Mark Stephen tells the story or the Craigmillar Festival Society and the group of young mothers who, in the 1960s, used the arts as the catalyst to transform their community.
Mark Stephen celebrates the Craigmillar Festival Society and the group of young mothers who, in the 1960s used the arts as the catalyst to transform one of Edinburgh’s most deprived housing estates revolutionising the face of community arts across the world.
The story of a young boy who wanted to learn how to play the violin is legendary in Craigmillar. In the early 1960’s, music wasn’t taught in the local area and when his mother asked the headmaster why, she was told that the school had enough trouble getting the children how to learn the 3 R’s. This made her furious, and so she got together with the mother’s club, and came up with the idea for festival. It ‘s aim was to showcase the talents of their children and to combat the stigma that had been built up in the area since the 1930’s. The festival was an instant success and by 1969, there were more than 18,000 local people involved in their annual people’s festival at Craigmillar Castle.
The mother’s name was Helen Crummy, the organizing secretary of the Craimillar Festival Society until 1985. Contributors include Helen Crummy’s son Andrew Crummy, the celebrated artist who carries on his mother’s legacy in his tapestries which include; the Prestonpans Tapestry, Great Tapestry of Scotland and Scottish Diaspora Tapestry.