Words With Anne

In this ‘Words With’ interview, we’re talking to Anne Gallacher, the Director of Luminate, Scotland’s creative ageing organisation…

What’s your connection to the Lothians?

My family moved from Glasgow to Edinburgh when I was three, so I was brought up here and it’s the place where I feel I have my roots.  I moved south for work in the 90s and was away for over 20 years – most of that time in Birmingham – but I came back to Edinburgh in 2012 for my current job with Luminate.  I really enjoyed living in Birmingham, but it was great to come home!

Have you a childhood memory of Edinburgh?

I have lots of childhood memories of Edinburgh and the Lothians, from Saturday morning children’s shows in the Ross Bandstand in Princes Street Gardens to queuing for ice cream at Luca’s in Musselburgh.  And I loved the dolls houses at the Museum of Childhood.  It was a great place to grow up!

Have you a favourite place to visit locally?

It’s hard to single one place out, but I think a visit to Jupiter Artland is hard to beat.  The sculptures are wonderful and the setting is beautiful and atmospheric.

How would you introduce us to your work?

I think everyone should have the chance to attend arts events or take part in creative activities if they want to, and my career has been driven by a commitment to make the arts accessible to everyone.  My current job with Luminate is no different except that our work focuses on older people.  We have an ageing population in Scotland but we know that older people take part in the arts less than younger people, and at Luminate we want to make sure that older people have the opportunity to take part in creative activities too.

Is there a typical day?  What does it involve?

There’s not really a typical day, and that’s one of the things I like about my job!  One day I might be sitting at my desk writing a funding application, and the next I could be visiting an older people’s care home to talk about a possible arts project or introducing a seminar for arts and care professionals about music and dementia.  At the moment, I’m starting to plan the programme for Luminate’s nationwide creative ageing festival in May 2019.

What’s your greatest achievement so far – personally or professionally?

Launching our first nationwide festival in 2012 was a huge achievement – we only had a few months to make the first festival happen and it was a great success!

 And when you’re not working? 

I have sung in choirs since I was in my teens, and I currently sing with the SCO Chorus.   I also run two or three times a week – I live in Bruntsfield and there can’t be many more beautiful city centre runs than the routes over the green spaces near my flat, from the Meadows to Arthur’s Seat.

For more information about Luminate, see:


Twitter: @LuminateScot

Facebook: LuminateScotland

Photo credit of Anne Gallacher and particpants: Eoin Carey.


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