Taking the arts out into the community can show young people that creativity can be an opportunity for confidence and positivity

Sarah Balfour: Turning a crisis into drama – how an arts centre set me on a new path

I first bit Macrobert’s hand off approximately nine years ago. At school I was given a taste of how liberating drama could be. In a way it was the proverbial lifeboat in a raging sea of awkwardness. I was still me, yet, amazingly, I found that I could articulate. I could be ­anything and anyone. Give me a script or a scenario and I could be someone confident and bubbly who could act and dance and si... – well actually no, still couldn’t sing. One step at a time, right?

Detail from Freezing Over by Donald Provan, at the Open Eye Gallery

Art reviews: Marian Leven & Donald Provan, Open Eye Gallery, Edinburgh

Based in Tayport and a graduate of Gray’s School of Art in Aberdeen, Marian Leven could perhaps be described as an east coast artist, but the paintings on show at the Open Eye were inspired by an area of coast in the north-west of Scotland. She has made a beautiful exhibition out of the analogy between watercolour – the way it moves and its transparency – and actual water, of light on water, of the waves and the tide over the shore, but also of the atmosphere where water is suspended as vapour in the air.

Work by Amy Truscott at the RSA New Contemporaries show PIC: Julie Howden

Art review: RSA New Contemporaries 2019, Royal Scottish Academy, Edinburgh

Every year I look forward to the RSA New Contemporaries. It always fizzes with energy. Here are the young showing us how, while the so-called grown-ups drag us through the grisly farce of Brexit. Nor does this year disappoint. There are 63 new graduates including a small group of architects. The show is on both floors of the RSA and so there is room for them each to have their own bit of wall or floor. Thus their work is not scattered and they can spread themselves out a little. One or two individual works have been in the recent group shows, but here the artists, among their peers, have a better chance to make a statement.

Detail from Way of Life by Whitney McVeigh PIC: Keith Hunter.

Kirsty Gunn: How the new Whitney McVeigh exhibition at Mount Stuart shows us the “other” half of human experience

We think of an archive and we think of a room somewhere, closed off from the light of day and stacked top to bottom with papers and files and computers. Politics, History, Economics… these are the kinds of subject areas that fill most archives in most places, representing a past that, on the whole, was dominated by men, in a world that went about its business as though women had little to do with it.

A suit of samurai armour' in the Exploring East Asia gallery at the National Museum of Scotland

Art review: Exploring East Asia, Ancient Egypt Rediscovered and The Art of Ceramics, National Museum of Scotland, Edinburgh

The National Museum of Scotland began life in 1866. Opened by Prince Albert, it was called the Industrial Museum of Scotland and was a product of the same drive, led by the Prince, that gave us the V&A and the other South Kensington museums, all conceived as engines of economically useful, popular education. Enlarging on the same Victorian purpose, the Museum then changed its name to the Edinburgh Museum of Science and Art. In 1904 it changed its name again, but not really its purpose or character, to become the Royal Scottish Museum. In 1985 however, a development began that has, since then, changed it profoundly. The Royal Scottish Museum, as it then still was, absorbed the National Museum of Antiquities, the collection of the Society of Scottish Antiquities that had been started two centuries earlier. This accession in turn eventually prompted the wholly new building of the Museum of Scotland, joined onto the western end of the old building and opened in 1998. Then finally in 2004, a project was launched to reorganise the original Victorian building and completely transform all the displays. The first step was to create a new entrance at street-level and indeed the new ground floor onto which it opens. Much else has happened since as this radical process of renewal was taken up through the building’s many layers and spaces.

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