paintings now overseas make an appearance, such as The Mill (1645/8) from the National Gallery in Washington, which left Britain when it was sold to a US collector for £100,000 in 1911.

Rembrandt is renowned for the realism of his self-portraits and there will be some fine examples on show, including Self-Portrait, aged 51 (on long-term loan to the National Galleries of Scotland) and Portrait of the Artist as Young Man (c.1629-31) from the Walker Art Gallery in Liverpool, the first painting by the artist to leave Holland and the first to enter a British collection, when it was presented to Charles I in the early 1630s.

5. Marking the centenary of the Iolaire tragedy at Museum nan Eilean, Lews Castle grounds, Stornoway, HS2 0XS. 01851 822746, cne-siar.gov.uk/museum/. From October until March 2019

On 1 January 2019, the people of the Outer Hebrides and beyond will mark 100 years to the day since one of the most tragic incidents in the history of the Western Isles took place on a reef called the Beasts of Holm within sight of Stornoway Harbour.

The HMY Iolaire was filled to capacity with servicemen from Lewis and Harris returning home from the First World War when she struck rocks at the Beasts of Holm in the early hours of New Year's Day. On that black day, 201 men lost their lives. There were 80 survivors.

To mark this occasion, which was so traumatic for the wider community that virtually no-one spoke of it for almost 50 years, Stornaway's An Lanntair arts centre and Museum nan Eilean at nearby Lews Castle are working together on a number of projects around the centenary. In addition to a new memorial, there will be a new publication, exhibitions, and a wide-reaching education programme running throughout 2018 and early 2019.

6. The opening of the V&A, Dundee vandadundee.org

Doughty Dundee may have been informed at the last minute that thanks to Brexit it was not eligible for inclusion in the European City of Culture 2023 bidding process but it remains unbowed.

Last year saw the 150th anniversary of The McManus, the city's fantastic museum and art gallery and this year a new kid on the block, in the shape of the V&A Dundee will add to its many artistic charms.

No opening date has been set, but the middle of the year is likely and then, after more than three years under construction, the V&A Dundee – designed by Japanese architect Kengo Kuma – will be ready for its close-up. Offering up the first-ever museum entirely dedicated to design in Scotland, its Scottish Design Galleries will tell the story of Scotland's design heritage. One of the objects being included is Charles Rennie Macintosh’s Oak Room which establishes a collaboration between V&A Dundee, the Dundee city council and museums in Glasgow.