"I thought it was a really dynamic event. One of the spectacular rare finds in the arts scenes, or at least The Old Tram Depot/Out Of The Blue. I was only able to get a small taster of the set up but the artistic hub was fantastic to witness. Painters and sculptors all hanging out and being so encouraging and receptive about other works, especially our "Fragility". A pleasure to be a teeny part of." Alistair Maxwell, Cast member of Fragility


Leith late is Leith's annual festival consisting of art,  live music, spoken word and even stalls along Leith walk. the event runs between the 23-26th of June and has been in operation for the past six years.
Official Leith Late Currency by Rabiya Choudhry
Though it is one of the smallest festivals in Edinburgh, it is also one of the most unique as it showcases Leith's diverse creative community, drawing a large crowd of not only fellow creatives, but also Edinburgh locals and tourists alike. This was my first time attending and hearing about Leith Late so I decided to attend as many events as I could during the festival.
Volunteer at Out of the Blue Drill Hall

The opening of the festival consisted of an evening art crawl with over 100 artists, performers and musicians participating in different venues along Leith walk. As I'm not the most handy person with a map and instead decided to try and spot anyone holding a Leith late map or venue sporting the logo, got lost a few times but it didn't take away any fun from the evening.
Some of the events I went to were in Elvis Shakespeare, a record shop which had in-store performers, The Creative show room, a retail shop and creative space, Out of the Blue Drill Hall which displayed Rabiya Choudhry's  work, ending my night by bumping into friends at Woodland Creature which had an open mic session with Hailey Beavis

Elvis Shakespeare

The following day consisted of a Panel talk at Out of the Blue Drill Hall where creatives talked about the Value of Art and Artist. The panel talked about how there is a lack of understanding about art unless it has an economic value to it. They also delved in deeper discussing how younger creatives are finding it harder to look for experience in the industry and how not only does the creative sector need more support from the government but also support from other creatives.
L-R Sorcha Carey: Edinburgh Arts Festival, Laura Doherty: Cultural Benefits Project, Alistair Gentry: Artist and Writer


I finished my festival fun with a little gander around the Art Mart which was also at Out of the Blue. it consisted of different artist selling and displaying their work from paintings to illustrations and even cassettes.

Out of the Blue Drill Hall Art Mart



"The Leith Late Festival is an array of many different mediums of art and a great platform to show what Scottish artists have to offer. Fun and interactive, you are able to come in and participate in performances, whats animations and projections and even touch and use animatronic sculptures. You are able to do this with a drink in your hands or even bring your children as the festival welcomes all to enjoy the arts and themselves in the process. A must see for for any Edinburgh resident or visitor of the City, featured throughout The Kingdom of Leith"- Gregor Campbell: Cast member of Fragility



Overall, I enjoyed the festival and I would definitely come back and encourage more people to go next year


"The Leith Late Festival has an array of different mediums of art and is a great platform to show what Scottish artists have to offer. Fun and interactive, you are able to come in and participate in performances, animations and projections and even touch and use animatronic sculptures. You are able to do this with a drink in your hands or even bring your children as the festival welcomes all to enjoy the arts and themselves in the process. A must see for for any Edinburgh resident or visitor of the City." Gregor Campbell, Cast Member of Fragility

More about Leith Late and for for more photos



During my recent trip back to Nairobi, Kenya over the summer holidays, I managed to convince my cousins to come with me to Pawa 254 Rooftop Sundowner event which happens every first friday of the month featuring different musical artists. I found out about this event by stumbling upon it on facebook


Jamilah Nassanga and Suzan Kerunen

left to right- Suzan Kerunen, Mukami Muthoga, Jamilah Nassanga, myself and Ron Irungu

Suzan Kerunen


On this night, was Ugandan based world singer and songwriter Suzan Kerunen who not only sings in English but also in Alur-Jonam and Swahili. it was definitely one of the high points of my short trip as not only did she have a striking presence on stage but she is also a lovely person to meet.

