Outer Spaces

Spotlight on Edinburgh

Our time in the city so far

'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, other artists to connect with, places to hold workshops or bring audiences in, and above all else, agency as artists and creators.’ Shân Edwards, Director, Outer Spaces

Since our inception in 2021, we’ve occupied 12 properties in Edinburgh. These properties have provided support to a diverse range of artistic practice. With the likes of painters, musicians, poets, and performers working alongside each other, these spaces have created the conditions for collaboration and artist-led activity. We’re excited to be able to support such a vital part of the city’s creative landscape.    

Outer Spaces | Henderson Row

MORE THAN SPACE was an Outer Spaces pilot project supported by Creative Scotland and Aberdeen City Council. During 2022 and 2023 the project explored new models and directions for curating and commissioning in empty commercial property. As part of the project we commissioned The Dissenter For Space Studies, based in Henderson, one of our first ever properties in Edinburgh. Dissenter empowered artists to explore the possibilities of occupying vacant properties through a programme of events and talks with invited and commissioned artists.

The project continues to evolve as a collaboration between a growing number of artists, designers, programmers, writers, and curators. Edinburgh Sculpture Workshop are currently hosting The Dissenter Space Programme for a series of events in their Research Space throughout April and May 2024. Check out the full programme here.

Doors Open Dats Festival 2023, Henderson Row, Edinburgh

Dissenter for Space Studies at Outer Spaces, Henderson Row, Edinburgh

Photo: Elliot Hatherley

In September 2023 we participated in Doors Open Days Festival, coordinated by the Scottish Civic Trust. Our network of artists opened their studio spaces in Aberdeen, Perth, Glasgow and Edinburgh to the public.

In Edinburgh, this was a unique opportunity to take a behind the scenes peek inside the former Royal London building on Henderson Row, which at the time was being occupied by over 50 multi-disciplinary artists.

Among other artists, Henderson Row was home to the 40+ volunteers who make the Hidden Door Festival happen, a music, visual arts and culture festival taking place in different Edinburgh locations every year.

Outer Spaces I Westside Plaza

In 2022, Edinburgh Art Festival began occupying a unit in Westside Plaza, Wester Hailes, for their 2022 commission with Jeanne van Heeswijk, a Dutch visual artist recognised for her long-term community-embedded projects across the world.

The Community Wellbeing Collective is continuing to explore local issues through arts activities with community organisations, residents of all ages and local schools, as well as being open to the public every week.

A recent highlight was the Wester Hailes Carnival Showcase: Health, Joy and Healing – a vibrant community celebration led by Edinburgh Art Festival in collaboration with the Community Wellbeing Collective (CWC), Edinburgh Festival Carnival and SCOREscotland.

The Wester Hailes Carnival Showcase at Outer Spaces, Westside Plaza, Edinburgh

Photo: Julie Howden

The day made extra special with performances and an array of stalls and some dancing in the rain! Performances included a poet, a samba procession and music; whilst the stalls featured some incredible community organisations, with everything from Afro-hair styling to kids’ headdress workshops.

Outer Spaces I Edinburgh Park

We expanded our national partnership project First Steps in Outer Spaces into The Younger Building in Edinburgh Park, a former RBS headquarters. Space was allocated for graduates from Edinburgh College of Art after their degree shows ended, so they were able to continue to develop their work, build their networks and careers. Later they were joined by former Leith School of Art students and artists in a new creative community that is now flourishing!

Outer Spaces, Edinburgh Park is now home to over 80 artists and organisations. In January 2024 it was host to our Curators’ Day. A networking event aimed at emerging curators, discussing our role in collaborative working with artists and communities.

Most recently, we were delighted to announce that Edinburgh based artist Rachel Hutchison has been selected as the Outer Spaces Fellow at the British Pavilion during the 60th Venice Biennale, 2024. Rachel will spend a month at the Biennale, developing a personal creative project and engaging audiences as an ambassador at the British Pavilion. Read more about the project here.

The breadth of creativity and professional practice in Edinburgh is boundless. Keep a look out for more news from Edinburgh as we put the spotlight on artists working in our spaces over the next few months!

Curators' Day at Outer Spaces, Edinburgh Park, Edinburgh