LONG READ | 2021 - Collaboration Creates Possibilities

Highlights from another unexpected year. One where limitless generosity of time, spirit and creativity created many more amazing moments worth marking. Across Artlink people and projects spent another year finding new ways to work, building on the lessons learned the previous year and creating something memorable. 

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

At the start of the year spirits were lifted with Friday night Zoom discos from Indepen-dance, weekly online performances from musicians, and entertainers with Thursday Live, and online performance,  music and art workshops from The Makers.

Arts Access kept bringing arts and culture into our homes with monthly newsletters featuring news, reviews, and recommendations alongside seasonal listings of accessible online offerings.

KMAdotcom and The Makers resident wordsmith Marc Smith got us all reading with the inaugural publication of his magazine MARC MY WORDS featuring his poetry, artwork and an interview with Tate curator Linsey Young.

For those who wanted to learn something new In Stitches our online sewing project was born. A remote gathering of wannabe embroiderers and master sewers, who shared their ideas and inspiration, to produce some incredible textile pieces.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Spring brought a chance to venture out further, with members of Arts Access enjoying trips around Edinburgh with Lissa and Betsy the tri-shaw. From Bruntsfield, and The Meadows to The Botanics, Arts Access and Vintage Club members loved whizzing through the streets, parks and gardens of the City, with outings sparking impromptu poetry recitals and usually ending with some alfresco refreshments. As the year progressed trips to museums, galleries, pop-up outdoor events at the Festival, and finally panto, have all be possible with the help of our fantastic volunteers.

In Midlothian Artlink and Cherry Road continued to work together on an Outreach Programme that included bringing performers into people’s gardens and outdoor spaces as the weather brightened and restrictions allowed with Thursday Live on Tour.

The Socialites continued to support young people across Midlothian and East Lothian with personalised workshops online and in real life when restrictions lifted for over 70 young people, with the project featuring in Arts Culture Health and Wellbeing Scotland’s June event ‘The Role of Culture in the Health and Wellbeing of Young People.’ One Socialite Ruby Stone transported us to another world with her ‘Book of Miscreations’ a perfect tonic for the times, which proved so popular that the initial release of her publication sold out in the first week!

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

As the year continued KMAdotcom were delighted to reunite in the studio, meet some of the new members, and start collaborating in person. For a hefty dose of creative inspiration make sure to check out their Instagram.

Long-time KMAdotcom collaborators Leanne Ross and Laura Aldridge had great success with an acclaimed group show at Glasgow International Visual Arts Festival, a feature in Scottish Contemporary Art Networks #ArtUnlocks…Wellbeing blog, and taking work to Frieze London, which saw Leanne’s work bought by many collectors including the Government Art Collection!

Curious Routes and Leylines continued exploring their shared love of making, gardening and collaborative conversations, with work expanding out to include new projects and locations with Pentland Court, St John’s Hospital, a new studio at Howden Park Centre and the gorgeous surroundings of Suntrap Studio and Garden.

Carrying on from last year’s lockdown film collaboration A Frame is Not a State of Mind Chris McAdam and James McLardy produced another film Summer into Autumn, with Chris and James recently speaking about their process during Arts Culture Health and Wellbeing Scotland’s December event ‘A Frame is not a State of Mind – Artist Talk/Creative Coffee Break Conversation’

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

At the Hospitals our fantastic volunteers at The Glasshouses, Royal Edinburgh Hospital, helped tame the post lockdown garden, worked on DIY projects to adapt the internal space, got involved in creative workshops and of course enjoyed plenty of tea, cake and chats – you can check out what they’ve been up to on their new page Friends of the Glasshouses

Common Thread has been one of the most popular workshops at The Glasshouses, introducing weaving and other textile techniques and taking part in craftivism for COP26 with Stitches for Survival.

Some long-term projects on the wards at the Royal Edinburgh Hospital, which had been affected by shutdowns over the past year, came to an end. This included the production of a publication to accompany last year’s Edinburgh Landmarks exhibition, and Inside | Out  – the sited work and exhibition which culminated from artist Nick Evans workshops. Check out Nick’s tour of his studio for the project members here.

