Established six years ago, in 2011, LeithLate curates a programme that highlights the creative aspects of this part of Edinburgh, livening up the city for a long weekend.
LeithLate kicks off soon, 15th -18th June, and producer Morvern Cunningham spoke to The Fountain about what inspired this festival, what ‘Leithers’ can look forward to in the next few weeks and her love to party.
TF: What is LeithLate?
LeithLate is a multi-arts festival that takes place across multiple venues in the Leith area. We specialise in presenting art in unusual places, outside of a gallery context. This year our venues include a hidden wine vault under the Kirkgate, a former Police Box and a laundrette. LeithLate is also responsible for public art initiatives such as The Mural Project, our most recent mural was installed in Pilrig Park by the Too Much Fun Club in the last month.
TF: How long has it been running for now? It certainly livens up Leith for the weekend it runs.
LeithLate is now in its seventh year, and has been going from strength to strength each year. It began as a one-night art crawl up and down Leith Walk, and has now grown into a four-day festival with the art crawl kicking off our opening night. We estimate that 2000+ attend the opening night alone.
TF: What inspired the organisation and brought about the festival?
The festival originated as a celebration of the grassroots art spaces in Leith back in 2011. I wanted to showcase the type of varied cultural experience that Leith offered, but to amplify it by having multiple events all taking place at the same time. As most great things, the idea for LeithLate was born in the pub. Everyone thought it was worth doing, so we did it.
TF: What is your personal background Morvern? What was it about LeithLate that made you get involved?
I have a background in the arts sector, particularly in film, having worked at Filmhouse for many years after I graduated. The motivation behind LeithLate was to put on the type of event I would like to attend myself, a variety of arts and culture, with a big party at the end of it!
TF: 2017 looks like another great LeithLate. What have you got in store for Leithers this year? What are your personal highlights of the programme?
This year’s event is bigger and better than ever! Opening night kicks off with arts activity taking place across 26 different venues, immediately followed by our now-traditional afterparty, this year curated by Lost Map records and headlined by Kid Canaveral. We also have a number of new strands to our programme and a whole host of new venues across the festival.
We’re excited to be presenting new work by the recipient of the inaugural ‘LeithLate Award’ at the RSA New Contemporaries exhibition, video artist Clara Hastrup in the Trinity House vaults. The space is really exciting and I don’t think a lot of people even know its there! I’m also delighted to be working with curator Holly Knox Yeoman on her exhibition Sunset Strip Carrot Dangle, which engages with the theme of precarity in relation to the regeneration of Leith. The exhibition will take place in the under-threat Scots Sikh social enterprise Punjabi Junction and include work by Stephanie Mann and a performance on opening night by David Sherry. Audience members are also encouraged to donate food items to be collected over the duration of the festival, making a haphazard installation destined for North East Edinburgh Food Bank.
I’m also really excited by the film screening on gentrification we’re presenting with Leith Creative and Leith Community Cinema on the Friday afternoon of the festival. Screening are a number of Leith-based short films followed by feature film, A Moving Image, which looks at the role of artists in the gentrification process in Brixton. And of course, the Leith Heritage Open Day on the Sunday complete with walking tours, and last but not least, all the parties!
If you too are excited by this programme you can find out more about LeithLate here.