What seemed to start off as just another year, with a nice bit of symmetry in its numbers, became a year which we will not easily forget. The pandemic has been tough for a lot of people and highlighted inequalities that many face every day. It brought into focus that, what might have been strange for many of us, was the everyday norm for others. What we learned though is that our collective imagination, our capacity to adapt and our ability to make something out of nothing remains undimmed.
It has been amazing to witness the collaborative effort in communities and it makes us feel hopeful that this can be built on and that the future holds real positive potential. Artlink artists and staff responded to the pandemic with passion, showing amazing commitment, incredible generosity, and fantastic imagination. They rarely felt overwhelmed, worked collaboratively, brought a new energy to often complex situations, and showed what was possible.
It has been a challenging year. A year where we have learned a lot and can be inspired by what we achieved.
Thursday Live! Thursday Live! is a programme of performances curated by Artlink in collaboration with Cherry Road Day Centre, Bonnyrigg. Before lockdown, every Thursday a different entertainer would visit the centre and perform in front of an audience of staff and visitors. When visits to the centre were not possible, Thursday Live! went online. Performers filmed themselves at home, and videos were streamed to Artlink TV. More recently we have been performing in people’s gardens, tailoring each perfomance to the interests of the people.
A Frame is Not a State of Mind
Chris McAdam worked with Artlink’s Patrick O’Growney and artist James McLardy during lockdown. He spoke to James about the work they did together: “When lockdown started Paddy was trying to think about ways to keep in touch and creative even though we could not get out. Paddy had sent me a link to a video which James had shot from his window. When I watched the video, it made me want to give it a go. But most importantly I wanted to stay in touch. During the week I was making videos and sharing them through WhatsApp.” The result was amazing! View it here.
Arts Access at the Storytelling Festival
Working with the Scottish Storytelling Centre, Arts Access arranged socially distanced storytelling. Storytellers were matched to people based on their interests and experiences, and we travelled to Sweden and Kenya while dodging the summer drizzle in our Edinburgh gardens. The feedback was fantastic.
“A wonderful, magical experience. The experience brought a little bit of cultural magic into my otherwise non descriptive life.”
worked together to create a new collection, celebrating the shared energy and commitment to nurturing individual and collaborative creativity found within the KMAdotcom artist studio. In the studio, artists produce artwork together inspired by their diverse interests and practices. Collective Matter is the result of the group working together and drawing inspiration from trips to Collective’s site and regular studio visits.
Crafting with Joan
Joan is a long-time friend of the Artlink Hospital Arts programme and had been attending the workshops at the Glasshouses for many years. For anyone who knows Joan, they will know that lockdown was not going to put a stop to her creativity. Joan created this series of fun ‘Crafting with Joan’ cards: Swan |Ladybird |Frog |Dragonfly |Bee; they contain all the instructions you need to craft your own creatures. What a busy bee!
Before lockdown every Thursday, a different entertainer would visit Cherry Road Day Centre, Bonnyrigg and perform in front of an audience of staff and visitors. Thursday Live! is curated by Artlink, putting the interests of the people who use the day centre first. Acts which encourage participation are especially popular – dancing is encouraged!
When visits to the centre were not possible, Thursday Live! went online. Performers filmed themselves at home, and videos were streamed to Artlink TV on YouTube , so that anyone could watch them on their phone or home computer. Local artists familiar to Thursday Live! regulars were able to tailor performances to an audience who they knew well – Annabel Sings ran karaoke sessions; cabaret singer and musical saw player Markee de Saw and clarsach player Siannie Moodie’s performances were particularly enjoyed by one day centre regular, who was able to watch recordings of their videos multiple times. The online performances built on the existing relationships and experiences that have been nurtured over the years.
As lockdown was lifted, socially distanced live performances were introduced, both in the homes and gardens of day centre visitors, and back at Cherry Road. The brilliant Edward Reid visited the centre, singing through windows, and moving through different areas of the building to perform to individuals. Markee De Saw played a set especially for the person who had so enjoyed watching her performance online. Harpist and song writer Esther Swift performed in the back garden of a person who loves the soothing sounds of the harp. For other individuals who enjoy comedy slapstick, clown artist Cammy Sinclair and comedy dance duo Buff and Sheen popped up in back gardens to bring some much needed laughter and delight.
People and their support staff have been telling us that they’re not physically moving as much as they used to. So, over November we are collaborating with Indepen-dance hit squad dancer Wils McAslan to bring tailored movement, dance, energy and fun into people’s back gardens and outdoor settings. Wils has created individual prop bags and a series of dance and movement based ideas and inspiration for people to keep moving after he’s gone.