This is just a fraction of the fantastic work that projects have been up to, stay tuned for more updates and exciting events in the New Year. Wishing everyone a peaceful festive break and hoping for a brighter 2022. 

KMAdotcom: Leanne and Laura

Leanne Ross and Laura Aldridge are both members of Artlink supported artist collective KMAdotcom, a studio based in Midlothian that brings together a diverse group of artists in a supportive space which encourages collective and individual creativity.

Weekly workshops, over several years, sparked an invaluable connection between Leanne and Laura which has developed into a strong working relationship based around sharing ideas, inspiring, and challenging each other. The arrival of Covid last year meant that for a while workshops were on pause, but Leanne and Laura managed to keep developing ideas and working towards exhibiting at Glasgow International (GI) 2020, Scotland’s largest festival for contemporary art, through virtual studio vists, and when possible garden workshops.

It was with great disappointment, but understanding, that they found out GI would be postponed as restrictions continued. However, Leanne and Laura kept making work throughout the year, with Leanne receiving a commission from the NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde Trust to brighten up their Rest and Relaxation Hubs, and they were featured in ‘The National Lottery’s Portraits of The People’ in collaboration with the National Portrait Gallery.

It was wonderful news to hear that GI would be running during Summer 2021 and that the group exhibition The Outside is Inside Everything We Make conceived by Laura and featuring work from Laura, Leanne, and Judith Scott could go ahead. A fantastic, colourful and vibrant show that proved the perfect tonic to the past year, the show was chosen as one of the Fleming Collection’s ‘Glasgow International: Our Highlights’.

Glasgow gallery Kendall Koppe, held the exhibition in their space South of the river. An immersive exhibition which saw works displayed against a backdrop of specially design wallpaper and window decals designed by Leanne and produced through Omnicolours Artist Award Scheme.  A sense of the space can still be gathered through an in-depth video study, available online for any who missed the show, or those who want to revisit it. To accompany the exhibition, an editioned artist publication was produced which includes striking images from the exhibition alongside an essay by Nicola Wright. Copies are available to purchase through Good Press.

“As a whole, the works in ‘The Outside Is Inside Everything We Make’ are defined by material and interpretative mobility. They are slippery with meaning, full of narrative and sensory references that sometimes complete and sometimes oppose one another”. Nicola Wright, Essayist/Curator

Things didn’t stop after the exhibition ended, with Leanne and Laura going on to feature in the article ‘#ArtUnlocks…Wellbeing’ by the Scottish Contemporary Art Network, and as restrictions eased further and other largescale events were able to go ahead Leanne and Laura’s work travel down to Frieze London, with Kendal Koppe Gallery, to reach and inspire an even wider audience.

“Leanne’s debut at Frieze London was met with incredible enthusiasm. Her shout out paintings struck a chord with many viewers who felt personally connected to Leanne’s visual language. Many of Leanne’s works were placed in both private and public collections, including the Government Art Collection.” Kendall Koppe, Director – Kendall Koppe Gallery

We’re delighted to announce that ‘Me Time’ has been purchased by the Government Art Collection. Congratulations Leanne!


The Makers are group of like-minded creatives with and without learning disability.  The Makers  involves a wide variety of creative workshops inspired by creative interests. It’s about working with others to learn something new, develop a skill, make something, or make something happen together and to have a whole heap of fun at the same time.

During 2021 The Makers have kept connected and creative with online sessions and joyful in person workshops when restrictions eased. Over the next six weeks we’ll be bringing you a series of three updates about what they’ve been up to.

Drawing with Marcus Oakley on Zoom

Emma, Mary, Scott, David, James, Kathleen, Marc, Morvern, Kieran, David and Ben really enjoy drawing and during lockdown met weekly with illustrator Marcus Oakley to draw together on Zoom. Each week had a new theme picked by one of the Makers. Marcus Oakley would begin by getting everyone into the drawing vibe; by asking everyone to close their eyes, take a deep breath and listen to music or sounds that evoked the theme for that week. Not everyone who enjoys drawing had access to these online workshops which is why the postal project Artmail* was born.

