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Annual Review 09/10

Linking individuals & communities

04 A Constructive Pause 07 Reassuring Continuity 10 Forging Links 14 Accessible to Everyone 17 Activities and Contributors

Artlink believes participation in the arts has an important role to play in realising personal and social change.



Artlink finds creative ways for individuals to be involved in and part of their communities. This year more than any other year we are conscious that we need to be more adept in our approaches as the impact of the banking crisis filters down into our daily lives. Rather than hoping it will all go away; we have been looking at the possibilities and positive opportunities. The term resilience is often used and we expect it will continue to be a favoured term. But rather than concentrating simply on organisational efficiency savings we realise that a more substantive way of creating new opportunity is needed. In this annual review we illustrate ways of working which give people a voice within their communities, and support them to take part in creative activity, proving that working together can actually make some amazing things happen. In this last year we have worked with many communities, from hospitals to rural community groups, looking at ways in which we can involve people in making changes in their communities, and informing which changes are needed. To achieve this is quite simple: its all about identifying a shared sense of purpose. From encouraging a group of people with experience of mental ill health to take over the green spaces surrounding their home, to finding new ways to understand the interests of people with profound learning disabilities, these ways of working dont just involve people with experience of disability, but a wide cross section of our community from janitor, to neighbour, to doctor, to scientist, to artist, to local shop keeper. The art is in how we knit them all together, towards an achievable aim. This year we have asked Morven Crumlish to write our Annual Review. Morven works part-time for Artlink Arts Access and is a successful writer the rest of the week. We felt that an annual review written from the point of view of someone with insider knowledge should make for interesting reading. Alison Stirling & Jan-Bert van den Berg


Artlink Annual Review 2009/10


A Constructive Pause

The Royal Edinburgh Hospital resembles a compressed town, the buildings range from elegant Georgian houses, to wards and extensions added on telling their decades. In the past staff and patients from the hospital printed their own newspaper, grew their own fruit and vegetables, and held concerts, races, picnics and costume parties. Artlinks work in four main Lothian hospitals builds on the belief that everyone who is involved in hospital life, from patients and visitors to medical and admin staff, has something valuable to offer, so they were keen to re-visit the Royal Edinburghs history as a self-sufficient community. The artist team contributed to existing hospital wide events like the Gala Day and the Christmas Fair, and also established new traditions such as Apple Blossom Day and Harvest, encouraging wide participation in a variety of events, discovering existing skills as well as developing new ones, and putting them to unexpected use. Artist Laura Spring uses craft as a way to get people working together to produce beautiful and individual objects, with a common purpose. Last week she was supervising one of the Crafty Lunches at the Western General Hospital. Held in the gym of the physiotherapy department, these lunches are open to all staff members, who learn to use crafts such as origami, felting and knitting. Some participants already have crafty skills, others come along to learn, but everyone benefits from taking a constructive pause from work.

Artlink networks We build partnerships with patients, staff and the public in hospitals across the Lothians. We encourage patients and staff to gain a new experience or skill and support the hospital community to improve their environment. The programme supports four exhibition spaces with a varied programme, organises performing and visual arts events and commissions artists to create work with specific relevance to the healthcare situation.

(left) Crafty Lunches at the Western General Hospital (right) model cakes for the verandah tearoom at the Royal Edinburgh Hospital

Artist Team Leader: Anne Elliot Arts Events Co-ordinator: Anthony Schrag Gallery Manager & Events Manager: Kirsty Macdonald Funders: Lothian NHS Board, Creative Scotland, Midlothian Community Hospital, St Johns Hospital Palliative Care, St Johns Chaplaincy, Royal Edinburgh Hospital.


Artlink Annual Review 2009/10


Today Laura is in the Artlink Hut at the Royal Edinburgh producing specially designed cotton bags which will be given to everyone who helps out at the hospitals apple picking day. When I visit the hut, the bags are hanging up to dry on two makeshift washing lines strung up the sides of the room. The text and drawings on the bags have been designed by patients, and staff and patients have been called in to volunteer their time to help with the printing process. The hut is a marvellous guddle of ideas and objects. One of the patients likes to paint witches, almost life size, all in profile, and they lean against walls looking like giant puppets from a shadow theatre. The identities and interests of people from the hospital are defined and valued, the room rustles with the personalities and evidence of past and future projects. Projects often develop as a result of expressed interest from members of the hospital community. At St Johns Hospital, patients from the Pentland Court rehabilitation unit worked with an artist to develop a map of a healthy walk around the grounds. Staff at the Royal Infirmary and the Western General were keen to participate in photography workshops: the resulting shots make up an exhibition which will show in the public gallery spaces of both hospitals. The hospital experience can, by definition, be stressful for everyone involved. The intense environment of the neo-natal unit was recognised as one that would benefit from an input. There are around a hundred staff in the unit, most of whom work shifts, so the Foodie project was introduced, as a series of fun, monthly events focusing on food and nutrition, from Name that Cheese! to a smoothie making day. The ideas and projects which spool out through the hospitals are like loops of wool, stitching communities together with shared experience and tangible results.

