Virtual gallery showing green future of Edinburgh spaces announces dates


AS PART of this year’s Edinburgh Science Festival, a society will be showcasing their art which will show what they hope to be a greener future.

The British Ecological Society (BES), in collaboration with SMASH-UK, will be presenting the virtual gallery of art created by local artists and ecologists.

The free event, running from the 26 June to 11 July 2021 will transport visitors to a 3D virtual gallery overlooking Arthur’s Seat, displaying visions for Edinburgh’s future green spaces.

art - Nature News Scotland
Photo by Edinburgh Ecological Society. Exhibition artworks include a vision of Leith defending against sea level rises and extreme rain events.

Local artists have collaborated with ecologists from Scottish Wildlife Trust, the City of Edinburgh Council, Nature Scot, Architecture & Design Scotland, Forest Research, and Bangor University to imagine a greener future for Edinburgh.

The display will demonstrate how problems like carbon emissions, flooding, heatwaves, and even social justice can be tackled with nature-based solutions in our most familiar greens spaces.

Visitors to the digital exhibition will also be able to contribute their own ideas for future green spaces, which will be displayed alongside the artwork in the gallery.

Dr Chris Jeffs, Senior Education & Engagement Officer at the British Ecological Society and curator of the exhibition said: “This cutting-edge exhibition is the first-time local artists and ecologists have been brought together to envisage the future of Edinburgh’s green spaces.

“It offers a way for the residents of Edinburgh and beyond to have their say on how green spaces should look like in future, and how they can tackle environmental challenges in their local area.

Art - Nature News Scotland
Photo by Edinburgh Ecological Society. The public’s visions will also inform the Council’s plans for the future of Edinburgh’s green spaces. 

“Ecologists are on the front lines in our battle against climate change, and nature-based solutions in our green spaces, like those depicted in the exhibition, offer enormous hope.

“We want everyone to understand the climate crisis and the role ecology and nature-based solutions can play in a greener, sustainable future.”

On the interactive element of the exhibition, where visitors can contribute their own ideas, Chris Jeffs said: “It’s important that we give people a voice in shaping their green future, so we are delighted to be working with the Scottish Wildlife Trust and the City of Edinburgh Council, giving all our exhibition visitors the chance to share their ‘visions of future green spaces’ directly with the council to help them in their ‘Thriving Green Spaces’ project.”

Donya Davidson, Ecologist and Project Development Officer at Scottish Wildlife Trust for the ‘Thriving Green Spaces Project’ in Edinburgh’ said: “Working with local artists has been incredible.

Leith on Sea - Nature News Scotland
Photo by Sam Wilson and British Ecological Society. The artwork was created by local artists and ecologists.

“I think communicating through the medium of art is a really impactful way to demonstrate the work we are doing as ecologists.

“This exhibition has opened my eyes to how beneficial and exciting it can be to collaborate with artists and those outside of the environmental sector.

“Our work at the Scottish Wildlife Trust with the City of Edinburgh Council has shown that our existing green spaces already provide so many benefits to both people and wildlife and the right interventions in the right places can improve even more areas to provide these benefits.

“The artwork I collaborated on, Leith Walk on the Wild Side, shows Leith Walk, but not as people know it now!

“It is thriving with wildlife and residents are out enjoying all the new greenspace they now have on their doorsteps.

“The nationally scarce northern brown argus butterfly, previously only found in Holyrood Park, now moves freely down the street from planter to planter.

“Although it is an aspirational vision, I hope it is something we can see in the not-so-distant future, for a connected, biodiverse and sustainable Edinburgh.”