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.”

Collective Matter x KMADotcom

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!

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