Marcus and The Makers are going to be getting back together in the studio for the first time in a long time over the autumn…with exciting plans for a new collaboration with ethically minded Everpress printers.

*Artmail – postal art project with Marcus Oakley

The Makers Artmail project was created in collaboration with illustrator Marcus Oakley for adults who love drawing and could and couldn’t get involved in our online drawing workshops. Artmail kept growing in popularity and eventually Marcus was posting out a weekly drawing challenge to 27 people every week over lockdown.

Each week Marcus Oakley posted out a new drawing challenge to people isolated at home, who were looking for fun projects to be involved in. The Makers posted their drawings back to Marcus on a pre-stamped postcard, and everyone’s drawings were combined to create a collaborative 2 colour screen-print hand printed by Bernie Reid.

The artwork for this print/tea towel was inspired by The Makers favourite food, drink or kitchen utensil. You can purchase it through the Artlink Shop.

The Makers wanted to see others benefit from this project so it was suggested that 50% sales profit goes to Midlothian Foodbank.

“I love getting the Artmail post from Marcus, it makes me happy, I get drawing straight away, post it back and can’t wait for the next one.”
Audrey Lace

Postal Sewing project between Scott Davidson & Emily Martin

Scott is all about the needle and thread, it relaxes him and he’s a prolific maker. Scott was unable to join our online workshops so Textile Designer Emily Martin starting sending him sewing projects, threads, materials and inspiration through the post each week. They had weekly phone calls over a cuppa to chat ideas and Scott would always ask for more thread. He’s still working on his large scale textile project, so still needs regular thread posting out to him. We’re looking forward to seeing the final result and getting Emily & Scott back into the studio face to face again.

The Makers Part 2 - Music Making

The Makers are group of like-minded creatives with and without learning disability.  The Makers  involves a wide variety of creative workshops inspired by creative interests. It’s about working with others to learn something new, develop a skill, make something, or make something happen together and to have a whole heap of fun at the same time.

During 2021 The Makers have kept connected and creative with online sessions and joyful in person workshops when restrictions eased. Over the next six weeks we’ll be bringing you a series of three updates about what they’ve been up to.

Music Making with Caitlin 

Ben, Robert, Nicola, Amanda and Marc wanted to write their own songs and make music. Multi-instrumentalist, composer and sound designer Caitlin Mulgrew started working on a series of music making workshops that will culminate in a live pot and pan samba band on the streets of Midlothian as part of Artlink’s Thursday Live project. This music making group are also going to be working in collaboration with Edinburgh University’s Community Music students over the 2021/22 autumn and spring term.

Drumming with Cammy Sinclair

James and Adam just love drumming and have been separately working 1to1 with musician Cammy Sinclair on weekly drumming studio sessions at Groove Tunnel in Loanhead.

“Before James started drumming with Cammy he wasn’t leaving the house at all, he is really enjoying the sessions and is also getting really good at drumming!”

Ferne, James’s mum

“Drumming with Cammy is by far the highlight of Adam’s week”

Sophie, Adam’s mum.

Jade & Caitlin Singing sessions

Jade is an incredibly talented singer, she loves to sing female pop singer vocals after a series of 1to1 singing sessions with musician Caitlin Mulgrew, she’s feeling confident and excited to be performing live alongside the Makers Thursday Live project next month. Jade is also hoping to join a local choir in the not too distant future, so when things open up again she can perform more regularly.

Next up: The Makers Part 3 – Art 

The Makers in 2021 Part 1 - Theatre and Dance

The Makers are group of like-minded creatives with and without learning disability.  The Makers  involves a wide variety of creative workshops inspired by creative interests. It’s about working with others to learn something new, develop a skill, make something, or make something happen together and to have a whole heap of fun at the same time.

During 2021 The Makers have kept connected and creative with online sessions and joyful in person workshops when restrictions eased. Over the next six weeks we’ll be bringing you a series of three updates about what they’ve been up to.

