Founded in 2004, Edinburgh Art Festival is Scotland’s largest annual celebration of visual art. Attracting over 250,000 visits each year, the Festival brings together galleries, museums and artist-run spaces, alongside public art commissions and an innovative programme of special events. During July and August, Central Station is going to publish a series of blogs taking a closer look at what’s happening this year.


Our programme of public art commissions for this year’s Edinburgh Art Festival is titled Parley, exploring both art that depends on dialogue for its realization and art’s capacity to create dialogue.

Opening with Ross Sinclair and company pondering the role of the artist and closing with a discussion of contemporary Scottish national identity, Parley events also traverse a puppet play, performances and ‘in-conversation’ pieces by our 2013 commissioned artists. We’re discussing them already!

Parley events are bookable on and are all free with the exception of the Wind Pipes for Edinburgh concerts. Spaces are limited.

Here are just some of the highlights.

Ross Sinclair’s Parley Discussion

Parley Discussion: Real Life Parledonia (curated by Ross Sinclair)
2 August, 2-5pm

Artist Ross Sinclair adopts the role of ring master to direct a loose array of speakers, performers and artists, in debating questions such as: ‘what is Parley? And what is Caledonia? And how might they come together locally, nationally and internationally? What is the job description of ‘artists’ in a small damp Northern European country in 2013? What is a ‘creative life’ and how can the idea be articulated by ourselves and others at this particularly complicated moment in time?’.

Parley for Power

Parley for Power
2 August, 5:30-6pm

Based in a world where cats and dogs engage in wild debate over issues of identity and independence. A vote will determine whether they rid themselves of the moniker of ‘pet’ and all associated ties to their petitude.

Parley for Power is a short play written for the festival by poet Michael Pedersen (Neu! Reekie!) and award-winning playwright/novelist Alan Bissett.

Parley: Katri Walker in conversation with Noe Mendelle
6 August, 6-7pm

Katri Walker will be in conversation with Noe Mendelle, an internationally renowned documentary maker and Director of the Scottish Documentary Institute.

Collins and Goto Hot Air Parley

Parley Discussion: Is all this hot air worth it?
10 August, 1:30-4pm

Artistic activity produces tonnes of CO2 – particularly the international movement of artists, artworks and audiences. What responsibility do artists and arts organisations have to use the form, content and framing of their work to address climate change? With a provocation from the artists Collins & Goto, Creative Carbon Scotland’s discussion invites contributions from across the arts.

Parley: Peter Liversidge and Brigadier David Allfrey MBE
13 August, 1-2pm

Peter Liversidge will be in conversation with Brigadier David Allfrey MBE, producer of The Royal Edinburgh Military Tattoo.

Parley: Robert Montgomery in conversation
13 August, 6-7pm

Robert Montgomery’s conversation partner will be announced shortly.

Complaints Cloud Gate 496

Parley: Daniel Padden and Peter Nicholson (The Complaints Choir) in conversation with Katie Overy
20 August, 7-8pm

We’ve just announced on our website that Daniel Padden and Peter Nicholson of The Complaints Choir of Edinburgh will be in conversation with Katie Overy, Senior Lecturer in Music Psychology at the University of Edinburgh. The Complaints Choir invites people to come together to share their complaints, and sing them out loud.

This is one of a series of events every Tuesday during the festival where our commissioned artists are engaged in conversation with specialists from other disciplines that provide a counter-point to the artist’s practice and interests.

Parley: Krijn de Koning in conversation with Edward Hollis
27 August, 6-7pm

Krijn de Koning will be in conversation with Edward Hollis, author of ‘The Secret Lives of Buildings’ and ‘The Memory Palace: A Book of Lost Interiors’.

Lion Unicorn by Rachel Maclean

Parley Discussion: Tae Think Again, Rethinking Identity in Contemporary Scotland (curated by Rachel Maclean)
31 August, 2-5pm

Responding to the upcoming 2014 referendum on Scottish Independence, this symposium curated by artist Rachel Maclean intends to delve deeper than a simple yes/no debate and look at the broader social, cultural and historical background to a discussion of contemporary Scottish national identity.

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