A sense of place
Kirstin Innes finds out about a new ‘mini-festival’ hoping to change Edinburgh’s cultural scene
The biggest difference between Edinburgh and Glasgow’s cultural scenes can be located right down at the grassroots. While Glasgow has a plethora of places like Mono, The Arches, CCA and the Art School – centralised hubs where emergent artists, musicians and generally creative types can meet up, discuss and create together – Edinburgh’s cultural institutions tend to be just that, institutions. Grand, old, cultural powerhouses, showcasing big, glorious names in art and theatre, with little room for the, er, little folk.
However, over the last year, there’s been a decided shift. A new crop of young venues have popped up all over town: the GRV on Guthrie Street has always set out to be an ‘urban sanctuary for multi-media arts, creative culture, and music’. More recently, the Bowery, which opened up in the former Roxy Art House late last year, has been founded on similar principles, aiming to recreate a small, vibrant section of New York in a basement in Auld Reekie.
It’s this same sense that Edinburgh’s cultural scene needed something else that motivated Alice Ladenburg, a recent art graduate, to set up Place Project, a week-long programme of events aimed at jump-starting collaboration and creative networking.
‘When I graduated, I was feeling a bit antsy. I felt there needed to be more opportunity for people – not just artists, but people from different disciplines – to mingle and have a platform to get into dialogues and collaborate on. A sociable, relaxed environment; away from the art scene, which can be a bit cliquey.’
Ladenburg and friends had actually considered taking over the Roxy themselves; when they got there and found it already occupied by Bowery-founder and kindred spirit Ruth Moir, they decided to collaborate and make a beautiful thing.
‘Place Project, or the first Place Project, at any rate, is basically a mini-festival,’ Ladenburg explains. ‘We sent out calls for submissions of ideas and projects, and found that people were actually contacting us. It’s grown into something organically. We’ve now got exhibitions, electronic music gigs, a Pecha Kucha night: a really wide range of different people involved The first night is going to be the artists’ install, and we’ve got a young gallery group called Badger Badger doing a sort of performance eating piece – I’m not really sure what that’s going to look like! It’s full to the brim.’
The main event seems to be the Place Project Masked Ball, on Saturday 21st, with a specially composed score by local electronic buff Freemoore, but there’s a whole week of things to look at and people to talk to in there too.
Place Project, The Bowery, Thu 19–26 Mar. Full listings on the Place Project Facebook group.