Edinburgh Sculpture Workshop Re-introduction of Activity

Updated 24 November 2020.

Edinburgh Sculpture Workshop is re-introducing activity step by step and it has been fantastic to see so many Members using the Workshops and Workspaces on a solo basis using our online booking system. During the government’s continued guidelines designed to limit the spread of COVID-19 we have paused any one to one inductions, which we had trialled during the preceding few weeks as they are complex to deliver in a socially distanced way and provide a high quality of experience.

If you have already been inducted its possible to book a solo Workshop or Workspace through our online booking system. In order to safely manage people within the building and for the team to be able to cover all the duties which they have in the course of a day, it’s really important that you arrive and leave at the correct times. A team member will be present to let you into the building at the start of your session time and check sign out and receive any equipment or fobs issues in the last 15 minutes of your session.

If you are interested in joining as a new Member it is still possible to get this process underway and staff will guide you in terms of the timeline for arranging Membership. If you join as a Member you have access to our monthly Members Opportunities Newsletter, Members Opportunities which we launch as open calls and Member organised events like Open Forum rapid fire talks which happen online.

We are pleased to be able to offer bookings of Workshops and Workspaces Tuesday – Saturday. Sometimes you will find certain areas are not available in the booking system and this is because they are either already booked by other Members, are being used for managed group activities, or are not available for a technical reason.

If you are near ESW please catch Gallery Malmo’s exhibition in the street view Hawthornvale Space which finishes at the end of November and they are doing a free online talk on 26 November 2020.

You can also see other news and activity through the links on our website featuring:

If all continues as forecast we will be able to facilitate:

  • Access to Workshops and Workspaces on a solo basis.
  • Access to Studios on a solo basis.
  • On site research and development for our programme of residencies and commissions continuing in November and December.
  • Pilot of one outdoor course and trial of other tutoring options, although this is only able to take place under very particular circumstances including small numbers, strict social distancing and cleaning, rigorous supervision, and segmentation of access.
  • Work with partner organisations for use of our outdoor spaces in November and December, again under very particular circumstances.

We feel hopeful that there are many elements of ESW’s activities that can resume over time and are committed to creating an excellent experience for people visiting. We are monitoring the information available and our own learning as a team and community on a day to day basis and will continue to take into account:

  • Government instructions.
  • Specific sectoral guidance for cultural organisations.
  • The ability for ESW to function well under new arrangements and remain strong as an organisation for everyone.
  • Fluctuations in the pandemic situation and challenges that we encounter at ESW.

We have a complex mix of activities under one roof and will also be taking into account those which are most urgent for members and others to access as well as the specific practicalities for each type of access.


If you are in one of the groups who can now access ESW please read our Access Manual and Check List Flowchart before coming to the building.

in order to give people the most confidence about coming to ESW we have segmented the building into three and we have created these visual guides which describe the process to follow for visiting each segment.

Please read these before coming and they are designed to be easily read as a download on your phone or for you to take a photo of to refer to.




We also have an Access Manual for Studio and Project Space Holders which has more detail about using the building. We would also appreciate if you could read the Scottish Governments Guidelines for Studios and Shared Workspaces, especially the two checklists, one for Studio Providers and one for Studio Holders which lays out how we can work on what’s needed together.

Please also have a look at the Protect.scot website and app as this is a mechanism to keep us all informed and aware including connecting to contact tracing.

Thanks to everyone who has kept in touch with us during the lockdown and who has volunteered to be part of the working group for restarting activity, please contact laura@edinburghsculpture.org with any questions and offers of help.

ESW in lockdown

We are continuing to share useful information for our members through social media and the Members Opportunities Newsletter which has information about support measures and open calls. Look out for our Monday Member and Moving Sculpture series online.

Residency plans have been adapted with our international partners and we hope to host artists already selected for the programme from around the UK in the last months of 2020 and from Lithuania, Japan and Germany in 2021.

We look forward to coming back to vibrant activity at ESW including a major public commission with Ashanti Harris and residencies for Gediminas G. Akstinas and Ivana Pavlíčková. We also hosted Wiyoga Muhardato on an extended residency at ESW until it was safe for him to travel home to Indonesia in late June.

The pandemic has amplified the social issues which were of most concern within our local and cultural community and we are further motivated to work with participants, artists and partners to refocus on those social, economic and equality discrepancies as we return to facilitating for art and exchange to happen at ESW. Key parters in this work are Multi Cultural Family Base, Artlink, local schools and a new partnership with The Rock Trust. In the section below you can find information about north Edinburgh response to COVID-19.

We are also taking further steps as a team to deal with the overall situation including adapting our working patterns. Most staff have completely left furlough at this stage but we are working from home where it is possible, have separate workspaces and have reconfigured the way we have interactions to give the most effective experience to people contacting us – email is the most efficient way to be in touch as this works for staff members working from home or occupied with non-desk activity in the workshops.

Please keep in touch with us as we plan for the future, by directing any enquiries to our normal office email or to laura@edinburghsculpture.org

Further information

  • Following the government guidance around COVID-19, Edinburgh Sculpture Workshop closed to the public temporarily from 18 March 2020.
  • If you have booked for a course we have contacted everyone individually. Thanks to everyone who had confirmed that they either would like to retain their booking or have a refund. If this correspondence hasn’t got through to you, please contact our main office email. We have not concluded all the administration around courses, including refunding the majority as we feel it’s not likely that we could deliver them safely in the next couple of months. We look forward to hosting you in different ways in the future. It’s still useful for us to hear from you about particular skills you are keen to gain access to so please keep in touch.
  • If you have a Gift Voucher or Session Voucher which expires during this closure we will be pleased to extend this and can do this the next time you come into ESW when we re-open. We have an integrated way to create an online code to use with the booking system now, get in touch with any questions, especially if you have sessions remaining on your paper Session Card or Session Voucher.
  • Cafe MILK is open for take away, with tables on the terrace and some tables inside. Please also check out their MILK DELIVERS service.
  • We will continue our ESW Member communications during this time as we realise it’s even more important to be able to share opportunities and supportive information. You can join as a member here.
  • We are not operating a standard reception service as yet but you can contact staff through normal channels including leaving phone messages for us to pick up. You will understand that we are all working different times and juggling other responsibilities so it might take us longer to respond. In addition team members are only working two days per week in August and their time will be focused on moving through the step by step process we have laid out.
  • You can link to our social media channels through the boxes at the base of this page, where there’s also a way to sign up to our free mailing list.
  • We are in touch with ESW Studio and Project Space Holders with additional information separately.
  • Further resources:
  • https://www.creativescotland.com/
  • https://www.edinburgh.gov.uk/coronavirus including ‘Can you help?’ section about how to volunteer.
  • https://www.a-n.co.uk/news/coronavirus-covid-19-information-and-guidance-for-artists-and-arts-organisers/


There is a large community effort in the North East of Edinburgh, within Newhaven where ESW is based and the surrounding areas. You can read the community activity bulletin, which is prepared by Elaine Lennon, here… It includes links to NHS Lothian, Edinburgh City Council, the Scottish Government’s Ready Scotland website, opportunities to help, links to local organisations, a very extensive online list of activities ideas, for adults and children, and a list of emergency contacts.

Please email elaine.lennon@edinburgh.gov.uk if you have any community news to share. More info about submitting is near the end of the document.


You can support the work of ESW and artists through one-off donations, or by becoming a Member.

Edinburgh Sculpture Workshop is grateful for the support it receives from Creative Scotland, Culture Edinburgh – Edinburgh City Council and its other project funders.