Theatre for the Fabulous with Suzi Morrice & Keith McNeil

Theatre for The Fabulous came about because one of the Makers, Keith McNeill, and other Makers are passionate about acting and drama. Keith likes to make people laugh, he’s a showman and naturally puts people at ease. He loves drama and wants to develop his own skills whilst helping others to enhance their acting skills. He has been working in collaboration drama professional Suzi Morrice to learn and develop the skills to co-facilitate a series of Zoom and in person drama workshops with The Makers. Keith & Suzi brain storm workshop ideas together, and support each other to run the sessions. Theatre for The Fabulous workshops have involved improvisation, drama games, creating monologues and making people laugh. When restrictions lifted this year Suzi & Keith were able to bring the whole group together for the first time for a series of in person drama workshops at The Steading in Rosewell. We’re hoping with the help of additional funding that this can become a more regular workshop.

“Totally buzzing after the workshops, loved it”
Keith McNeill

Dance with indepen-dance
Cheryl, Sophie, Morvern, Ben, Leanne, Emma, Marc, Amanda, Sam, David, Nicola, Audrey and Michaela love to dance. When lockdown hit we all stopped moving as much, and were stuck at home most of the time so we asked dancers Wils & Aimee from Glasgow based Indepen-dance to help get us moving again on Zoom. We posted out a series of dance props to everyone. It was so sort after we added more dates, then more after that, people didn’t want it to end so it happened every Monday morning at 11am to see us through the darkest days of lockdown from January – April 2021.  Last month, we eventually all met up in person in Dalkeith Country park for a really amazing socially distanced boogie to the beats together in the park with Wils & Aimme.

“Loved it, Monday mornings were great, Wils is very funny, he makes us laugh as well as dance!”
Morvern Robb

“Dancing in the park was amazing”
Robert Kocaba

Due to the popularity of these dance workshops we’re working in collaboration with more local Dalkeith based KIC Dance to offer more in person dance workshops over the autumn.

Next up: The Makers in 2021 Part 2 – Music Making 

Arts Access Online Arts and Culture (Festival Edition)

Art Festival | Book Festival | Fringe | International Festival | Festival Carnival | Opera and Classical Music | Theatre  |  Literature  |  Dance  |  Comedy  |  Film  |  Arts and Culture Virtual Tours  |  Scottish Art Gallery and Museum Tours  |  Life Drawing  |  Scottish History and Culture  

Edinburgh Art Festival – Rotten TV a digital residency and broadcasting studio for artists and thinkers from Indonesia, Brazil and the UK, rethinking perceptions of life, death and ecosystem renewal. Six episodes will be broadcast throughout 2021, culminating in a broadcast to coincide with the COP26, the UN Climate Change Conference taking place in Glasgow, November 2021. (Online)

Edinburgh Art Festival – Camara Taylor: holus bolus , is inspired by the tellings and re-tellings of the life and death of William Davidson (1781 – 1820). Conspirator, radical or wrongfully convicted, Davidson was the son of a Scotsman, the Attorney General of Jamaica, and a black woman.  Taylor works with and against court transcripts, rumour, anecdote and regency era records and ephemera; questioning what these can tell us about Black presence – or even a single figure. (Online)

Edinburgh Art Festival – Chizu Anucha: Slump, subside and other farewells an audio work and video documentation of a live performance combining archive materials and original music. The piece will build a collective imagination of a utopian future by tuning into the temporal resonances of the many black abolitionists that visited Edinburgh in the 19th century. (Online)

Edinburgh International Book Festival

Edinburgh Book Festival – BSL Events A variety of online BSL interpreted events from across the Book Festival (BSL)(Online)

Edinburgh Book Festival – Captioned Events A variety of online captioned events from across the Book Festival (Captioned)(Online)

Edinburgh Book Festival – Learning Disability Friendly Events  A variety of online learning disability friendly events from across the Book Festival (Learning Disability Friendly)(Online)

Edinburgh Book Festival – Online Events A variety of online events from across the Book Festival (Online)

Edinburgh Fringe Festival

Edinburgh Fringe – Online Events A variety of online events from across the Fringe (Online)

