Not just singing in the rain…

A week later, it is still hard to believe that last Saturday’s event in the Botanics was such a wonderful experience for audience and performers alike. If the morning forecast was bad the evening weather was much worse. This was no midsummer magic. Yet people queued patiently in the downpour to get into the Temperate Palmhouse for the opening improvisation between FOUND, Shanghai Jazz and Korphai, and then out again (maybe a little reluctantly) to follow a watery trail to the Chinese Hillside. Continue reading “Not just singing in the rain…”

Poetry and Politics in June


Natural Progression: 600 pieces of black bamboo set the scene for dance in the Botanics on midsummer night.

Poetry, politics and planting: we can look forward to a long hot summer, if events in this month’s newsletter are anything to go by. Get involved in environment politics through our Leith Open Space Opening Doors shadow scheme, and learn about an inspiring intercultural summer school. Don’t miss Dialogues of Wind and Bamboo midsummer’s event in the Botanics, look out for Poet’s Corner in Dalmeny Street, and watch Redbraes community garden grow. Come and help us plant some tatties in Persevere Garden on 21 June and relax in the Botanics on midsummer eve.

Midsummer magic: a life changing experience in the Botanics


Susie Brown puts finishing touches to 600 bamboo poles: her sculpture Natural Progression becomes a stage setting for dance in the Botanics on midsummer night.

There’s a serious theme rippling beneath the music but right now enjoy the sheer, mad fun of it all. Listen to robots playing Chinese instruments in the Palm House and watch Tai Chi dancers on the lawn while Bamboo percussionists from Thailand beat out a trail of discovery to the Chinese Hillside. Fay Young reports from behind the scenes… Continue reading “Midsummer magic: a life changing experience in the Botanics”

Cold but welcoming, a refugee’s view of Scotland

To celebrate National Refugee Week here is an extract from a poem by Sifiso from Zimbabwe, written during poetry workshops involving Scots, refugees and poets.


Scotland here I come –
To my surprise you are different
From what I have heard.
Cold but welcoming
Drunkards, racists, unemployed, yes,
But just like any other country… Continue reading “Cold but welcoming, a refugee’s view of Scotland”

Opening Doors to environmental action

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Francis Kahembwe meets Sarah Boyack MSP at the Scottish Parliament for the first of two days observing her work in environmental issues.

Welcome to Francis Kahembwe, the first person to take part in Opening Doors 2008, the Leith Open Space political ‘shadowing’ scheme. As Francis, a forestry expert from Uganda, is particularly interested in the politics of conservation and environmental management we began by introducing him to Sarah Boyack, Labour spokesman on the Environment and Rural Affairs in the Scottish Parliament. As luck had it we arrived the day of the Climate Change debate! Continue reading “Opening Doors to environmental action”

Redbraes wins the lottery


Community garden essentials: plants, enthusiastic volunteers and a nice mulch of money!

“The garden will become a focus for community social events but will also provide a quiet place for people to work, exercise or simply take some fresh air in beautiful surroundings.” Simon Daley, Community Beat Officer Continue reading “Redbraes wins the lottery”