Place and Platform: Abi Lewis and Susannah Leake
Run by Abi Lewis and Susannah Leake, place+platform provides emerging creative talent a place in which to create and a platform to showcase their talents by hosting inventive and unique events to break down boundaries in the arts.
place+platform is a creative support hub for Edinburgh, aiming to do more than providing just a sterile place, but acting as a dynamic platform for creatives in the city. place+platform organises inventive and exciting cross-platform events to encourage a vast and varied experience of creative arts.
The idea started almost by accident following a casual chat about grassroots arts in the city and the lack of affordable and free spaces in which to exhibit work. place+platform was able to piggyback on the Edinburgh festival vibe by throwing its own event within the unusual surroundings of a junkshop on Leith walk after the offer of a temporary space for a one off exhibition.
Settlement Projects very generously invited place+platform to takeover the space for a weekend of events and showcase a solo exhibition of art within the existing shop surrounds. ‘Possessions weigh you down’ came from the idea of objects having a hold over people and how collecting things can take over a persons life. It seemed very fitting to exhibit work to this theme amidst the donated goods alongside what some might consider trash, and others would call treasure.
Paintings were hung on walls alongside pre existing art, a video performance that related to the theme was projected over music makers and a sculptural installation utilising goods donated by the artist and from within the shop was displayed within the large window.
The event featured art, live music, dj’s, video, performance and spoken word from a variety of creative types and thanks to a number of generous supporters was a real success. Over the weekend there was also a community engagement event ‘novel tea+toast’ which offered people passing by to take some time out of their day to sit and chitchat with the artist, have a bite of toast and a cup of tea or to read from a selection of books. After the successful opening the exhibition remained on show throughout the month of August.
Settlement Projects are very supportive of grassroots arts within Edinburgh and have continued to assist place+platform to organise further exhibitions such as ‘The line of best fit’ which featured 26 artists all responding to the theme and again took place within Settlement Projects.
Work was hung on lines that were suspended above the shop space and featured illustrators, film makers, photographers, painters and multi media artists. By inviting a variety of creatives to showcase their creativity through music, spoken word, dance and performance place+platform aims to create a fun atmosphere with a crossover of happenings that will appeal to everybody.
Most recently place+platform presented ‘Object Defy’ – an exhibition that saw 8 artists repurposing objects gifted to them by Settlement Projects and displayed over a weekend at Gayfield Creative Space. The artists visited Settlement Projects and selected items to work with, producing some fantastic sculptural pieces as an expression of how objects can be changed and manipulated.
At the opening, regulars from place+platforms small collective of creative supporters showed a variety of performances whilst visitors enjoyed a craft beer from a special limited edition batch made especially for the event.
Object Defy has since been moved onto St Margaret’s House as part of Ragged university’s ‘Mad World’ exhibition. Curated by Alexander Dunedin and featuring work from a diverse number of individuals and organisations, the exhibition invites visitors to question the idea of madness and what it is to be mad.
place+platform took the idea of the assumptions we all can make about people and state of mind and taped around each individual artists work, thus making a point of the boundaries of sanity and insanity, with each artist literally being sectioned, ‘put in a box’ and their work shown inside the space they were placed in. The various works also explored how the context of an object can be played with, and in this way it can become an “insane” object by being placed outside of its normal usage.
place+platform has worked with some amazing individuals and are excited and enthusiastic to continue working with artists and creatives to produce wonderful cross platform events. Everyone who has offered their support and been involved has given up their time, effort and energy to help create something very special within Edinburgh. place+platform intend to continue making this happen whenever and wherever they have the opportunity.