Southside Art Project wins £10,000 Grant

The Causey Development Trust is one of the first groups in the UK to receive a Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) All Our Stories grant. The Trust has will be working with Edinburgh based photographer Peter Dibdin, to deliver a photography-based art project designed to increase awareness and appreciation of the people and places that define Edinburgh’s Southside community.

All Our Stories, a brand new small grant programme, launched earlier this year in support of BBC Two’s The Great British Story – has been designed as an opportunity for everyone to explore, share and celebrate their local heritage.

The popular series presented by historian Michael Wood and supported by a programme of BBC Learning activities and events got thousands of us asking questions about our history and inspired us to look at our history in a different way through the eyes of ordinary people.   Southsiders: Portrait of a Community is one of hundreds of successful projects around the UK to receive a grant.

Southsiders: Portrait of a Community will use photography to help celebrate and discuss perceptions of the Southsider identity through portraits of people who live, work or have a specific connection to the area. A dedicated website will capture the full collection of portraits and stories online and the main focus of the project will be a temporary outdoor exhibition of selected portraits next year.

Photographer Peter Dibdin will be working with local people and community groups over the next few months to identify people to photograph. Peter says, “My search for people to photograph has already begun and I’d love to hear from anyone with suggestions of people and stories to include. The Southside has a distinct feel to it and yet there’s a real diversity of ethnic, religious and economic groups and an interesting mix of temporary and longer-term residents due to students, artists and young professionals being attracted to the area. Thanks to the Heritage Lottery Fund we have a great opportunity to uncover hidden or forgotten stories, but also to find out more about the familiar Southside faces we pass on the streets everyday.”

Set up in 2007 as The West Crosscauseway Association and renamed in 2011, the Causey Development Trust was originally formed to temporarily transform The Causey (a historic meeting place on the junction between Buccleuch St, Chapel St and West Crosscauseway, now an uninspiring traffic island) into a tropical island for the SIX CITIES Design Festival. Following that success, CDT has continued to pursue a permanent transformation of The Causey into a vibrant place for people and events by levelling the surface and adding distinctive lighting and paving.

Causey Development Trust Chairperson David Wood said, “Southsiders: Portrait of a Community is a great way to generate discussion about who the Southsiders are, and to increase interest and pride in this lively and distinct part of Edinburgh. By focusing on the personal stories of the diverse range of individuals who live and work in the area, this art project promises to be an engaging insight into our community. We’re looking forward to getting as many local people as possible involved and sharing our findings and stories with others. Thanks to the grant from the Heritage Lottery Fund we now have the majority of funding in place and we’ll be working hard to attract additional support for the project over the coming months.”

Share your ideas for people and stories by emailing 

Peter Dibdin, Photographer

Peter began taking photographs at the tender age of 14.  He studied Photography at Bournemouth and Poole college of art and design and gained an MSc in Electronic Imaging at Dundee’s Duncan of Jordanstone. Since then, he has followed a photographic path either working on community projects or as a creative and commercial photographer.

Peter’s commercial work includes clients as broad as Bacardi, Ernst and Young and the National Theatre of Scotland just to name a few, shooting a wide variety of subjects and situations. His personal passion for photography lies mainly with portraiture.  He has exhibited all over the world in various solo and group shows.  Peter currently lives in Edinburgh and has a studio at Summerhall, Edinburgh’s new arts quarter.

For examples of Peter’s work, including The Two Dorset men and The Causey itself, pictured above, please visit


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Suse Coon

Suse Coon started life training to be an architect but ended up as a fashion buyer then civil servant. After some time out to bring up her family of three, she returned to what had been a hobby and entered the field of freelance journalism. After becoming regional correspondent, then editor of the orienteering magazine CompassSport, she formed Pages Editorial & Publishing Services. In this guise, West Lothian Life was launched, while Suse maintained a level of freelancing and wrote the award winning children's novel Richard's Castle. In 1999, Suse bought over CompassSport and found her time taken up pretty well exclusively with the two magazines. In 2004, West Lothian Life was expanded to form Lothian Life, however, the workload was too great. In 2006, CompassSport was sold and Suse concentrated on the web version of Lothian Life. Her hobbies include gardening, orienteering, sea kayaking and Tai Chi.

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