Being flexible and innovative with the premise of Thursday Live meant that we were able to sustain the connections between day centre visitors, performers, and staff, and facilitate intimate, bespoke events which had the excitement of a live performance. Although managing the changes forced by lockdown was difficult, there were positive developments which came out of learning to work differently. Using online performances meant that performers not local to Edinburgh, or even Scotland, could appear on Thursday Live – a puppet cabaret show, a magician, dancers, could all perform from their homes all over the world.
Contact between Artlink and wider households and support networks also increased, as carers and family members phoned staff to discuss the logistics of events, and clients phoned to give feedback. These relationships existed before lockdown, but were intensified as communication and contact became more vital to people. In future, will things go back to normal? The live, face to face connections and physical interactions will continue to be important in establishing and sustaining trust with the people we work with, but having the option of online contact has proved useful for collaboration and contact with multiple agencies.
“I am proud of myself for making something unique through being creative during a challenging time. It is a time capsule that I created myself.”
Chris McAdam has been working with Artlink’s Paddy O’Growney and artist James McLardy over the last months. He spoke to James about the work they have been doing together since March.
“For the last few months I’ve been working on a film based on the sights and sound within the home. When lockdown started Paddy was trying to think about ways to keep in touch and creative even though we could not get out. Paddy had sent me a link to a video which James had shot from his window. When I watched the video, it made me want to give it a go. But most importantly I wanted to stay in touch. At first, we spoke on the phone and then began to meet up on zoom every Thursday. During the week I was making videos and sharing them through WhatsApp. I was editing the videos myself using apps on my phone. James suggested I use the phone camera functions to make it more organic and natural for future editing.
I started to find things that I was interested in experimenting with, like shooting in black and white and playing around with sounds around the home. I started to find my own style. When we met up on zoom, we discussed the video clips and began messing with editing software, screen-shared on his computer. I sent him a clip from Midnight Cowboy, and we chatted about films we liked. Each time I started making a new video I began to think about how it could add something, and bring something different to my work. I started to experiment more with new ideas. This led to me looking at shadows, light, and reflection on objects in and around the house.
I was thinking about old style film and how you can change how things look. It was at this point that we started editing a short film every week. Sometimes I doubted myself and I had to challenge myself to feel that what I was doing was worthwhile. Sharing the short films withive me the focus I needed to keep experimenting and challenging myself. I felt a sense of achievement.Because I had worked with James before lockdown I trusted that meeting up online would be fun. At the beginning we had a laugh messing around with shooting and editing videos. Once I had built up enough video material, I was able to begin to relax and talk more about the art. Working one to one has enabled us to discuss things that we would not normally have time to do. The quality one to one time was invaluable because it gave me a chance to work in my own environment. Working in my own house in this way has taken my mind off my anxieties.
I am proud of myself for making something unique through being creative during a challenging time. It is a time capsule that I created myself. Lately I have been thinking about making films and using the editing equipment in different environments. This gives me a sense of hope. Obviously, I could not recreate what I have made during lockdown, but I would really like to use this experience to make new work. I would love people to come across this work and be able to read the background of how it was made. I want it to encourage other people to challenge themselves to do something creative.”
I am proud of myself for making something unique through being creative during a challenging time. It is a time capsule that I created myself.
Chris McAdam has been working with Artlink’s Paddy O’Growney and artist James McLardy over the last months. He spoke to James about the work they have been doing together since March.
“For the last few months I’ve been working on a film based on the sights and sound within the home.
When lockdown started Paddy was trying to think about ways to keep in touch and creative even though we could not get out.
Paddy had sent me a link to a video which James had shot from his window. When I watched the video, it made me want to give it a go. But most importantly I wanted to stay in touch.
