A is for Abbeyhill

Magnus and Joyey Abbeyhill

A is for Abbeyhill – a durational public art project set on the grounds of a purpose-built Victorian school at the city centre of Edinburgh. Delivered through a curated artists-in-residence programme, A is for Abbeyhill aims to ensure that all children are entitled to quality cultural learning and meaningful access to contemporary visual and performing arts.

Scroll below to find out how and why A is for Abbeyhill orginated

In January 2023 we launched the new C is for Ceilidh Club run by our first traditional dance artist-in-residence Caroline Brockbank, in partnership with Traditional Dance Forum of Scotland and University of Edinburgh. Further details: linktr.ee/AisforAbbeyhill

In the autumn of 2022, we held a Colony of Artists Garden pARTy at Abbeyhill Primary School playground on 16 September 2022 – an afternoon of dance, music, murals, films, art, a pop-up cafe and pure joy – free and open to all. View our flyer below and, if on Facebook, our Facebook Event here

A is for Abbeyhill is based at Abbeyhill Primary School – the only publicly funded primary school in Scotland and the only one out of 85 such schools in Edinburgh with an innovative curated programme of professional artists-in-residence, spreading the wonder of contemporary expressive arts in and outside the classroom to every pupil aged 3 to 12 years. Committed to innovation, the school strives to provide a varied, flexible, stimulating and vibrant national curriculum complimented by its curated programme of professional artists-in-residence that every year engages its 200+ pupils from Nursery to Primary 7.

Since its inception in 2013 the artists-in-residence programme initiated and led by the curator-in-residence Iliyana Nedkova has been integrated in the Curriculum for Excellence at the school. The programme has been curated in collaboration with the annual Colony of Artists community art festival. For the last 10 years A is for Abbeyhill has brought over 50 resident artists to the school supported by over 30 project partners and funders. READ MORE

Whereas previously the art pedagogy at publicly-funded primary school level was delivered by non-arts-trained class teachers, the innovative artists-in-residence programme at Abbeyhill Primary School, enables this delivery to be led and aided by professional contemporary curators and artists. This presents opportunities and challenges for primary schools and independent curators around Scotland and beyond on how to adopt artists-in-residence programmes and curatorial tools such as A is for Abbeyhill, and the potential for making them sustainable at scale beyond the boundaries of Abbeyhill Primary School and Colony of Artists festival.

Iliyana Nedkova

Keep up with all news and stories via the Artists-in-Residence at Abbeyhill Primary School online publication here and the dedicated Facebook page here

Save the date for the premiere of the current artists-in-residence projects as part of this year’s Colony of Artists festival: 17-18 September 2022

See some of the recent highlights from 2021 and 2020 below and browse through the entire archive in our dedicated online publication here


Windows, Screens and Greens was the festival exhibition of the projects and events by the artists-in-residence at Abbeyhill Primary School during the academic year 2020/21, including Dave Pratt, Sylwia Kowalczyk, Romy Danielewicz, Heather Rikic and Citadel Arts Group. They were joined by special guest-artists Caroline Brockbank and Bernie Hewitt as part of the 16th annual Colony of Artists Festival, 18-19 September 2021 READ MORE

Head over to the special Colony of Artists 2021 webpage here for further details about The Aliens – this brand new theatre play by Citadel Arts Group – the resident theatre makers at Abbeyhill Primary School since 2017.
Holyrood Park Parade Ground – the green playground at the school doorstep provided the dance floor for the first Colony of Artists family ceilidh. Find out more on the Colony of Artists 2021 webpage here


Help us take up to the skies with Dave Pratt and James Tytler READ MORE

The story of Dave Pratt’s artist residency featuring hot air balloons and much more READ MORE


Looking for some active family fun? Join the new self-led cycle and walking routes created by RSPB Scotland and visit our swifts-in-residence at the school and Colony of Artists as part of the #SwiftHubs and #SwiftMurals along the way! FIND OUT MORE


Windows and Screens was the not only the title of the exhibition of 20 works by 25 resident artists as part of Colony of Artists The Garden Party Festival 19-20 September 2020. Windows and Screens were also the two new exhibition platforms – the school windows and the screens at our festival guests’ fingertips that the artists took over amids the COVID-19 pandemic when opening the doors of Abeyhill Primary School as one of the exhibition venues of the Colony of Artists festival was neither safe nor responsible. AT A GLANCE

Windows and Screens featured projects by the artists-in-residence Anna Danielewicz, Sylwia Kowalczyk, Zu Dominiak, Morna Pearson, Alan Mountford, Eleanor Robertson, Jan Bee Brown, Russell McLarty, Vlad Hasiu, Theresa Pickles, Rodney Relax and Leighann Dudley | READ MORE

POLSKI – highlights of Polish artsits-in-residence projects | WATCH PREVIEW

OUR HOLYROOD PARK – free map app featuring binaural audio plays | DOWNLOAD COMING SOON


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