Mary & Elizabeth in Princes Street Gardens

Princes Street Gardens. Image by Bernt Rostad (http://bit.ly/princesstreetgardens), used under a Creative Commons license.

Princes Street Gardens. Image by Bernt Rostad (bit.ly/princesstreetgardens), used under a Creative Commons license.

Last night was the opening of the 2014 Edinburgh Art Festival, marked by a welcome dinner for participating artists from across the Commonwealth at the National Galleries of Scotland on the Mound.

As a prelude to the dinner, guests were invited to engage with Jacqueline Donachie’s intriguing installation ‘Mary and Elizabeth’ in Princes Street Gardens. Continue reading

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Hospitalfield

Francis Mckee

Hospitalfield. Image by Francis Mckee (bit.ly/francismckee) used under a Creative Commons license

Yesterday I visited Hospitalfield and enjoyed the hospitality of its enlightened and energetic Director, Lucy Byatt. The historic house in Arbroath was originally founded in the 13th Century, and has been altered and changed by many of its occupants since then. In particular, by Patrick Allan-Fraser, and the family he married into. Continue reading

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Athena SWAN

St Aidan's College

St Aidan’s College, image by John Phillips, used under a Creative Commons license

I was at Saint Aidan’s College at Durham University yesterday to receive an Athena SWAN bronze award on behalf of colleagues in the Edinburgh School of Architecture and Landscape Architecture (ESALA) at Edinburgh College of Art (ECA). The Equality Challenge Unit’s Athena SWAN Charter Awards recognize institutional commitment to advancing women’s careers in science, technology, engineering, mathematics and medicine (STEMM) employment in higher education and research. Continue reading

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Scottish Colourists and Miss Jean Brodie

People and Sails by JD Fergusson. Artwork in the public domain.

“People and Sails” by JD Fergusson. Artwork in the public domain.

I read two interesting articles in this weekend’s newspapers: in the Financial Times there was a review of the exhibition of JD Fergusson’s paintings at Chichester’s fantastic Pallant House Gallery, and in the Guardian there was a recollection by Penelope Jardine of her life in Italy with novelist Muriel Spark, written to coincide with a new collection of essays by Spark (The Golden Fleece), edited by Jardine. Reading these in tandem, in an Edinburgh made even more beautiful than usual by uncharacteristic unbroken sunshine, brought home to me the very particular character of a city that I have only called home for three years, but which is increasingly opening up its reticent personality to me in the manner of a slowly developing friendship. Continue reading

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Alexander McQueen

Alexander McQueen

Image by Damian Cugley, used under a Creative Commons license

Once semester is over and the usual tide of emails and meetings subsides, I am able to focus for a while on some writing. Continue reading

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