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Established in 1977, Stills was Scotland’s first gallery dedicated to photography. Photographic darkrooms and digital media production facilities were created with the relocation to Cockburn Street in 1997 while maintaining an international reputation for the quality of our exhibition programme and education activities.

In 2007, Stills was awarded a Capital equipment grant from the Scottish Arts Council, and underwent an extensive upgrade. We now offer suites of darkrooms and digital workstations with high-end peripherals such as a Hasselblad Flextight film scanner and an Espon Stylus 4800 A2 archival printer. Library and collaboration zone; Photo: Ailsa Boag

We have also established a dedicated video and sound-editing studio together with a comfortable communal area, which comprises a research library, with all the latest journals and magazines, free WI-FI Internet access, collaboration zones and a private meeting room, which can be booked through our new reception desk.

Digital teaching suite; Photo: Jethro Collins Production lies at the core of Stills’ remit and identity. Having been awarded the SAC Capital Equipment Grant has significantly raised the profile and quality of all our current projects while enabling new activities and furthering the cross pollination of all our communities.

Upgrading our equipment and facilities has enabled us to satisfy the needs of an ever evolving artistic practice and reinforced our position as a high quality artistic production, research and exhibition facility specialising in traditional / digital photography and new media.

Based in the centre of Edinburgh’s historic Old Town, Stills comprises:

  • state of the art photographic and digital media production facilities which facilitate the exploration and production of new ideas and artworks
  • a broad range of formal and informal creative activities for artists and the general public to develop their skills and experience learning and enjoyment of contemporary visual art
  • a gallery-based exhibition programme which demonstrates best practice within contemporary photographic and digital visual arts

Stills’ aim is to champion contemporary visual art as expressed through photographic and digital media, and to make visible all aspects of art making, keeping artists and their work at Stills’ core while communicating their ideas and the processes they use. Large format printer detail, digital teaching suite; Photo Jethro Collins

  • Stills’ Residencies programme, commissions, courses and session use enables artists to work on site within a specialised, supportive environment of critical and technical expertise.
  • Our Gallery and Focus Space exhibitions display the outcomes of artists’ works, whilst demonstrating the scope of our production facilities, and giving younger artists the opportunity to show alongside established figures.
  • Visitors are able to participate in activities as diverse as talks, performances and events, and are able to develop their practical skills through our digital and photographic courses for all ages.
  • The artistic programme is strengthened and extended through its wide range of education activities and audience development projects. Stills has a diverse and loyal audience and seeks to offer each visitor a high quality and richly rewarding experience.

In early 2007 our facilities underwent extensive refurbishment and now comprise:

  • Black & White and Colour chemical darkrooms
  • Specialist, high-end computers, scanners and printers
  • Dedicated video and sound editing facilities
  • Studio workspaces and training labs for individuals and groups
  • Equipment available to hire for off-site production
  • Research library, equipped with publications, computers and free wi-fi access to the internet

Library and collaboration zone: Photo: John Morrison

We aim to create an environment of intellectual participation, production and exchange, with an integrated programme of activities to stimulate and meet the needs of our diverse user interests and abilities.

We provide top of the range photographic and digital imaging facilities and expertise, commission the production of new work, present new works to illustrate artists practice and facilitate the exploration and navigation of these projects with dialogue and exchange through events, texts and publications.

We aim to nourish, catalyse and represent local activity and we do this by contextualising the production and outcomes of our programme within various contexts: we will ensure that our international practitioners build relationships with the institution and our publics, fully engaging with the layers of our dynamic research environment and thereby expanding opportunities for dialogue and exchange.

Pending developments will further integrate our research, production and display facilities in order to build a sustainable and flexible platform through which we will both perform as specialists and respond to our publics. Communal darkroom; Photo: Nicky Lawrence

All elements of our programme, from education initiatives to technical explorations and exhibitions will be planned to function as a whole, and our themes of enquiry will manifest themselves across a number of different formats, ensuring that there is maximum opportunity for cross-pollination.

At the earliest, we will consider how the public might engage with this practice and identify groups with relevant interests and appetite to work with artists, and our permanent and freelance staff with expert technical skills will facilitate production and exploration of the processes.

To guide and integrate our explorations in photography we will focus all elements of our programme around the examination of three core strands: the aesthetic; the social; the scientific.


The project was made possible with the help of an award of £100,000 from the Scottish Arts Council National Lottery Fund.  In 2007/08, revenue funding was provided by Scottish Arts Council (£120,000) and City of Edinburgh Council (£20,000). In addition, surplus income is also generated from Stills’ photographic and digital production facilities as well as sponsorship, donations and project specific grants.

Related links
* The City of Edinburgh Council
* Stills
* Visual Arts
Funded by the National Lottery through the Scottish Arts Council
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