Since August 2021 Artlink has been part of the Culture Collective, a network of 26 participatory arts projects, shaped by local communities alongside artists and creative organisations. Funded by Scottish Government emergency COVID-19 funds through Creative Scotland, each unique project is designed and driven by the community in which it is rooted. Some projects work to creatively engage with older community members; some provide opportunities for young women and non-binary people to find their voices; and others address disconnection, loneliness and mental health in post-lockdown world.

Follow Our Rules is Artlink’s Culture Collective project and our reponse to the post-pandemic world. It supports the exploration of long-term partnerships between artists and individuals with complex disabilities, and the people who support them – promoting new ways of working that have emerged from a grass roots level during the pandemic and casting a light on the use of the arts as a tool for change.

“If a society is ultimately judged by how it treats its most vulnerable, then it is imperative that we take the time to look for equality in our differences and join forces, as together we have a much louder voice”.

What follows are highlights of the exploration and experimentation that is supporting postive action in communities, where combining ideas and skills are central to forging a new creative dialogue.

‘I want your meat & cheese, blood & pie’ PUBLICATION

A collaborative picture book from British artists, Julie Verhoeven and Alan Faulds, whose works – created in response to each other – are layered and collaged together in the publication.

The two share a passion for pop culture, fashion, performance, the macabre and cheesy corn snacks. Their mutual friend, Laura Alridge, from KMAdotcom, a collective of artists with and without learning differences, proposed that Alan and Julie meet online, to see if they could inspire each other during lockdown.

And they did. ‘’Meeting Alan and riffing off his work has had an immense effect on me and my artistic output’’, Verhoeven says. ‘’I have been re-energised to draw again and care less about the outcome, or how the work is perceived, but to simply enjoy the ride. Alan has a fearless energy and deft skill with the brush and pen. His impromptu performances are infectious and joyful, and this energy has affected my attitude to life and work no end’’, Verhoeven explains.

Over the course of 18 months, Alan and Julie met online weekly, created work together, and developed a working partnership . Every week, the pair would prepare sources and inspirations on which they would both draw, and a playlist to which they would dance. In their sessions they would dress up, apply make-up, then come together with their props. There was no clear-cut process of making work however: the duo worked intuitively, amusingly ‘’flying by the seat of our pants’’, as Verhoeven put it.

‘’Our work in response to each other and together is a riotous, flavoursome mix of fashion, horror and humour, with a cheesy top. We enjoy masquerading and moving to the music and trust that the creative outcome is honest, unfiltered and visceral’.’

Instagram will load in the frontend.

The book is a way to formalise their work, but without structure. Drawings, collages and photos of their guises are cut-up and combined on the pages. The publication consists of sketches and outcomes of their meetings, and reflects their developing relationship, documented by photographer Annie Collinge.


During lockdown we all found new ways of connecting and creatively occupying our time. Computer screens were taken over by the talking heads of Zoom and WhatsApp became our new best friend. In May 2022, 5th Exit presented the work of a group of artists who devised their own ways of keeping in touch to share ideas, make work and create positive strategies for wellbeing.

5th Exit celebrated what the artists had achieved in a changing exhibition of ideas, experiences, and objects. The exhibition was accompanied by a series of workshops and events expertly led by the artists. They wanted you to have the opportunity to be part of a growing network of likeminded communities who are open to new experiences and supportive of each other’s potential.

“It is that freedom to just be who you are, and to be able to socialise with other people that get you, that really get you. It’s good to feel part of something.’’

We asked one of the artists, Peter Johnstone, to make a special issue of Slush Poppy to help document the 5th Exit. Slush Poppy is a zine he has been making since 2018, it usually covers art, music and anything of interest. We think you will enjoy this latest edition.


The Human Threads exhibition was the culmination of many years of collaboration between Artlink and Cherry Road Learning Centre in Bonnyrigg, Midlothian, exploring ways to involve people with profound and multiple learning disabilities in the creative process – through watching, listening and learning from the sensory detail that delights, working intensively to share this with those who care as well as those who are cared for.

“It might seem so simple, a gentle brush on a face, a ball jiggling in a hand – these are all incredibly powerful moments of communication.” 

The interactive landscape of light, sound, touch and smell inspired many during Human Thread’s three month run that  animated by an extensive programme of performative and musical interventions offered an ever-changing and immersive encounter. The response to the exhibition has been so positive and at times overwhelming.

“In the end it’s not about what you are or even who you are. It’s about what we are together. That’s what’s important. The fact that we all need each other, that we need positive relationships, and it is this that makes us human.”

Please visit Human Threads perspectives to hear how others experienced the exhibition and the dedicated Human Threads resources page for further information.


If you came across a 20 metre long inflatable worm parading through the grounds of the Royal Edinburgh Hospital, what would you do?

If you answered: feed it giant carrots and apples, offer it compost and flowers, and accompany it on its promenade with drumming, music, dancing and chanting, then perhaps you were one of the many people who enjoyed the Worm Walk at the beginning of June. The festival atmosphere of the Worm Walk was the culmination of months of activity that took place during the Spring Fling at the Royal Edinburgh and was a chance for the hospital community to celebrate together.

“The weirdest thing that’s happened in my decade and a half at the Royal Ed, but in a really good way. It was something for everyone to talk about!”

During Spring Fling, organisations based at the hospital, collaborated to create a programme of events including lunchtime concerts, art workshops, bird identification sessions, and a reading from acclaimed local writer Alexander McCall Smith. The events took place over several weeks and celebrated the optimism and regeneration of Spring, with many events themed around nature.

