Spring Artist Development Programme 2021: Successful Artists


We have re-imagined Summerhall’s artist development programme in the light of the Covid-19 pandemic and associated public health restrictions.

This iteration of the programme comprises Labs, offering artists time, space and money to develop new work, and Space development weeks, offering artists in-kind space to develop new work. In total we awarded 3 Labs and 6 Space weeks in this 2020-1 edition of the programme. 

The programme is supported by Creative Scotland and BBC Arts.

Here are our chosen artists for Spring 2021, with their projects described in their own words:

Summerhall Lab

Risky Bodies – Emily and Cherrie Beaney

We (Emily and Cherrie Beaney) are a mother-daughter artist duo who have been working collaboratively since the beginning of the Covid-19 pandemic. Our practice explores themes of radical care, control and health, drawing upon our own lived experiences of long-term illness. 

Risky Bodies is an interdisciplinary collaboration which will examine the label of ‘vulnerable’ as an individual and collective identity during the Covid-19 pandemic. Through the lens of a mother-daughter collaboration, we will explore the intricacies and possibilities of vulnerability, namely, resistance to biomedical identities, risk and control, alongside privilege. We will seek to understand and represent shifting perceptions of the other, before finally seeking to understand how the acknowledgment of inherent vulnerability in all people, due to our bodies and our embodiment through others, can strengthen communities of care.

Summerhall Space

Pinlight – Jenny Laahs

PINLIGHT, a.k.a. hearing-impaired Edinburgh musician Jenny Laahs, will be heading into the Demonstration Room in July to work on creating some new material for her second album. Throughout lockdown, Jenny has been writing lots of new songs with her signature retrowave alt-pop sound, and collaborating with other songwriters online. After a year of remote working, Jenny is excited to have a space to bring her new material to life and collaborate with local musicians to prepare for recording and performance of her next PINLIGHT release, coming later in 2021.

Catherine Bisset, Rebecca Fairnie & Angela Milton

Catherine Bisset (Lead Artist), Rebecca Fairnie and Angela Milton: All of us came to acting later in life and met through the Actor’s Gym at Edinburgh Acting School. We were challenged as a team to apply for funding for a project and were lucky enough to receive it! From there we found a shared love of horror and inspired by our earlier project, looked at exploring the genre as a hybrid theatre-film production. We are developing a trilogy of interlinked stories and are delighted to be given the opportunity to use the wonderful atmosphere of the Anatomy Theatre. Combined with some outdoor spaces and a mysterious hidden door we found, we hope to explore stories filled with fun, fear and the occasional jump scare! You have been warned…

Sex Education Explorers (S.E.X) – Mamoru Iriguchi

I’m thrilled that Sex Education Xplorers (S.E.X.) has been selected as one of the Summerhall Space projects. S.E.X. is a performance piece for teenagers (12-15yrs) about gender and sexuality. The show, which we hope to present at Summerhall this August, will take the young audience on an evolutionary journey about sex to explore why we should celebrate our diverse gender identities and sexualities. I can’t wait to work on this project ‘in the flesh’ with the other artists, including Afton Moran (co-performer) and Lou Brodie (dramaturg), from our LGBTQIA+ community. 

Sadiq Ali & Vee Smith

Sadiq Ali and Vee Smith (Sadiq Sadiq and Vendetta Vain) will be using their time at Summerhall to explore concepts, characters and working methodologies that can be used to create queer circus performance for children and young people.  Having started a journey of discovery together they are interested in work that can be challenging and provocative even for younger audiences. Work that interests them will reflect the multitude of identities that exist in the world around us and enable younger audiences to see themselves in the ‘otherness’ of this duo’s performance style. Having worked together extensively Sadiq and Vee use techniques derived from performance art, circus and physical theatre. 

They are really excited to use their time with Summerhall to combine early stages of research and development with their circus apparatus’ – Chinese Pole, Aerial Trapeze, Aerial Rope and Hoop.