Edinburgh International Festival

Edinburgh International Festival Theatre at Home – Ariadne auf Naxos Sir Andrew Davis conducts the Royal Scottish National Orchestra in a filmed concert performance of Richard Strauss’ comedy Ariadne auf Naxos. It’s the party to end all parties. But two entertainments have been double-booked to mark the evening’s climax – a serious opera and a slapstick comedy. The star soprano is throwing a tantrum and the staff are hiding the chaos from the boss. There’s only one solution: perform both shows at the same time. (Online)

Edinburgh International Festival Theatre at Home – Chineke! Orchestra & William Eddins The Chineke! Orchestra joins dynamic mezzo soprano Andrea Baker in a filmed performance of the trailblazing song cycle woman.life.song, featuring influences of pop, blues and jazz. (Online)

Edinburgh International Festival Theatre at Home – Chotto Xenos Choreographer Akram Khan and director Sue Buckmaster take young audiences back in time to explore how war begins and how it ends. (Online)

Edinburgh International Festival Theatre at Home – Dancing in the Streets: Alice Ripoll Rio de Janeiro-based choreographer Alice Ripoll’s celebratory film about the lives of her company’s dancers. (Online)

Edinburgh International Festival Theatre at Home – Dancing in the Streets: Janice Parker Choreographer Janice Parker’s reflective filmic series Small Acts of Hope and Lament, shot in Edinburgh on her iPhone 6. (Online)

Edinburgh International Festival Theatre at Home – Dancing in the Streets: Omar Rajeh Beirut-based choreographer and dancer Omar Rajeh’s film presents a micro to macro view of his home city. (Online)

Edinburgh International Festival Theatre at Home – Lament for Sheku Bayoh Writer and Director Hannah Lavery leads an artistic yet grief-filled response to the 2015 death in Scottish police custody of Sheku Bayoh. (Online)

Edinburgh International Festival Theatre at Home – Malcolm Martineau & Friends Distinguished pianist Malcolm Martineau and a gathering of musical friends in a filmed concert of songs based on the poetry of Sir Walter Scott. (Online)

Edinburgh International Festival Theatre at Home – Talisk Combining concertina, fiddle and guitar, the fiery Talisk trio are filmed giving a typically fast-paced and genre-bending performance. (Online)

Edinburgh International Festival Theatre at Home – The Soldier’s Tale A darkly humorous musical storytelling filmed performance combining dance, theatre and International Festival resident artist Nicola Benedetti’s superb violin playing. (Online)

Edinburgh International Festival Theatre at Home – You Bury Me From writer Ahlam and director Katie Posner, this film presents the award-winning You Bury Me as a poignant snapshot of post-Arab-Spring Cairo. (Online)

Edinburgh Festival Carnival

Edinburgh Festival Carnival Highlights from the three-day celebration with a vibrant mix of performances all free and brought to you on Youtube. (Online)

Opera and Classical Music Listings

Breath Cycle – Scottish Opera For people with breathing difficulties and those recovering from COVID-19. Singing is a fun and creative way to improve your health and wellbeing – no experience necessary! The benefits of singing regularly are widely recognised, from improved lung function and circulation to a strengthened immune system, improved posture, and better breath control – it can even provide relief from stress and anxiety.

SCO – Musical Postcards This summer as we can’t get on the road quite yet, we will be sending out a series of musical postcards from our players to you. Coming to you from iconic locations across Scotland, as well as favourite Summer Tour venues, join us for musical moments every Friday at 1pm. (Online)

Scottish Opera: On Screen A growing collection of Scottish Opera films, including brand new commissions from contemporary music makers, re-workings of much-loved favourites and staged concert performances. Created exclusively to be experienced on-screen. (Free) (Captioned and audio described performances available)

Digital Season RSNO Spring/Summer 2021 Over the coming months you can enjoy nine spectacular orchestral and chamber concerts, filmed live for you in the Glasgow Royal Concert Hall and the RSNO’s Studio, with COVID-19 secure measures in place. (Paid)