For those who may not know what Pawa 254 is, it is a creative space where creatives can meet, network and collaborate on upcoming project. They also host an array of events from arts to music showcasing Nairobi's diverse creative community. If you live in Nairobi or just visiting, I recommend attending one of their events as I will on my future trips.
International Conference: Ending Female Genital...
Eventbrite official ticket picture

On the third of September, Nottingham Trent University played host to the Mojatu Ending Female Genital Mutilation (FGM) Together international conference. Bringing together many influential international delegates. The conference focused on how FGM plays a major role as a right of passage ceremony for many young girls in many African and Asian cultures and how this cultural practice is not only damaging emotionally to a young girl but also physically scaring. Though I knew little about FGM. This conference gave me more knowledge of how girls as young as eight undergo this practice not only for social standing, as a girl who has undergone FGM is a more likely candidate to get married, but also as a way to control a girl’s sexuality.

Many of the influential speakers included Valentine Nkoyo, Director of the Mojatu Foundation and Chair of Nottingham Community FGM steering Group of Maasai origin and Hana Gibremedhen of Ethopian origin. Both underwent FGM at a young age and are living with the consequences of this dangerous practice until today and are now at the fore front as activist campaigning to bring an end to FGM.

During the conference, I attended the Language, Arts and Culture workshop which was headed by Dr. Adebayo Adebisi. In this, I learned that FGM is used as a status symbol. For example, in countries such as Sierra Leone in the Bundu society, the deeper the cut the higher in society the woman.

Another speaker during the workshop was Joyce Wambura of the Kuria people of Kenya. She talked about Challenging FGM Practices in Kenya using Language. She explained that amongst the Abakuria people the songs that they sing during an FGM ceremony describe the girl and soon-to-be-woman as a rock, the sun or other positive adjectives and for those women who are uncircumcised, they would be bestowed negative adjectives. She talked about how we should find a way to replace the circumcision of girls with a much safer alternative to mark a girl coming into womanhood.
It saddens me that in this day and age, a girl’s sexuality is being controlled from such a young and vulnerable age and that it is not only circumcision that is used to control her sexuality. Not only that but that circumcision is used to increase a girl’s value in society when it comes to finding her a husband.

This conference really highlighted to me how important we should raise the issue on FGM and focus more on women’s rights.
It is not only women who should be at the fore front of these campaign but men as well as they are the leaders of the tribes that participate in FGM. By making them understand that this practice is harming their daughters, nieces or cousins it will hopefully bring an end to this horrid and dangerous practice.

Thank you to KWiSA (Kenyan Women in Scotland Association) and The Scottish Refugee Council for giving me this opportunity to go down to Nottingham.

Wacera Kamonji


Links


KWiSA

Kenyan Women in Scotland Association, c/o NIDOS, Thorn&House, 5 Rose St, Edinburgh EH2 2PR
Tel:+447599930344 Email:kenyanwomeninscotland@gmail.com
As someone who loves her food, I am always puzzled as to how people know its "National food day" until it blows up on either twitter or instagram. I didn't know so many days were dedicated to food until Andrea Bacinska, the Community Manager at Zomato Edinburgh, decided to take matters in her own hands and create a calender celebrating national food days in the UK. So for all you food lovers out there there is no excuse on missing out on important food days.
Foodie from a young age

Big shout out to Andrea for creating this very handy calender.




At only eighteen years old, singer/songwriter and musician Duncan Grant has a musical talent beyond his years. From performing at his school to small venues in Edinburgh, he manages to draw a crowd wherever he performs. Specialising his musical talent to Rock 'n' Roll and the Blues, he tries to strip his music style to its raw form while adding a modern twist. Stating that "Though it is a challenge to break into a connected world of managers, musicians and organisers, this doesn't stop me from practicing in my room"


 "Though it is a challenge to break into a connected world of managers, musicians and organisers, this doesn't stop me from practicing in my room"
Over the summer, Duncan has gone from practicing in his room to having a busy summer playing various small shows during this year's Edinburgh Fringe festival and the Metropolitan fashion show and has even taken his musical talents and ventured down to London to study Popular Music and Performance at the British and Irish Modern Music Institute (BIMM) over the next 3 years. This bundle of talent is a force to be reckoned with so watch out London!!

Links
Facebook: www.facebook.com/duncanmusicgrant?fref=ts
Twitter:@DuncanGrant01
YT: www.youtube.com/channel/UC53SJGYypBi9WDVk6DntedQ
Photoshoot location: Biscuit Factory in Edinburgh