Reassuring Continuity

It is pouring with rain the day I visit Whyte Place. Patrick, Brian and Dougie are already waiting for me in the potting shed, a converted bike shed with a roof made of corrugated, transparent plastic, so that when you look up you see the water pooling in the curves. Whyte Place is the base for Artlinks Growing Spaces project which brings together people with different knowledge and expertise to support greater involvement in the greening of Edinburgh and support emotional wellbeing. The central location of the Potting Shed, and The Diggers, the projects newsletter which was launched in June, exist to encourage people to join the many groups and activities which are on offer, informed by the interests and talents of service users and residents. The allotments and growing spaces are small, hopeful areas of green in an otherwise built up environment. This year the team have been building raised beds, planting up corners and edges of greenery, and propagating new stock, supervised by Brian the gardening expert. Residents who contributed ideas for the project were offered custom built and planted window boxes, many of which Patrick points out to me. The drying green is a tarmac covered area, with a criss cross of raindrop jewelled washing lines; around the edges the borders are planted with sunflowers and nasturtiums, peas and spinach.
(left) silkscreening bags for the Harvest Day at the Royal Edinburgh Hospital (right) Neonatal Foodie Club Chocolate Fondue

The raised beds on the otherwise sterile lawns outside the modern blocks of flats grow enormous, blossomy, blue-green cabbages, potatoes, courgettes. If you come along on a Friday afternoon and help out with the gardening you will be rewarded with both produce and participation. As Brian shows me round the allotments his enthusiasm for the project is infectious. Spikey fennel, curls of parsley, sage and burnet cuttings are flourishing in small pots resembling earthy ice-cube trays on a table in the potting shed.


Artlink Annual Review 2009/10


The events which are planned for the future reflect the seasonal changes with a gentle, reassuring continuity, and though many of the activities are nothing to do with gardening it seems fitting to base them in this green, airy, intensely living space. The walking group, writing group, book group, and drawing group are all thriving, publicised in the Diggers newsletter, and taking place locally. Dougie is a major contributor to the newsletter, and a member of the book group, which has around a dozen regular members, and is currently reading Of Mice and Men. The drawing group and walking group are combining to provide a record of illustrated walks which have so far explored places such as the secret gardens of Edinburgh and the Water of Leith. I wonder if winter will be quiet, but I am reassured that there will be restocking of plants, bulb planting, and growing in the potting shed. The monthly walks will continue, and there is an apple pressing day planned, as well as a curry making day, when participants will be led by another resident in the borrowed kitchens of the church across the street. Brian describes a plant called ground elder, which grows lateral roots, spreading itself across the ground, and then reaching up shoots at intervals. This, he says, is what the project means to him.

Artlink collaborates We collaborate with people experiencing mental health problems to develop meaningful opportunities to pursue their creative interests. Individual talents inform, direct and support activity creating a supportive environment that reduces the isolation that can sometimes be experienced by participants. Artists support activity and mentor individuals and groups to develop their involvement and expertise.

(left) cuttings workshop at Bridgend Community allotments (right) the Diggers soup tasting at Whyte Place

Lead Artist: Patrick OGrowney Funders: Creative Scotland, West Lothian Council, City of Edinburgh Council, City of Edinburgh Council: Fairer Scotland Fund.


Artlink Annual Review 2009/10


Forging Links

(opposite) Tuesday workshops using Glowdoodle courtesy of Eric Rosenbaum at MIT

When I meet Jim and Steve, who run workshops out of Penicuik Town Hall for Artlink Midlothian, I dont know which is which, because Jim tells me he is Steve, and Steve tells me he is Jim, and then they switch back again, and I get so confused I spend the rest of the day not knowing who is who. My disorientation, though, is fitting for the theatrical event which the two artists are setting up for the group of people with profound learning disabilities and high support needs with whom they have been working for several years. I watch the gradual transformation of the non-descript room. A large white sheet is hung in the middle of the room, becoming both a divider and a screen on which to project films, lights, or pictures of the participants. From bags and boxes a hoarders paradise of objects are pulled out; these are a democratic mix of pound-shop wonders, and cutting edge technology. When the group arrives, Steve and Jim disappear. That is, their personalities and interests are no longer in the room, they are entirely drawn into the theatre of the participants, many of whom have subtle or unexpected reactions to the various sensory stimuli. Their close relationship with and knowledge of the interests of the individuals in the group makes sense of the room to me. The strip-lights are dimmed, the overhead projector spins coloured light, which is picked up by a couple of mirror balls in a shopping trolley which Paul and I push back and forwards to one another, watching the colour-changing flecks of light rain down the walls. This commitment to immersing people in a transformed environment, giving them the opportunity to explore and be stimulated by new experiences, is, after all, a definition of art. The artists recognise that the special skills and interests of a group of people whose reactions can be unpredictable or difficult to read can be turned around and used to inform working where anything is possible.


