Outer Spaces

Outer Spaces at 2: Director Shân Edwards reflects

As we celebrate two years of Outer Spaces, our aim is to offer a sense of possibility and optimism in these critical times.


We know there’s a scarcity of funding and opportunities for artists which seriously limits their horizons and all the possibilities a bit of genuine support can bring. Art institutions and venues on standstill funding for years are dealing with spiralling costs and the sector is being failed by a system in crisis. There simply isn’t enough to go round and many artists are working just to survive.


If we want to support new work and new ways of organising to emerge, we have to trust and invest in the artists we work with. We need to offer them spaces to work in and collaborate in and communities of other artists and creative people.


Since 2021, Outer Spaces has been doing just that. We’ve been matching artists, musicians and performers, community arts and drama companies, collectives and established organisational partners with vacant commercial property on a scale that simply hasn’t existed in Scotland before.


We are temporarily occupying vast office blocks in cities and towns and on the outskirts, shops facing onto busy high streets, in shopping centres and in retail parks all left empty by the impact of the financial crisis first, then Brexit, the Covid years and the current inflationary environment we’re all living through. This is not going to change anytime soon.


Our spaces offer artists the things they’re looking for: the chance to have a space as large as they like, for free, for a time, for now. They have studios to work in, rehearse in, to think in and store things in, communities of other artists, places to hold workshops or bring audiences in, and above all else, agency as artists and creators.


Through our programmes and partnerships we’re exploring new models and directions for curating and commissioning and we will go further over the coming years. We will acquire more spaces and we will develop more programming. We will meet all kinds of artists and creative people, we will hear about the things that are happening and we will not be afraid to try out new things.


Giving agency to artistic ambition and enterprise in this way and at this scale is new, and urgent and vital. We can’t let artists down and their practices atrophy for the lack of space when there’s so much of it around.

Dissenter for Space Studies: A Very Heavenly Social
Dissenter for Space Studies: A Very Heavenly Social
Outer Spaces, Henderson Row, Edinburgh
Hosted by artist-collaborators Saoirse Amira Anis and Laura McSorley (Two of Cups) with performances by Shalmali Shetty, Wacera Kamonji, Len Goetzee, Maria Howard, Khadea Santi and a film screening from Natasha Thembiso Ruwona | Photos: Ross Fraser McLean
Dissenter for Space Studies: A Very Heavenly Social
Dissenter for Space Studies: A Very Heavenly Social
Outer Spaces, Henderson Row, Edinburgh
Hosted by artist-collaborators Saoirse Amira Anis and Laura McSorley (Two of Cups) with performances by Shalmali Shetty, Wacera Kamonji, Len Goetzee, Maria Howard, Khadea Santi and a film screening from Natasha Thembiso Ruwona | Photos: Ross Fraser McLean