Friday Night Club – RSNO Archive Concerts 15 free online concerts from our archives, featuring beloved music performed by world-class musicians. (Free)

Scottish Chamber Orchestra: Watch at Home 11 concerts filmed at a variety of locations across Scotland and broadcast online. (Free)

Theatre Listings

The Dream Frequencies – Traverse (Audio Play) Journey with MJ and his contributors from dusk until dawn – from the unsettling to the bizarre to the soothing and back again – in this immersive audio theatre experience which transports listeners into the unknown and unexpected worlds inside the heads and under the eyelids of others. (Free)

When The Sun Meets The Sky – Traverse (Audio Play) Set in iconic Edinburgh locations – from summertime in the Meadows after the war, to a Beatles gig in the ABC on Lothian Road, Christmastime on the Mound in the 80s and ending up in the Port O’Leith after the turn of the millennium, When The Sun Leaves The Sky tracks Maggie through the decades as she discovers herself, her city and tries to get to the bottom of a mystery that’s eluded her since childhood. (Free)(Dementia Friendly)(Large Print, CD & DVD versions available)(Sensory Box)

The Coming Back Ball – National Theatre of Scotland A glorious celebration of lesbian, gay, bisexual, trans and gender diverse, and intersex elders. Your hosts for this digital event will be Karen Dunbar and Jamie Rea. The Ball will feature performances from Scottish icon and long-time project supporter Horse, the sensational performance poet Dean Atta, a contribution from Maggie Kinloch and the legendary Jo Clifford will perform a new piece inspired by the project. Look forward to music, dancing and the chance to chat with fellow Ball attendees via your zoom table. (Pay what you wish) (Audio described) (Captioned)

Dear Deelight – National Theatre of Scotland The brand-new drag-ony aunt phenomenon doling out sage advice and sassy quips. Dreary dates, bad boyfriends and rocky relationships – the Real Housewife of Leith has all the answers. (Free)

Sundown Stories – Capital Theatres Sundown Stories is a series of short stories adapted for film for anyone who might enjoy a calming and relaxing story. The stories, written by and for persons living with dementia, are delivered in a calming environment, a gentle pace and soothing tone. (Free) (Captioned, some BSL, Dementia Friendly)

StageText Listings of online captioned performances, talks and events from across the UK. (Free and Paid)(Captioned)

Vocal Eyes Provides listings of Audio Described online theatre performances and events accessible to blind and partially sighted people. (Free and Paid) (Audio Described)

Literature Listings
Online Guide to Scottish Poets – The Scottish Poetry Library Online A popular resource for lovers of poetry the world over (Free)

National Library of Scotland Explore the collections online. (Free)

Dance Listings

Dark Full Ride – Scottish Ballet Set to a cacophony of music recorded by four drummers, Dark Full Ride mirrors interweaving percussive sounds with movement. This film follows four dancers as they explosively intertwine and interact on a dark and empty stage, reflecting the labyrinth of sound and changing tempos created by the drums. (Membership required – Free to sign up)

Dive – Scottish Ballet Scottish Ballet’s Choreographer in Residence Sophie Laplane partners with James Bonas (The Crucible) and film director Oscar Sansom to create Dive, a short film inspired by French artist Yves Klein and what has become the world’s most famous shade of blue. (Membership required – Free to sign up)

Odyssey – Scottish Ballet Choreographed by Scottish Ballet Soloist Nicholas Shoesmith (Catalyst, The Fates) and directed by Ciaran Lyons, this high-octane short film takes viewers on a journey through a game-like landscape inhabited by otherworldly beings, where the real and virtual collide. (Membership required – Free to sign up)

SBTV – Scottish Ballet Online Trailers, tutorials, behind the scenes videos and short documentaries from Scottish Ballet. (Free)

Comedy Listings

The Stand on Demand Archive of performances from The Stand comedy club. (Paid)

Film Listings

MUBI.com features hand-picked films to watch or download. From forgotten gems to festival-fresh cinema. From cult classics to award-winning masterpieces. Changes daily.   (Paid)