Artlink Annual Review 2009/10


The Barter Project is another way in which the skills and interests of people with learning disabilities are being used to benefit their community. In artist-led workshops participants make objects representing their special interests, and offer these to the community, in exchange for goods, services, or experiences. One participant made a fabulous, full head mask of her West Highland Terrier along with a film of her wearing it. The head is in the window of a local pet shop, who uploaded the video to you-tube. In exchange, the pet shop is helping advertise her as a dog walking companion. Local people and businesses have begun to commission projects. In exchange for a sign to be put up outside his old-station home, one local has offered rides in his vintage cars; in return for a painted back-drop and a box for his equipment, a popular magician will provide a balloon show and magic lessons. Artlink works to forge links with the community, create new opportunities and promote the valuable contributions that everyone can make.

Artlink involves We create opportunities for people with learning disabilities to inform and develop artwork which reflects their unique interests and circumstances. We collaborate with individuals in their homes, day centres and other community settings and often involve families and care workers in creating innovative solutions to the everyday situations they face.

(left) props for pet shop window, Barter Workshop (right) Clovers Pet Shop

Programme Co-ordinator: Kara Christine Funders: Midlothian Council, Creative Scotland, Mayfield Community Council, Tyne Esk Leader Fund, City of Edinburgh Council, Bailey Thomas Charitable Trust and individual donations and payments.


Artlink Annual Review 2009/10


Accessible to Everyone

Jill and Caroline are enjoying the Impressionist Gardens exhibition at the National Gallery. They discuss the paintings, lingering at some, and dismissing others. They have known each other since Caroline took Jill and her late husband, Harry on their first outing with the Arts Access service, which supports people who cant get out to arts events by providing a volunteer, transport and generally making sure the outing goes as smoothly as possible. With Arts Access Jill is still able to enjoy the arts in Edinburgh on her own terms. Maintaining the independence of users is the key to the Arts Access service, and a lot of work is done in collaboration with venues to make events accessible to as wide an audience as possible. For the last few years galleries have been supported in putting on descriptive tours for people who are visually impaired. Discussion and feedback between Artlink, venues, and the people who regularly attended tours opened up a desire to develop a new piece of work which could be experienced in the same way by sighted and visually impaired people, and yet which would also use some of the skills and lessons learned from the descriptive tours. This grew into a collaborative project between Arts Access, the Talbot Rice Gallery and poet Ken Cockburn, in which a poem describing the empty space of the gallery was developed, written, recorded, and made available to listen to in the gallery.

Artlink connects We bring together people with disabilities, venues, artists and organisations to improve access to the arts. The Arts Access service provides a range of opportunities to engage with the arts. We offer individual support, develop imaginative access programmes with artists & arts organisations and work with venues to remove barriers to access and participation in the arts.

(left) Artlink Vintage Club at the Botanic Gardens

Coordinator: Sally Primrose Audience Development Officer: Susan Humble Assistant: Morven Crumlish Funders: City of Edinburgh Council, City of Edinburgh Council: The South Central Edinburgh Neighbourhood Partnership, Midlothian Council, Creative Scotland, Lloyds TSB Foundation for Scotland, The Robertson Trust, The Bacher Trust, The Russell Trust, Royal Bank of Scotland, Sir Ian Stewart Foundation, Sylivia Aikens Charitable Trust, Alma And Leslie Wolfson Charitable Trust, State Street Matched Funding, Waitrose, and individual donations.


Artlink Annual Review 2009/10


There are two live readings of the poem in progress; the first is an open event at the gallery, the second is a reading for the group of visually impaired people who, in a series of workshops, helped Ken to develop many of the ideas which make up the finished piece of work. The poem describes the three main spaces of the gallery, and we promenade from room to room, with Ken and Lorna, from the Scottish Poetry Library, reading. At times they speak separately, at others their words overlap, echo, and answer each other. As well as providing an interpretation of the look of the gallery, the poem delves into its smell, its history, its connotations. In the round-room, for example, we are invited to imagine ourselves underneath a huge umbrella, and a carousel. We walk along the balcony, and end up in the magnificently pillared Georgian Gallery, where we pause to take in the experience. Over tea and coffee participants discuss the poem. The acoustics of the different rooms are agreed to provide a real feeling of the space available, and Martin from the University sound department comes up with innovative ideas for preserving the sound of the room in a recording. Discussions are ongoing about how the poem will finally be presented, but it is hoped that the experience will be as near as possible to the live reading, with speakers placed in hidden spaces throughout the gallery. The walls will whisper, and the chance to experience a living description of a beautiful public space will be available to everyone who visits in future.

