Talks & Workshops

Welcome to ESAF’s Talks and Workshops programme, an opportunity to get practical, inspired and engaged with our creative community. There’s something here for everyone! Fine-tune your creative discipline, or throw caution to the winds (highly recommended) and try something brand new.

Peek inside some of Edinburgh’s top creative establishments with our weekly Behind the Scenes programme; Engage in our Questioning Creativity series discussing what it means to be a creative here and now; Bunker down to some serious practicalities in our Own Your Craft sessions; and expand your creative intellect within Creative Breathing Space, it’ll catch you off guard.

We’re popping up across Edinburgh for the duration of the festival, come and join us.

Don't forget to swing by our Creative Partner Series page, where you can spy full listing of our collaborative events with the likes of Edinburgh Printmakers, Lyon & Turnbull, Hill Street Design House and many more!

Disappearing Narratives 

Peter Morphew & Jaleesa Wells
2 PM, Fri 3 March, City Art Centre (2 hours)

This pop-up event explores how business archives and documents once created for the purposes of business dealings, and now housed for longevity, might be reinterpreted and reactivated to create alternative narratives. Where a researcher sees this archival information as data, an artist might see it as a creative resource. Our question explores how information can take on different identities when it's used for other contextual purposes; in this case through a performative and participatory erasure poem exercise.

Free (ticketed)

Real Talk Storytelling Session (Parts 1 & 2)

Real Talk Storytelling
12.30 PM, Fri 10 Feb & Sat 11 Feb, Scottish Storytelling Centre, Library (2.5 hours)

The relationship between creativity and mental health has long been discussed. If you are interested in exploring aspects of mental health through the medium of storytelling with support from a professional storyteller in a safe space, join us as one of our speakers for this special ESAF Real Talk Storytelling experience. You will receive two story-crafting workshops and our journey together will culminate in an intimate performance. 

Workshop sessions in preparation for a performance on Sun 19 Feb. More information below.

Please reach out to if you have any questions or if you'd like a one pager that details the process.

Free (ticketed)


Real Talk Storytelling

8:30 PM, Sunday 19th February, Scottish Storytelling Centre, Court (2 hours)

Audience £5/ £3

It's time for some Real Talk, are you ready to listen? Come along for real stories from real people about one of our most beautiful assets, our minds! We aim to cultivate connection and compassion through conversation about mental ill health. Run by Real Talk mental health storytelling initiative.


Embodiment: unfolding to the lost art form of Presence

Valentine Reltien
10 AM, Sat 11 Feb & Sun 19 Feb, Scottish Storytelling Centre, Court (1.5 hours)

Creation in virtue of Being vs Doing wholeheartedly observing breath & movement to make space for visceral Wisdom.

Flowing on an original sequence of yoga Asana to light up unusual sensations. Rooted in play and unprejudiced enjoyment. Impress your unique, physical realisation on a canvas of body and breath. Please bring your own mat.

£5/£3 (suggested donation)

An Introduction to Intellectual Property for Creatives

Allan Page-Duffy
2 PM, Sun 12 Feb, Scottish Storytelling Centre, Library (1 hour)

A brief introduction to the concepts of Intellectual Property and why they are relevant to your work. From understanding the different types of Intellectual Property rights, to the mechanisms you need to put in place to protect yourself; this workshop should leave you feeling confident with how the law can work for you. Run by Alan Page-Duffy, Director of Projects at Pop Up! Scotland.

Free (ticketed)

Music with Poetry

Catherine Wilson
12 PM, Scottish Storytelling Centre, Netherbow Theatre (3 hours)

Are you a musician or writer? Want to do something new with your work?

For the first time, local poet and organiser Catherine Wilson will be leading a workshop on how to blend the two art-forms and help you make a brand new piece!

Just bring some of your writing, or your trusty instrument and you'll get some handy tips on writing and rhythm and how to perform your words! Musicians will learn how to perform something beautiful that doesn't distract from the words.