“It was just so energetic and joyful!  It was wonderful. I loved it. I lost one of our volunteers. He joined the worm walk and started carrying the worm, and I just thought that was great great fun. And he said he had a fabulous time”.

The worm itself was conceived by artists Nadia Rossi and Morven Mulgrew and constructed and decorated by patients and volunteers in workshops at the Glasshouses Creative Hub, as well as workshops on the wards.

Supported by:
       City of Edinburgh Council logo link


Everyone has their own perspective on the Human Threads exhibition. What follows is a cross section of these experiences – to establish a fuller picture of the artworks and their impact. We learn from taking the time to understand the specifics of involvement, we understand that each person has their own very particular way of being involved. Our intention is to share these different perspectives to establish a more generous understanding of each other and the common ground we share.



Make the most of the Human Threads exhibition by attending one of the accessible events and performances that animates the space in differnt ways.

The events collection can be found HERE.

The exhibition is conceived as an accessible, creative experience informed by individuals with profound and multiple learning disabilities, and takes the form of an interactive landscape which invites audiences on a journey of light, sound, touch and smell. From a huge silk sail which sways softly, to sculpture that translates audio into vibrating pulses, and a playful tower emitting light, smoke and bubbles – each artwork within this gentle fairground offers a new encounter.

Human Threads is the culmination of years of pioneering research by Artlink and the Cherry Road Learning Centre. The works expand our perceptions of what an artwork might be and break down barriers of access to contemporary art. Throughout Human Threads the physical experience of the artwork becomes a shared, communal language through which to explore new possibilities of human perception.

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. 

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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.

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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!

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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’

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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. 

Arts Access - Online Arts and Culture (Early 2022)

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  


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. (Free)

SCO – Digital Season A wide variety of streamed online performances from the Scottish Chamber Orchestra’s new season (Free) 

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) 

RSNO – Spring/Summer 2022 Digital Season Three wonderful concerts featuring Steven Osborne performing Beethoven’s Piano Concerto No4, rising star Tabita Berglund conducting Sibelius’ Symphony No5 and Music Director Thomas Søndergård conducting Beethoven’s epic Symphony No9. Enjoy the live streams from the comfort of your own home and watch on demand until 30 June 2022. On demand viewing will be available from the Wednesday after the live stream. (Paid)

RSNO – Free Digital Content Digital content including ‘Spotlight on our Orchestra’, ‘For the Family’, ‘Digital Season Highlights’ , ‘Our Chorus’ and ‘Principals in the Spotlight’. (Free – scroll to bottom half of their page)

Theatre Listings

 National Theatre of Scotland – Digital Content  A selection of video and audio content from the National Theatre of Scotland available to stream online – scroll to bottom of the linked page for digital content. (Free)(Captioned Performance)(Audio Described Performance)

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)

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)(Transcript available for each episode)

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)


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.

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.

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 Post Lockdown Vintage Club

Arts Access was very excited last month to host our first Vintage Club outing since March 2020.

With restrictions in Scotland lifting, Arts Access was keen to invite our Vintage Club members to an outdoor event which did not feel too crowded or busy, but which fulfilled the aims of a successful Vintage Club event – a chance to socialise while doing something new.

We decided to team up with Lissa from Joy Rides Edinburgh to offer Vintage Clubbers a trip round the Meadows on Betsy – a customised electric trishaw which takes two passengers. We had worked with Lissa to offer individual outings during the summer, and these had gone so well we wanted more people to have the chance to enjoy a stylish breath of fresh air.

Members of the Vintage Club were invited to book a time slot to take part in the day, and all eight spaces quickly booked up – lots of pedalling for Lissa!

We used Soderberg Pavilion Café on the Quartermile as our base, and offered cake and coffee to the members and the volunteers who brought them. It was brilliant to see volunteers in action again, and to meet up with people face to face.

The day was a great success, and sun even came out for us!

We’re gradually opening up, and offering more bookings and outings to Arts Access members, as well as more volunteering opportunities. Email us for more information.


Arts Access During Covid-19 2020

Client and Storyteller Socially Distanced in Garden

Artlink’s Arts Access service has been running for over 35 years, helping people who need support to go out to arts events with a volunteer driver/companion.

The great thing about Arts Access is its variety and flexibility. Our 200 clients range in age from their early 20s to over 100. People live in many different situations, some with families, some alone, others in supported accommodation, care homes, and hospitals. Over 100 volunteers come from all walks of life, from artists and archaeologists to physiotherapists, doctors and IT specialists. What unites us all is our love of going out together, and enjoying all kinds of arts events, including live performances, cultural talks, musicals, exhibitions, concerts and films.

The Covid-19 crisis has been difficult for Arts Access. Theatres and venues have been closed, and performances have been cancelled and rescheduled far into 2021. Many of our clients are shielding or have health conditions which make them particularly vulnerable to Covid-19, and others require physical support – perhaps an arm for guiding or balance – which social distancing guidelines prohibits. While online cultural content has blossomed, many of the people we work with don’t have internet access.

Working with the Scottish Storytelling Centre this summer, we arranged socially distanced storytelling.

Client and Storyteller Close Up

Storytellers were matched to people based on their interests and experiences, and we travelled to Sweden and Kenya while dodging the drizzle in our Edinburgh gardens. Being together and having this face to face contact was so cheering and positive, that we are planning to offer more of these sessions during the Scottish International Storytelling Festival in October.

Volunteers have been staying in touch with our clients with regular phone calls, maintaining relationships which have been nurtured over the years. We want to try to harness this resource of goodwill and communication, and plan to gather stories about past outings, and what Arts Access means to people. We hope that collating these stories will highlight the importance and longevity of the project, and help us to feel optimistic about what the future will bring.