Activities and Contributors for 200910

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(left & right) the first public reading of Pandoras Light Box at the Talbot Rice Gallery







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Artlink Annual Review 2009/10

Arts Access Collaborative partners: Edinburgh Festival Theatres, Federation of Scottish Theatre , Filmhouse, Fruitmarket Gallery, Hearing Concern LINK, National Galleries of Scotland, National Museum of Scotland, National Library of Scotland, National Trust for Scotland, The Queens Gallery, Scottish Poetry Library, Scottish Opera, Scottish Story Telling Centre, Talbot Rice Gallery, Traverse Theatre, Royal Lyceum Theatre, Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh, Palace of Holyrood. Board of Directors: David Hart (Chair), Betty Barber (Vice Chair), Colin Scott (Treasurer), Gavin McEwan, Turcan Connell (Secretary). Members: Dr Michael Affolter, Caroline Barr, Jim Eunson, David Wright, Christine Lawrie, Anna Becker, Carol Stevenson. Artlink Administrative Team: Vanessa Cameron (Administrative Co-ordinator), Anna Chapman (Programme Support Worker), Alison Thorburn (Bookkeeper). General and Core Funders: Creative Scotland, City of Edinburgh Council, Midlothian Council, The Bacher Trust, Balfour Beatty Capital, City Group, West Lothian Council, NHS Endowments, Faith in Older People, The Binks Trust, Cruden Foundation Ltd, Evelyn Drysdale Charitable Trust, Mrs M A Lascelles Charitable Trust, The Miller Foundation, Morningside Community Council, MK Hunter, Saints and Sinners Club of Scotland, Sir Jules Thorn Charitable Trust, William Grant and Sons.

Artists: Laura Alridge, Evan Alston, Dorothy Alexander, Annable Bartle, Jenni Brooks, Amelia Calvert, Kirstyn Cameron, Juliana Capes, Ken Cockburn, Karen Clulow, Jim Colquhoun, Callum Cuthbertson, Anne Donovan, Malcy Duff, Darren Farquhar, Alice Finbow, Vicki Fleck, James Fleming, Lisa Fleming, Louise Fraser, Andy Fraser, Lisa Gallacher, Saskia Gavin, Lotte Gertz, Tina Gilbert, Anice Gilland, Owen Green, Alex Gross, Robert Hansen, Marie Hernquist, Steve Hollingsworth, Haleh Jamali, Malcolm Lemmon, Vic Macrae, Laura Marney, Laura Mcilroy, Mandy McIntosh, Conal McStravick, James McLardy, Yvonne Mullock, Laura Murray, Andi Neate, Jonathan Owen, Ciara Phillips, Lucie Potter, Frances Priest, Bernie Reid, Ed Reid, Darren Rhymes, Alasdair Richardson, Daisy Richardson, Kirsty Roberts, Paulina Sandberg, Anthony Schrag, Laura Spring, Ewan Sinclair, Lynn Sturgeon, Joanne Smithers, Derek Sutherland, Kerrie Taylor, Jennifer Thomson, Gerry Turley, Chris Walker, Tom Watson, Nicola White, Alex Wilde, Sonja Witts, Tess Wood, Simon Yuill. Volunteer Artists: Haleh Jamali, Kirstyn Cameron, Rose Kan, Kjersti Sletteland, Vivienne Edgar. Support Workers: Dean Archibald, Jon Gray, Marie Hernquist, Sarah Hamilton, John Johnston, Ellie Landrock, Eveline Nicolette, Sheree Powrie, Lynne Sturgeon, Carol Anne Sturrock. Technicians: Sandy Christie, Ewan Sinclair, Maciej Szczotka, Sarah Wakeford, Sonja Witts, In the Fields. Programme Volunteers: (Office) Suzan Macmillan and Lizzie Shamash; (Hospitals) Diane Lockhart & ERI volunteer services, Sandy Young & Spiritual Care team and REH gardening and BTCV, RBS & RSPB volunteers and of course all the Arts Access volunteers!

If you would like to find out more about Artlink or you are interested in volunteering please feel free to contact us at the address opposite by either telephone, email or in writing. This publication is available in PDF, Braille, Tape and Large Print formats, please contact Artlink for your copy.

A full set of detailed accounts is available from the Artlink office. Artlink Edinburgh & the Lothians 13a Spittal Street, Edinburgh EH3 9DY T: 0131 229 3555 E:


Artlink is a company registered in Scotland No. 87845 with charitable status, Scottish Charity No. SC006845