British Film Institute Rent the latest releases, subscribe to classics and explore the best from the BFI, national and regional archives. (Paid and free)

Virtual Tours

Weymss Caves, Scotland 4D tour online. (Free)

Edinburgh Landmarks Virtual Tours of Edinburgh’s buildings, attractions, view points and famous streets. Use the arrows to move around and explore. (Free)

Arts and Gallery

CCA Annex An online project space for interviews, films, essays, publications and performances from Glasgow’s Centre for Contemporary Arts (Free)(Accessible website options) 

Ray Harryhausen:  Titan of Cinema virtual exhibition experience – National Galleries of Scotland The virtual experience includes five specially created films, images and texts from the exhibition, and archive films and objects from Ray Harryhausen’s life and work and 3D model videos. (Paid)

National Galleries of Scotland Explore the collections online. (Free)

Night Walk for Edinburgh – The Fruitmarket Gallery Following Janet Cardiff’s voice and walking in her footsteps, as you participate in Night Walk for Edinburgh you will be led through the backstreets of Edinburgh’s Old Town, unravelling a disjointed tale – part game-playing, part surrealistic poetry, perhaps even a murder mystery – layered with history, invention and memories. (Free)

2020: Stories, Portraits, Visions – Scottish National Portrait Gallery Online and in gallery, a display which offers visitors an opportunity to reflect on the events of this year and glimpse brief snapshots into other lives lived during this difficult and troubling time. (Free)

National Museums of Scotland Explore the collections online. (Free)

Scottish National Gallery of Modern Art Sculpture Park described virtual tour. (Visual Impaired Accessible. Free)

Life Drawing

The ATYN online drawing club All are welcome to join from anywhere in the world. We can all sketch together, taking 2 hours to relax and create. (Paid)

Scottish History & Culture Listings

Scottish Storytelling Centre Online Events A selection of online events from the Scottish Storytelling Centre. (Online) 

Self-Guided Audio Walks Compiled by The University of Edinburgh a collection of walking routes and audio tours of Edinburgh, Scotland and beyond. (Free)  

The National Library of Scotland Moving Image Archive (formerly the Scottish Screen Archive) has something for everyone. Explore around 100 years of Scotland’s history captured by amateur and professional filmmakers. (Free)

SCRAN Cultural heritage learning blog which offers digital access to over half a million photographs, moving images and sounds from museums, galleries, libraries, archives and the media. (Free)

Lost Edinburgh an online, interactive archive, 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)

Historic Environment Scotland Explore the collections online – archaeology, buildings, industrial and maritime heritage. (Free)

Pastmap.org Dig deep into the history of places in Scotland and beyond to discover fascinating insights into hidden stories and histories of buildings, towns and cities. (Free)

Tobar an Dualchais contains a wealth of Gaelic and Scots recordings such as folklore, songs, music, history, poetry, traditions, stories and other information.  (Free)

Historic Environment Scotland Explore their object collection online. (Free)

School of Scottish Studies Archives Explore an online collection of traditional music from the Shetland Isles. (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.


MARC MY WORDS is a magazine produced during lockdown by KMAdotcom and The Makers member Marc Smith. A prolific artist and wordsmith, MARC MY WORDS showcases Marc’s diverse skillset encompassing poetry, line drawing, collage and word art, inviting you to explore his ideas and share your own.

“Tell me about yourself, let me understand what you are on about – people see each other and they go one way. Understand different people but don’t take it to the end.”

A shared interest in ideas and collaboration led to Tate Curator Linsey Young getting in touch with Marc to find out more about his work and the work of KMAdotcom. Marc, Linsey and KMA artist Laura Aldridge met up over Zoom during lockdown to discuss his practice. Read the conversation and keep up with Marc’s work on his website.

“Believe in your self. Take me to the top. Always find something to do.”


This slideshow requires JavaScript.

