Fall is a busy time for the Scottish capital’s cultural scene, with blockbuster exhibitions from some of the city’s finest galleries, museums and institutions.
Edinburgh might be modest in size, but its cultural output is far from it. Home to some of the country’s leading galleries and museums, as well as a treasure trove of independent institutions, the city is brimming with brilliant exhibitions. From the untold stories of early 20th century female photographers to 1960s crochet, there’s plenty to capture the imagination and stimulate curious minds. If you’re planning a trip to Edinburgh this fall, we’ve picked out ten of the best exhibitions to catch between now and November.
You are here 2022
A follow-up to the hugely successful exhibition of the same name in 2020, You Are Here 2022 offers an intimate insight into a year marked by political instability, war and a cost of living crisis. The Scottish National Portrait Gallery has invited the public to submit stories, portraits and other works that tell their experience of the past year. These submissions form the core of the display, alongside contemporary artworks from Scotland’s leading artists.
Scottish National Portrait Gallery/ On now
Knitwear: Chanel to Westwood
This major exhibition tells the inspirational – and surprising – story of 20th-century fashion knitwear for the first time. Featuring over 150 inspirational knitwear pieces from the collection of Mark and Cleo Butterfield, the show charts the influences of key designers, as well as movements such as Modernism, Pop, Punk and Deconstruction alongside newer knitwear technologies. Visitors are invited to ogle 1920s Chanel jersey, vintage woollen swimwear, post-war Hollywood-style knits, 1950s cocktail sweaters, 1960s crochet, 1970s Bill Gibb, 1980s Vivienne Westwood and 1990s Julien Macdonald.
Dovecot Studios/ From 15 October 2022
Respect! Caribbean Life in Edinburgh
This exciting exhibition celebrates the culture of Caribbean Scottish people through museum objects, poetry, music and film. Created in collaboration with the Edinburgh Caribbean Association, the exhibition explores what it means to be the Caribbean, the interrelated history of the Caribbean and Scotland, and how Caribbean food and music have influenced British culture. Items on display have been selected by members of the Edinburgh Caribbean Association and will be presented alongside a specially-created Caribbean music playlist.
Museum of Edinburgh/ From 16 October
A Taste for Impressionism, Royal Scottish Academy
How did Scotland become home to one of the greatest collections of impressionist and post-impressionist art? This exhibition promises to give you all the details. Highlights include world-famous paintings by Degas and Gauguin, seven works by Claude Monet, the full set of Matisse’s vibrant Jazz prints, and the incredible discovery of a lost Van Gogh portrait. The mysterious painting was only revealed by an x-ray taken when art conservators examined Van Gogh’s Head of a Peasant Woman of 1885 ahead of the exhibition.
Royal Scottish Academy/ On now
Glean: Early 20th-Century Women Filmmakers and Photographers in Scotland
This ground-breaking exhibition brings together for the first time ever the work of 14 pioneering female photographers and filmmakers from the early 20th century. Spanning a wide range of cities, communities and rural locations across the country, it promises to uncover untold stories drawn from both public and private collections. The exhibition explores the way their work relates to their better-known male contemporaries, their motivations and how these informed the works they created.
City Art Centre/ From 12 November
John Slavin: Land of the Ravens
This multiform and immersive exhibition features visual images, film animation, a musical soundtrack and live storytelling on a journey of narrative recreation, inspired by the international folk tale: Jack and the Two Ravens. Figurative artist John Slavin has created a series of paintings illustrating the 1979 recording of the folk story by the renowned storyteller Duncan Williamson of Argyll, further enhanced by musical interpretations from Jack Evans and members of the Harta music ensemble. The exhibition takes place, rather aptly, at the Storytelling Centre, which is dedicated to preserving and recounting Scotland’s greatest stories for future generations.
Storytelling Centre/ From 6 October 2022
Queer Edinburgh Exhibition
To celebrate Scotland’s Year of Stories, The Living Memory Association will showcase personal stories and memories from Edinburgh’s LGBTQ+ community. Captured through oral history interviews, the show promises to dive deep into the lives and places that have shaped the community and how their identities have shifted throughout the years. Accompanying the exhibition will be a podcast and digitally accessible map and walking trail.
The Living Memory Association/ From 14 October 2022
Anatomy: A Matter of Life or Death
In the early 19th century, demand for bodies for dissection outstripped supply and led to a disturbing increase in murders and grave robbing across the city. This new exhibition explores the impact, diving deeper into the relationship between crime and science during the period and comparing it with the beliefs and practices of today. Highlights include Arthur’s Seat Coffins – a collection of 17 tiny coffins – sketches from Leonardo da Vinci and a cage-like tomb placed over graves to deter robbers.
National Museum of Scotland/ On now
Ornamental Mythologies: Hannah Lim
Hannah Lim’s vibrant works have already caught the eye of audiences across the world, from New York to Milan. In her first solo exhibition, the emerging Singaporean-British artist engages with the colonial connotations of the relationship between the East and West by sharing, rather than appropriating, cultural designs. Of her show, she says: “I attempt to re-imagine and reclaim ideas and ideals associated with Chinoiserie”. The exhibition takes place in one of two light-filled galleries at Edinburgh Printmakers, a creative hub for printmaking and visual arts.
Edinburgh Printmakers/ On now
St Columba’s Hospice Care Annual Art Exhibition and Sale
Now in its third year, the annual St Columba’s Hospice Care Annual Art Exhibition showcases work from over 40 established and emerging artists. The week-long show encompasses paintings, sculptures and prints for viewing and sale to raise funds to provide palliative care for people with incurable illnesses and support their families. This year’s highlights include works by landscape painters David Hay, Claire Arbuthnott and Jannette Summer, figurative artist Catriona Miller, painter and printmaker Tim Cockburn, and works from the patients themselves.
St Columba’s Hospice Care/ From 8 October