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“Where Will the Flight Take Us”: Local School Children Inspire Art Installation in Edinburgh

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This February the Causey Development Trust (CDT) will host a one-off event and community art installation inspired by local school children that will see artworks animated and projected across the historic buildings of South Edinburgh.

Taking place on Tuesday 28 February the event is the culmination of a community art project carried out by CDT steering group members Kate Leiper (artist and illustrator) and Robert Motyka (projection artist) in conjunction with Preston Street Primary School, and the event, which is free and suitable of all ages, is in collaboration with Southside Community Centre.

‘Where will the Flight take Us’ will take place from 7.30pm at The Causey, an area at the junction of West Crosscauseway and Chapel Street which, thanks to years of campaigning and grassroots engagement, CDT hope will soon be transformed into a place that makes walking and cycling easier, prioritise people over vehicles, and allows for the creation of a new communal space.

Kate and Robert, who both enjoy weekly for ‘sit oots’ at The Causey, worked with teachers at the local primary, located a stone’s throw from where they meet, to harness the creativity and imagination of P7 pupils, tying into and building on their creative writing coursework.

Inspired by the meaning of birds, both real and imaginary – what they can tell us about ourselves, the environment, community, migration, climate collapse – Preston Street Primary School children worked with their teachers and Kate to put their ideas onto paper, both in the form of words and drawings, and it is these images, collated by Kate and digitised by Robert, that will appear brightly strewn across the Casey on 28 February accompanied by a specially created soundscape.

Budding P7 artists from Preston Street Primary School and internationally renowned illustrator Kate Leiper, preparing their artwork for the Causey Development Trust outside animated projection event on Tuesday 28th Feb on West Crosscauseway from 7.30pm. Photograph by Peter Dibdin.

“It was an absolute pleasure and honour to work with these young people and I hope that by taking part and contributing each child had a sense of being appreciated. I also hope that when they see their work projected on the walls and buildings that comprise their own neighbourhood – with the community, their family and friends gathered to see it –that each and every one of them feel celebrated. The past few years have been tough, obviously with Covid and lockdown, and it’s our hope that the children would feel that they are being embraced by their community and that the project will leave a lasting memory to be treasured.”

Kate Leiper, local artist, illustrator and steering group member

“We really wanted to undertake a project that involved the whole community – from myself and Kate who live and work locally, to school children from Preston Street Primary – while also drawing attention to our work around pedestrianizing The Causey and transforming it from an unused traffic island into an attractive space for all.

Robert Motyka, a local resident and steering group member

After years of consultation and campaigning The Causey Development Trust confirmed in 2022 that a Traffic Regulation Order (TRO) and Roads Determination Order (RDO) promoted by City of Edinburgh Council had been confirmed. This means at the junction of West Crosscauseway and Chapel Street the traffic flow will be reversed and parking bays removed to make walking and cycling easier and prioritise people over vehicles, whilst also allowing for the creation of a new communal space.

A grassroots organisation founded in 2007 by local architect the late Alison Blamire, The Causey Development Trust is run by volunteers and you can find them on a Saturday on the traffic island at The Causey for their weekly ‘sit oots’ and planter caring sessions.

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