The Artists' Trail: Leith Late 2012

Leith Late is back on 28 June, uniting the creative spaces of Leith for a one-night-only festival of the arts. We spoke to some of the folk involved to get an idea of what treats lie in store

Feature by Rosamund West | 30 May 2012
  • Leith Late Map

We were first introduced to Leith Late last year, with shops, galleries and bars up and down the top half of Leith Walk organising events and opening their doors to the public late into the evening. The night drew together some of Leith’s many creative spaces, to showcase the art and music that is already being made there, and to attract outsiders to come and sample the heady delights of an area formerly defined by Trainspotting, now increasingly known for its wide array of arts and music studios, venues and practitioners. Last year’s event was a huge success, with crowds meandering between galleries, gigs and bars, all culminating in a sell-out gig in Pilrig Church.

On 28 June, Leith Late returns, more expansive than last year, with added venues (bringing the total up to 16), taking in more of the Walk, and a three-hour time span ending in an afterparty in Henderson Halls headlined by Remember Remember. New developments this year include the launch of a shutter project in which a local artist will be commissioned each month to create a permanent or semi-permanent artwork on the shutter of a Leith business. The scheme kicks off with Jamie Johnson redecorating the doors of Games Master at 187 Leith Walk. 

Event programmer Morvern Cunningham has been developing this year's project for several months, keen to make sure 2012 is even bigger and better than 2011. "There are a few exciting developments this year, including three site-specific exhibitions in three local businesses that include a tailor's, a barber, and a fitness studio, a mobile venue in the shape of a 'white-van gallery' moving between some of the places on the map, and the launch of the shutter-art project in collaboration with iloveleith, a City of Edinburgh Council initiative. So there's a lot going on! I haven't mucked around with the format of the event this time round, apart from making it longer, but next year, who knows?"

At the top of the Walk, and a possible start point for most routes, lies Superclub. Resident and founder Ross Christie provides a bit of background for the uninititated: “We’ve been open as a studio space since October 2010 – we started off with about six resident artists and now we have seventeen. We’ve put on lots of exhibitions, events, gigs, zine launches, screenings – all sorts of things. We’re really focussed on providing a supporting platform for emerging artists in Scotland and engaging international contributors as well.”

For Leith Late, Superclub are opening their doors to the public with an open studios evening, as well as the last night of their Creative Services of Hugo de Verteuil and Ian Rothwell exhibition (which opens on 2 June). “We felt it was a good time to open them up and let the artists exhibit their work to people from outside. Some people are going to have their studios as working spaces as they normally are, and some are going to take down their equipment and put up their artwork. So it should be quite a diverse, interesting show."

What makes being part of the night particularly exciting for creative ventures is the mix of venues that get involved. Says Christie, "I think Leith Late’s really good at bringing everyone together, not just art spaces but shops and businesses as well, which is really important. It’s really good to be a part of that.”

Next door, Kevin Harman is showing in Whitespace, but wasn’t ready to divulge his plans at the time of going to print. “It’s a one night event so I think it can be quite experimental. I think that’s a good avenue to go down – one night only, carnage. A high energy, high-octane sort of thing. I’ll probably incorporate some sort of live aspect to it. There are a couple of things that I wouldn’t mind messing around with – it’ll be a good opportunity to put something that isn’t quite resolved yet on display.  There’s a couple of [new works] that I can’t quite get my heid round at the minute so it would be quite nice to open it up to discussion on the night.”

Halfway down the Walk, in Word of Mouth café, will be a night of film and spoken word, courtesy of Inky Fingers. Rachel McCrum, one of the organisers of Inky’s, gave us a wee taster of what to expect. “Inky’s has been running for two years in Edinburgh. We're a collective who get together and organise poetry and spoken word events. For this we’re presenting an evening with Lowdef Films. The plan is for that to be quite a chilled bit of the evening because with Leith Late there are so many venues, and so much wandering around seeing stuff, so we’re providing a sort of pit stop – sit down, have some cake, have some tea and coffee and refuel a bit, watch some films, hear some stories and poems. We’re going to intersperse eight performers with showings of Lowdef films, which are described as sort of pixelated and scratchy and low-definition films."

You can use the handy map below to help navigate your way between all the projects. Plan your route wisely though – as Rachel warns, "That trail is such fun for an evening. Three hours is ambitious to get round it all though!”


1 Whitespace Gallery, 11 Gayfield Square: Kevin Harman, new work

2 Superclub, 11a Gayfield Square: Open Studios 

3 Windsor Buffet, 45 Elm Row: Live music showcase featuring Boy Up A Tree 

4 The Old Ambulance Depot, 77 Brunswick Street: The Making of It, work by Joseph Calleja, Martin Campbell, Irfan Donmez, Deniz Guvensoy, Dominik Lipp, Scott McCracken, Eilidh McPherson, Roz McKenzie, Nikos Mantzios, Allan J. Robertson, Andrew Smith, and Augustus Veinoglou. 

5 Word of Mouth Café, 3A Albert Street: Inky Fingers & Lowedef films hosted by Rachel McCrum and Paul Maguire 

6 Brass Monkey Leith, 362 Leith Walk: Superclub exhibition + Black Diamond Express acoustic set

7 Elvis Shakespeare, 347 Leith Walk: Exhibition of Leith-based artists, plus the showcase of a new collection by JRF Rouge Milliner, interspersed by live performances from The Last Battle, Blueflint and Edinburgh School for the Deaf 

8 Rhubaba Gallery and Studios, 25 Arthur Street: Its Hard to Find a Good Lamp, featuring Jennifer Bailey, Emily Fogarty, Sadie Murdoch, Method Furniture, Alex Pollard and Oliver Smith

9 The Out of the Blue Drill Hall, 36 Dalmeny Street: QMU Art Therapy final year graduate exhibition, plus a night of ping pong shenanigans with special guest DJ

10 Victoria, 265 Leith Walk: Open exhibition plus music from Piece of Cake. 

11 Boda, 229 Leith Walk: Exhibition by Steven Collier, plus music from folk duo Julias’ Daughters and Blues n’ Two’s

12 Silverhub Studios, 130/7 Leith Walk: Residents' exhibition plus acoustic set from Proclaimers’ favourites Blueflint.

13 Leith Circle of Friends, 115 Leith Walk: Live music from rapper Zeba, singer-songwriter Jennifer Davidson, and live African music performance.


At various locations, Leith Walk: A white van gallery, showing unseen video work by emerging Edinburgh artists courtesy of the AND AND collective


B Oscar’s Alterations, 371 Leith Walk: Katie Orton’s latest work with clothing, associated with the Dressing for Facebook project

C Leith Walk Barber’s Salon, 280 Leith Walk: Male portraits by photographer Ross Fraser McLean 

D Griffen Fitness Studio, 3 Balfour Street: Photographer Eoin Carey’s Feet Up


E Games Master, 287-291 Leith Walk


X Henderson Halls, 6 Henderson Street: 9pm-midnight, Zed Penguin, Mars 2030, Paul Vickers and The Leg and Remember Remember. A licensed bar will be available. Entrance is £6; all proceeds go directly into making this event happen and to ensure its return in years to come.