Edinburgh Sculpture Workshop

— #6 Hawthornvale

Overview The Community Newhaven’s Two Railways Edinburgh Sculpture Workshop

World Class Centre

The building rising up into Hawthornvale from what used to be stables belonging to the Caledonian Railway Company is the Edinburgh Sculpture Workshop (or ESW as it is commonly known), a world class centre for production, research and learning which, over the last 20 years, has been supporting and guiding artists in their careers as well as providing a professional learning space with funding and opportunities.

It is a place in which artists and public users can access the tools, knowledge and mental and physical space which encourage them to experiment, test ideas and take creative risks.

The ESW supports artists by providing subsidised studios, open access to affordable workspaces and specialist facilities as well as training and development.  The organisation also commissions new work, supports development through a year-round programme of residencies and employs artists across all areas of activity.

Through its work with Victoria Primary School in Newhaven and Trinity Primary School which is located on Newhaven Road at the top of Hawthornvale, the workshop also allows children to explore different aspects of contemporary arts practice

Their programme of residencies, commissions and artist projects provides further support for artists working within Scotland and internationally.

© Copyright Richard Webb and licensed for reuse under this Creative Commons Licence.

Established in 1986 by artists to create space to make work, meet other practitioners and interact with the public, the Edinburgh Sculpture Workshop now focuses on production, research and education. In 1999 the group undertook a feasibility study into their future development and in 2008 secured £2.3 million from the Scottish Arts Council — now Creative Scotland — for an architect designed new building. Initially, in 1994 the ESW occupied a number of the former railway stables and outbuildings and turned them into workshops. 

Former old stables became places of creativity and enterprise Photo: Edinburgh Sculpture Workshop

Under the chairmanship of Bill Scott, a notable scuptor, dedicated teacher and mentor as a lecturer at Edinburgh College of Art, the ESW obtained a 125 year lease for the land gifted on a peppercorn rent by City of Edinburgh Council in 2003.  Bill Scott was both Chair of the Board of ESW and President of the Royal Scottish Academy at the time of his death in 2012, the year that the Sculpture Centre was opened. It was fitting, therefore, that the Centre was named in his honour.

Professor Bill Scott 1935-2012 Photo: ESW/ Jonathan Cosens

The Bill Scott Sculpture Centre houses 22 artists’ studios, two short term studios, two residency flats, a bookable project space, a multipurpose education space alongside metal and wood workshops, a kiln, exterior stone carving facilities, and general making space.  All the internal walls of the studios can be reconfigured as appropriate in the future. Non-studio holding members can access the workshops, which are open and staffed six days a week, paying for access by the day on top of an annual membership fee.

Cafe MILK is ESW’s latest addition. The cafe has seasonally crafted lunch and breakfast menus, house baked cakes, direct trade Brazilian coffee freshly roasted in Edinburgh, natural and organic wine and locally crafted beers. Now that you’ve got this far, why not drop in for a snack? Opening times —

Sutherland-Hussey-Harris of Leith were the appointed architects for the Bill Scott Centre Photo: ESW/SuHuHa