Edinburgh Art Festival Returns This Summer for its 18th Edition 

Edinburgh Art Festival (EAF) announces the programme for its 18th edition that  includes three major commissions: the Associate Artist programme; Platform: 2022; the festival’s annual showcase of early career visual artists and thirty-five exhibitions across its partner galleries. 

In a city-wide celebration of visual art, EAF brings together the Capital’s leading galleries, museums and established spaces to showcase a range of art from photography documenting Frida Kahlo’s wardrobe to carnival-inspired performance art. The programme features international artists alongside new voices from Scotland, the rest of the UK and beyond. 

EAF’s Commissions programme, including their Associate Artist programme, supports renowned artists to create ambitious new work. Marking the 200th anniversary of the Union Canal, the programme takes inspiration from ‘The Wave of Translation’ – a scientific phenomenon discovered in Edinburgh. 

In 1834, engineer John Scott Russell watched as a horse-drawn canal boat came to a stop at Hermiston on the Union Canal. This abrupt stop created a single wave that continued along the waterway holding its shape and speed. Russell’s recording and research of this phenomenon influenced the development of modern fibre optic technology.  He described the wave as his ‘first chance encounter with that singular and beautiful phenomenon which I have called the Wave of Translation’. 

The programmes unfold along the Union Canal, from the Lochrin Basin to Wester Hailes. In collaboration with local residents and WHALE Arts, EAF has been supporting new opportunities for art creation and learning since 2019. 

For EAF, a major commission is presented with a group of residents from Wester Hailes and local surrounding areas. The Community Wellbeing Collective (CWC) present Watch this Space – a space for all to develop together and to experience the potential of community wellbeing. Throughout the festival the space will host activities and gatherings led by CWC members, alongside weekend anchor events by invited guests expanding upon the context of community wellbeing, discussing its wider politics in relation to  democratising social care and healing through creativity,

The activity will take place in Westside Plaza and online at watchthisspace.online (live from 28 July), including short films capturing the essence of the project presented at the French Institute for Scotland and online.

 Programme Manager at Edinburgh Art Festival Jane Connarty said: “As Edinburgh marks 75 years of festival culture, we are proud to collaborate with our partners across the city to present the 18th edition of Edinburgh Art Festival, and are delighted to welcome to the city our new Director, Kim McAleese. A celebration of the unique ecology of visual arts in our city, our 2022 programme brings together independent galleries, world class collections, and production spaces across the city to present the work of more than 100 artists from around the world. The 2022 Commissions Programme invites artists and audiences to explore the site and histories of the Union Canal and includes two artists projects in Wester Hailes on the west of the city – both developed from close working and co-production with local residents.” 

EAF features over 100 artists in 35 exhibitions across the Capital, many that are free to attend, full details of which can be found at the Edinburgh Art Festival website.

Irene Brown

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