Scenes for Survival – a crisis responsive artistic online project launched in association with BBC Scotland and BBC Arts’ Culture in Quarantine project. (Free)
A new digital series by Irish Rep and Michael Mellamphy featuring Irish Rep company members. Irish Rep will release a series of homemade videos on our social media channels from our incredible actors performing their favorite songs, poems and monologues from Irish & Irish American playwrights, poets, and musicians. Irish Rep – The Show Must Go On. (Free)
Join us every Thursday for much-loved National Theatre Live productions, free to stream on YouTube for seven days. National Theatre Live (Free)
The home of theatre in virtual reality. Experience great live performances on-demand, in stunning 360° virtual reality. Livr.co.uk (Paid – free trial)
Sadler’s Wells presents a programme of full-length dance performances and workshops online, to keep you entertained and connected through dance, wherever you are in the world while our live stages are dark. (Paid)
Live-stream Saturday night comedy show from comedy’s finest venue, The Stand. (Free)
Visit The Gilded Balloon for a ‘Virtual Fringe’ a selection of live-stream shows with a difference throughout August, where big names, newcomers and all those in between from the worlds of comedy, music, cabaret, spoken word and more perform from their homes. (Free)
MUBI features hand-picked films to watch or download. From forgotten gems to festival-fresh cinema. From cult classics to award-winning masterpieces. Changes daily. MUBI.com (Paid)
Rent the latest releases, subscribe to classics and explore the best from the BFI, national and regional archives. British Film Institute (Paid and free)
Learn film in 40 days with Mark Cousins’s virtual course on Indiewire. (Free)
A selection of talks from The Sarabande Foundation which looks at some of the creative arts that Sarabande supports: art, fashion, film and jewellery. (Free)
Live streaming some of the top podcasts from Cosmic Shambles like Book Shambles and Science Shambles, presenting mixed bill comedy nights and conversations all without anyone leaving their home. (Free)
Open Culture brings together high-quality cultural & educational media. (Free)
The Internet Archive is building a digital library of internet sites and other cultural artefacts in digital form.
Luminate@Home is a series of films designed to inspire and guide you through a creative activity that can be done at home or in a care home. (Free)
Cultural heritage learning blog from SCRAN which offers digital access to over half a million photographs, moving images and sounds from museums, galleries, libraries, archives and the media. (Free)
Acting as an online, interactive archive, Lost Edinburgh allows its followers to share, discuss and learn from the city’s colourful past through like minded individuals and even the city’s own residents. (Free)
The Britain from Above website features images from the Aerofilms collection, a unique aerial photographic archive. (Free)
NCAP is the National Collection of Aerial Photography. One of the largest collections of aerial imagery in the world, containing tens of millions of aerial images featuring historic events and places around the world. (Free)
Please note: Artlink is not responsible for the content of external links, and some sites may require registration and/or payment to view content.
Opera Highlights Autumn 2020 Four singers, excited to be performing live for the first time since lockdown, come together with a glorious array of music – from Verdi’s La traviata and Bizet’s Carmen to Gilbert & Sullivan, Mozart, Lehár and more. (Free) (Captioned)
The Narcissistic Fish – A Scottish Opera Short A phone call during a busy shift in the restaurant kitchen of The Narcissistic Fish sparks a war between the owner Angus and his brother Kai. As they argue over their dead father, talented and underpaid chef Belle has a revelation of her own. (Free)(Captioned)
The Diary of One Who Disappeared – An Opera in Concert Created for Lammermuir Festival 2020 by Scottish Opera. Janácek’s feverish fable of obsessive love, desire and escape is broadcast from Glasgow’s Theatre Royal in a specially-created concert performance. (Free) (Captioned)
Digital Season RSNO Over the coming months you can enjoy ten glorious concerts which will be filmed live for you in the RSNO’s studio with COVID-19 secure measures in place. These ten performances are a reimagining of our 2020:21 Season. (Paid)
Scottish Chamber Orchestra: The Quilter Cheviot Benedetti ConcertBenedetti Plays Bruch. Of the nine major works that Bruch wrote for violin, his first Violin Concerto is easily the most popular. A matchless ability to balance melodic simplicity and virtuosity is exemplified in the Adagio, where soaring lines and bravura technical displays are tempered with the sweetness of a lullaby. (Free)
The Stories We Tell About Black Lives – TraverseIn this wide-ranging video essay, academic, playwright and screenwriter, May Sumbwanyambe uses his personal experiences to explore the concerning portrayal of Black people in the media. (Free) (Captioned)
In Dreams I; – Traverse Natasha’s Happening is the first film from her in dreams i; series. The film responds to Black geographies and how Black people fit into spaces – physically or metaphorically. It is a mediation on history, identity and memory, and how these can often be blurred into one. (Free)
