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Edinburgh World Heritage/Our Heritage/Between Urbanisation and Conservation: an Edinburgh perspective

Between Urbanisation and Conservation: an Edinburgh perspective

Thomas Feige

3rd November 2019

Thomas Feige

Edinburgh-based photographer Thomas Feige has begun a photography project that will look at the relationship between Edinburgh’s historic buildings and infrastructure, and new developments.


Edinburgh has a unique diversity of ancient and modern buildings. Its green spaces are well-loved and well-used, and questions over the protection of these assets are often at the heart of decisions to create new infrastructure. This backdrop provides a unique canvas to showcase the changes the city has seen throughout the ages, but also raises issues about the relationship between the conservation of the old and the development of the new.

Many citizens care deeply about local issues and their community, and feel a strong sense of connection to their neighbourhood. New builds often try to justify their existence by placing themselves within the identity of a particular place. The aim of this project is to capture that tension between the old and the new.

I am not only interested capturing buildings and their architecture, but also how residents interact with their local environment, and, in particular. green spaces. One of Edinburgh’s unique qualities is the presence of many public and private gardens, and we know how important these are for our health and wellbeing. How do residents and visitors engage with these spaces?

My inspiration for this project began with this photograph taken from Calton Hill.

At the forefront, the spire of Greenside Parish Church (1839), a little behind the industrial chimney of Bridgeside Works with trees dotted about, and in the background a modern telecommunications tower on the Fife coastline. I see in this picture the expansion of the city throughout distinctive eras, the variety of materials that were used for construction during those times and overall a reflection of the kind of transformation Edinburgh has known. The result is a picture full of contrasts, but that displays the city’s identity as modern and forward-looking, but still rooted in its history.

It’s also important to me for this project to have wider aims – throughout the next 5 months I will be recording the creative process and the inspiration behind these pictures. I hope that this can generate debate around questions of conservation and identity, for those living in Edinburgh but perhaps also further afield.

I also hope to encourage other creators in Scotland to pursue their artistic development. I am not a photographer by training, but it is a passion that has developed over many years and one I was keen to use for an ambitious project. I look forward to getting started on this project and having discussions on issues of conservation with citizens, Edinburgh World Heritage of course, and other stakeholders.

– Thomas Feige (November 2019)


Website: iscotlanda.com

Instagram @iscotlanda

Between Urbanisaton and Conservation will take place over 5 months and is supported by funding from the National Lottery, delivered by Creative Scotland.