In March 2020 Artlink was asked by Mental Health Day Services in West Lothian to provide art sessions at Pentland Court, St John’s Hospital in Livingston as a part of the response to the emerging pandemic. Here adults with enduring mental ill health receive rehabilitation support in preparation for their return to community living. Being resident in hospital during these times can be incredibly isolating, mundane and does little to encourage an individual to think ahead with positivity. So, it was important for us to create an arts input that encouraged forward thinking and planning towards a time when there could be a positive and active involvement in our communities.

We mostly work in a small, adapted studio space in Pentland Court so that we can work in a socially distanced and Covid safe way. Whenever the easing of restrictions allowed, we have also made use of the well-equipped ceramics and arts studio at the nearby Howden Park Centre. We have been exploring ways that conversations about experiences during current Covid times can be visualised. The time together offers us an opportunity to look at different ways in which we can develop our ideas that reflect our shared interests and passions and think about how this work might be adapted for more public situations.

‘I Miss a Dance’ is inspired by conversations between Sharon and artist Francesca during the studio sessions. Both love music, dancing, and socialising. Their collaborative work is inspired by the things they miss. With the same energy and creativity they have shown in developing the work, they are now planning to create a series of props and backdrops for community and creative events at Howden Park Centre in the year ahead.

Continuity and the opportunity to get back involved in our studio workshops have been important over the past year. Stuart has been an ever-present creative force within our Sanctuary project at Boghall since 2015. When Stuart became unwell in 2020 he had to stay at Pentland Court for a short period. During this short time of ill health Stuart continued to explore his interest in poster making and screenprinting and when he returned home he continued this work at our studio sessions at Boghall.

We look forward to sharing the creative energy and experiences of the many people involved at Pentland Court and our other Leylines projects with others in our communities when the time comes.


Spring 2021 Online Cultural Activities

Edinburgh and Glasgow Urban Maps
Frozen Theatre
Frozen Light’s 2065: The Multi-Sensory Movie
2065 follows a group of rebels living outside the system. Join Frozen Light’s Archivist-Rebel in Residence as they guide you through what life was like in 2065.  
Order a movie ticket and you will also receive a sensory box in the form of a Rebel Pack by post. This box will be full of the smells, tastes and textures of 2065. The Rebel Pack is accompanied by a movie link to watch as you explore your sensory items. 

Edinburgh and Glasgow Urban Maps

The maps show Edinburgh and Glasgow as a cities of nature, bringing green and blue spaces to the fore – the parks, woodlands, playing fields, nature reserves, rivers, and coastline. It incorporates symbols marking places to walk and cycle, take in views, and geodiversity sites. It shows open space rather than roads and buildings. The maps aim to stimulate us to see the city differently: to think more deeply about the cities as a places, and our place in them. It’s a resource to encourage more awareness and more action for people and nature. 2,000 free maps for schools, health settings, youth and community groups in each city were created and printed.

Pyramid Open Show

Article (audio version available if you’d prefer to listen) 
Themed around creative responses to a unique sensory call out of the colour orange, the sound of pink noise, and the word ‘ouch!’ Gill Crawshaw takes a look at an innovative curation process developed by the Leeds-based arts collective Pyramid.

Irregular Art Schools
Irregular Art Schools – A Research Project Exploring Professional Development Opportunities for Learning Disabled Artists
It will co-develop and pilot different professional development opportunities with learning disabled artists from Pyramid, testing how existing structures such as artist-led spaces, universities, publishing and social care can better serve learning disabled individuals.

Touch as Narrative
DYSPLA are currently in development of an Intimate XR (Extended Reality) Installation which explores touch as an artistic pursuit, from the perspective of a neurodivergent woman, specifically exhibiting traits of High-Sensitivity and Tactile Synesthesia. As part of Living Record Festival 2021, using ASMR & binaural techniques. DYSPLA is a Dyslexic and Neurodivergent arts collective based in London. 

Post touch-workshop recorded discussions:

My Heritage
Animate the faces in your family photos with amazing technology. Experience your family history like never before.

BBC Soundscapes
This collaboration brings virtual soundscapes of music and nature directly to audiences with Radio 3, 6 Music, BBC Sounds, BBC Two’s Winterwatch, the interactive BBC Sound Effects Archive and an innovative scientific experiment.


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.