£3 (suggested donation)

Where Do I Begin? – Producing Your Own Work

Shai Mohamad
10.30 AM, Sun 12 Feb, Scottish Storytelling Centre, Library (3 hours inclusive of a 30 minute 1-on-1/small group consultation)

Are you an early-stage career/emerging artist who wants to stage your own work but not quite sure how to get started? Come meet Shai (Mohamad Shaifulbahri), Producer of Bhumi Collective and MA in Creative Producing alumnus of Royal Central School of Speech and Drama. He'll share some tips about producing your own work, drawing from experiences in Singapore and the UK, including being a first-time Edinburgh Fringe producer.


Interrobang - But Is That Art?! 

7 PM, Sat 18 Feb, Biscuit Factory (2 hours)

Exploring the idea of how words fit (or don't fit?) within the definition of modern art, and if, indeed, that is a definable term. As the boundaries of art become ever more fluid, Interrobang strives to be heard from the realm of storytelling. Interrobang is a new, Edinburgh based spoken word night with a slightly different flavour. Think democratic spoken word & music and meritocratic prizes, somewhere on the boundaries between question and exclamation and all the nuances in between.

£5/£3 (suggested donation)

Stitched Up!

Gabby O'Driscoll
2 PM, Sat 18 Feb, Trinity Apse (2 hours)

Would you like to get creative with fabrics? Then come along to Stitched Up! - where you can try your hand at silk painting, embroidering and much more. Start learning to manipulate fabric like an expert at this fun and exciting workshop for all ages and all abilities. Materials provided.

For any queries and a friendly response, email Gabby at

£10 (Full Price) / £8 (Concessions)

Make Your Own Sketchbook: Marbling and Bookbinding

EU Design Society
10 AM, Sun 19 Feb, Trinity Apse (3 hours)

Create fun and striking marbling designs, then bind them together to create your own sketchbook. You’ll leave with your own handmade A5 sketchbook as well as a selection of marbled practice papers. There will be a variety of book binding methods available to learn. Materials provided. You must book by the 12 February 2017.

£15 (Full price) / £12 (Concessions)

Narrative Illustration: Reshape Reality

Borris Lee
2 PM, Sun 19 Feb, Trinity Apse (2 hours)

The world is different when we change our viewpoints, and these various viewpoints create stories. In this workshop we'll change the way we see, play with and visualise our imaginations. Come and show what your world looks like, and travel to other people's fantasy world. Don't worry about the drawing skills, because we are all born artists! Papers, colour pencils, oil pastels, felt-tip pens and pencils are provided, welcome to bring your own materials.

£5 (Full price) / £3 (Concessions)

The Trick Theory

Nicol Guerra
7 PM, Thurs 23 Feb, Custom Lane (1 hour) Talk/Performance

Human Memory is fragile. Neurons involved in memory storage and recalling, intertwine continuously with emotions. Emotion deeply affect neurons. This cause brain fog and can even provoke what is called Wet Cornea. As a result brain works slower. What we do is simply storing memory in a safe area, where it cannot be corrupted by psychological health, ageing or emotions. The information will remain objective.The result is a faster and more performative brain, thus a greater human being.

Free (ticketed)

Kick Back and Stitch!

Amy Jackson
11 AM, Sat 25 Feb, City Art Centre (2 hours)

A workshop for those who like to learn a little more about embroidery, or just to kick back and stitch!Includes introductions to stitch techniques, and you'll leave with your own personal design, drawn using stitch! Embroidery hoops (not mandatory) will be provided for the workshop but there is a limited supply, so if you have your own, please bring along! All other materials provided.

£5 (Full price) / £3 (Concessions)

Clay Printing

EU Design Society
1 PM, Sat 25 Feb, Trinity Apse (3 hours)

This art/design workshop will use 3D clay sculpting techniques to explore pattern making possibilities. Participants will cut through clay with different techniques to create textures through the clay, before inking up the ‘plates’ and printing onto paper with them. Materials provided. Places must be booked by 17 February 2017.

£15 (Full price) / £12 (Concessions)