Issue 218
September/October 2021


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Sep 27, 2021

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ArtWork Newspaper Issue 217
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Conquest of space – to work in


EDINBURGH PRINTMAKERS have for some time now been working with landlords across Scotland to secure creative spaces in central locations in towns and cities.

This national network of spaces (EP Spaces) for artists and arts related projects utilises otherwise neglected buildings such as disused shops, offices and other retail units.

The result is that these properties are brought back to life, creating a lively buzz of activity as opposed to the dull kind of environment these neglected buildings tend to engender.

The ethos of the EP Spaces scheme is to provide affordable, low-cost good quality spaces in central locations – and they do just what it says on the tin – at the very manageable cost of £50 per month for an administration fee, plus £10 per year for EP Spaces individual membership fee.

The tenant also has to provide their own Public Liability Insurance but this can be bought at a fairly reasonable price (at around approximately £40 - £100 per year).

These costs constitute a huge leg-up to individuals and groups who operate on a small budget, it is also a support to those working on a voluntary basis. It has the effect of encouraging creatives who would otherwise struggle to meet the high costs often involved and another knock-on effect is that it helps to democratise the arts, something which is crucial to a thriving creative environment.

So far EP Spaces have properties operating in Aberdeen, Dundee, Grangemouth, Falkirk, Lanarkshire, Kilmarnock and Paisley. And now, I am pleased to report a property filled with all kinds of creative people is due to be open soon in Livingston.

This is a great opportunity for West Lothian to grow and nurture an arts environment it has hitherto lacked. The new creative hub is located in Almondvale Business Park in the centre of the town, the building is a fairly new three-storey office block (developed in 2001) called Barbara Ritchie House.

The interior of the building houses several office spaces with storage, spacious open-plan areas and areas with sinks and worktops. It sits on 1.7 acres of land complete with car parking facilities. The building was previously occupied by HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC), who moved their main office to Edinburgh in 2020.

EP Spaces assistant Georgina Beard is positive about their latest acquisition in West Lothian, she states: “We are so delighted to have a new space in Livingston that can help provide a home for artists to be creative in”.

There seems no doubt that Livingston wil benefit from the arrival of EP Spaces. They certainly deserve a word of thanks for what they do. Long may it continue!

CATHY BELL


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