The Journey – Traverse An extraordinary landscape. A powerful connection. A unique moment in time. For this live, virtual theatre experience, you will use your digital device’s camera, microphone, and headphones to travel from your living room to Silven’s home in rural Scotland – a virtual space filled with beautiful cinematic imagery and high-definition immersive sound. (Paid)
The Bus Stop – Traverse Take the time to stop. Casual. Common. Everyday. Disability hate crime is on the rise. Jack, a young wheelchair user, experiences a disability hate crime as he tries to take a bus home from Edinburgh. Should he report it? It’s so casual. It’s so common. It happens every day. (Paid)(Captioned)
Tools for Change – Traverse Digital re-imaginings of three plays from the Theatre Uncut archive that explore racism, censorship, power and identity. (Free) (Captioned)
In Someone Else’s Shoes: Edinburgh’s Unexpected Summer – Traverse An immersive 360 degree video project. We all have a unique relationship to where we live, work or play – even as we share that place with thousands or millions of others. Our city is ours, and to see someone else’s view of it we must walk its streets in their shoes, see its sights with their eyes and truly hear their voices. (Free)(Captioned)
Lament for Sheku Bayoh On Sunday 3 May 2015, 31 year-old Sheku Bayoh lost his life in police custody. The young black gas engineer, husband and father was in his hometown of Kirkaldy in Fife when he was killed, prompting the urgent question: is Scotland really safe? (Paid) (Captioned, BSL, Audio Description)
Lyceum Christmas Tales An advent calendar of 12 stories for audiences in Edinburgh and beyond, combining online and live performances of new and familiar festive tales penned and performed by some of Scotland’s best-loved writers, musicians and artists. (Free)
RapunzelA very special online festive show filmed in the beautiful surrounds of Stirling Castle, created by a Christmas cracker writing team, featuring sparkling showtunes from Novasound and directed by Scottish Panto King Johnny McKnight. (Captioned, BSL, Audio Described)
The Flying Lovers of Vitebsk Partners in life and on canvas, Marc and Bella Chagall are immortalised as the picture of romance. But whilst on canvas they flew, in life they walked through some of the most devastating times in history. (Paid) (Captioned, Audio Described)
The Portal – National Theatre of ScotlandA new podcast for unusual times. Lose yourself in a story of obsession, 40 years of nightlife and 4,000 years of human connection. Two episodes will be released every Friday until 30 October (Free)
Scenesaver’s Subtitled Collection30 productions available on their site, including Shakespeare, one-women shows, comedy, and family productions, there’s sure to be something for you! (Free – subscription required) (Captioned)
KMAdotcom the artist studio in Midlothian, have continued to produce artwork throughout lockdown. A collective of artists with and without learning disabilities – united by their creative perspectives about the world, though their latest work might be enjoyed by anyone who like them, struggled (and continues to struggle!) with these incredibly strange times.
Over the last few years, the studio has been open on Mondays and Fridays where work has been created for galleries, local businesses and museums – so being kept apart from each other was incredibly foreign. The KMA studio is a place of collaboration and ideas flow from spontaneous conversation. Lockdown forced the artists to find a new ways of working by sharing ideas through video calls and posting materials to each other.
The colouring in book is only one small part of what they achieved. Other highlights are:
Leanne Ross was commissioned by NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde to make work for the staff’s Rest and Recover Hubs.
Our wordsmith Marc Smith had his poetry about lockdown published alongside the likes of Margaret Atwood and Moira Jeffrey on the Konch Poetry Podcast.
A brand new collection of artworks commissioned by the Collective Gallery for their retail space, Collective Matter is due to launch late Autumn.
We hosted a disco for over 40 people to dress up on a Wednesday afternoon and dance online with Glasgow DJ’s Fallope and the Tubes!
Leanne Ross’ work in situ at the NHS Greater Glasgow & Clyde Rest and Recovery Hubs.
Joan is a regular attendee at the Glasshouses, and during lockdown she’s been busy working on tons of arts and crafts projects. From painting to creating amazing creatures using felt, it’s been inspirational to see how she’s spent her time.
As part of the Art is Where You Are project which keeps creativity flowing throughout lockdown and beyond, Joan has made some crafting with felt projects that you can make at home yourself.
They’re A4 pdf files that you can print at home if need be; just click on the images below. You may need the free Adobe Acrobat Reader to view/download them.
IMAGES FROM THE ROYAL EDINBURGH HOSPITAL ONLINE GARDENING GROUP
A RESOURCE OF VIRTUAL OUTINGS TO ARTS AND CULTURE
ARTLINK TV, WHERE WE CONNECT TO THE WORLD
IMAGINATIVE IDEAS FOR STAYING AT HOME
A GUIDE TO ACTION AND RESOURCES THAT OFFER PRACTICAL HELP
RESPONSES TO THE CHANGING CULTURAL LANDSCAPE
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