In Focus for a Better Future

WIFIE (Women In Focus In Edinburgh)

In Focus for a Better Future has been created to coincide with the 26th United Nations Climate Change Conference, known as COP26. Following the 2015 Paris Agreement, this conference is probably the most important one to date and one where all nations need to move towards a greener more resilient future for us all.

This installation created by WIFIE members explores some of the issues and delights of our planet through the cardinal points and their associated elements. It also refers to the position of the Porty Lightbox, which is roughly on a North South axis.

Although there are various interpretations relating to the cardinal points and their connection to the elements, we selected those associated with ‘Pagan Sacred Directions’. This placed North & Earth together, South & Fire, East & Air and West & Water.

WIFIE is a women’s collective and a space for women to engage in and enjoy being creative through photography.  It also aims to raise awareness of the issues that members feel are important and there is nothing more important than raising our voices in support of a better future for the planet and the generations to come.

If you want to find out more about WIFIE and see other projects we have done please have a look at our website.

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Art Walk Porty 2021

Last weekend Art Walk Porty 2021 started. In preparation the phone box was cleaned, the glass polished and the outside given a coat of paint.

The installation this year is slightly unusual. It’s called PORT and whilst the installation itself is a series of maps, it really is a placeholder for something very different.

Four artists, Henna Asikainen, Louise Barrington, Elspeth Penfold, Stephanie Whitelaw


A synchronised walk taking place across four UK coastlines at the same time (Tankerton, Kent; Stromness, Orkney; Holy Island, Northumberland; and Portobello).

The walk in Portobello guided by Stephanie Whitelaw will be an invitation to touch, breathe, & play with the sea during low tide, whilst considering the other locations and our changing climates.

The walk will explore the shoreline towards Musselburgh, walking at a slow and engaged pace.

Porty Light Box exhibits mappings that thread together the four coastline locations.

Full details about the four locations and the artist-led walks available via

Walk: Sat 11th Sept, starting 10.30am Meet at Porty Light Box, Bellfield St Portobello

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Scottish Mental Health Arts Festival 2021.

The most recent installation in the phone box was part of the Scottish Mental Health Arts Festival which was held in May.

Once again MECOPP Gypsy/Traveller Carers Project were delighted to be involved in the Festival. This year’s artwork is an installation of poetry, collage, drawing and photography in the Porty Light Box in Portobello Edinburgh. Contributors this year include Katrina Stewart, Sharon MacKenzie and Lacey Morrison.

If you haven’t already had an opportunity to do so, please stop for a minute and have a look at the drawings and read the poetry.

The Scottish Mental Health Arts Festival has a wide ranging programme of events, both online and in the physical world, to see other entries from this years festival please go to

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A Celebration of Christmas

So as 2020 draws to a close, the final installation this year in the Porty Light Box is a Celebration of Christmas.

The local churches have been thinking about ways to celebrate Advent and Christmas in the community this year when it is most likely that the usual Christmas Eve services won’t be possible as we have known them in the past.

Currently, some Churches can only hold between 25-35 people at a time with social distancing, so Christmas Eve services will look quite different for many.  

This Celebration of Christmas is a collaboration between the churches of Portobello – the Baptist Church, St. Mark’s Scottish Episcopal church, St. John’s Roman Catholic church, and Portobello & Joppa church.  

The display includes photos of Advent and Christmas from previous years, and it is hoped to remind people in the community of that which many have experienced in normal circumstances and thus help to mark and celebrate this Christmas.

Merry Christmas and God’s blessing to you all – of all faiths and none. 

All churches have services throughout the Christmas period. See their websites for more information:

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Fired Earth

This gallery contains 4 photos.

Small enough to hold in one hand, strong enough to hold up a building. Durable enough to last many lifetimes, cheap enough to be available to all. The brick is a lesson in simplicity and efficiency. It also shows us … Continue reading

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Upon that night, when fairies light,
On Cassilis Downans dance,
Or owre the lays, in splendid blaze,
On sprightly coursers prance;
Or for Colean the rout is ta’en,
Beneath the moon’s pale beams;
There, up the Cove,to stray an’ rove,
Amang the rocks and streams
To sport that night

Robert Burns, 1785.

See here for the full poem:


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World Cerebral Palsy Day 6th October


World Cerebral Palsy Day is celebrated in 74 countries and this year the whole world will be lit green for the event.  From Australia to Poland, Germany to the United Kingdom, people with cerebral palsy, their friends and families have mobilised to turn their towns green on Sunday October 6.

Although it is the most common physical disability in childhood, cerebral palsy does not get the attention it deserves. With courage and determination, we can raise cerebral palsy to the forefront in 2019.

Tonight in Portobello, the Porty Light Box will be set to green to show our support.

For more information about Cerebal Palsy and to show support please visit

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Portobello Book Festival 2019

Today is the final day for this years Portobello Book Festival.   Hopefully some of you will have been able to enjoy the amazing variety of events on offer.

Portobello Book Festival 2019

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Let-up by Fi Bailey

Local artist Fi Bailey used the Porty Light Box for an installation during this years Art Walk Porty.

Part of my practice is rethinking everyday spaces, so I was interested in the position the Light Box holds as a community landmark. The disused phone box is a place where people continue to meet through habit, or by chance, on a busy corner of Portobello. The caller would face towards the beach, yet the box has no view of the sea. I wanted to learn about the connections people have had to the kiosk in its lifetime, as a both private and public space.

People shared similar stories; private calls in relationships no one knew about, relationships ending before the coins ran out, regularly calling 160 for dial-a-disc, and a lot of time queuing outside the box – usually to call for a lift from the Baths. Even those who didn’t recall the Bellfield Street box, shared a longing for telephone conversations before mobiles, back when everyone knew the number of the nearest public phone by heart. Some wanted to know if the telephone was still inside and still working, and if not – what did the box contain now? From this, I worked with the idea that the box had overgrown while out of use.

I began looking at ways of representing the absence with sculpted fabric, equal to the surface area of human skin, (1.8m2). All the materials I used were then coated in matching, patented, Currant Red paint. In the end the fabric provided little more than concealment – of the empty holes, cables, and a marked concrete floor – so I decided instead to lay it bare, letting the light in, and allowing passers-by to view from one side to the other. The alternative materials – balloons, paint, plaster and water – are fragile and will need replenished, any ruptures will be left in place so the view will change over the next fortnight.

The final arrangement is how I imagine the box might look if left uninterrupted; the white ceiling shifting and the red outer shell seeping through. Instead of decay, there’s a sense of renewal and the soft centre is left hovering, on the verge of a “pop”. It reflects the slower communication people yearn for, a pause in the middle of a conversation. Maybe it’s the moment before the landline would ring, when you had already sensed it would, and you knew who was calling before you picked up.

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A Portobello Year

Please make sure to check out the latest installation in the Porty Lightbox – “A Portobello Year” by local community photographer Jon Davey.   He’s captured some of the highlights and events of a year in Portobello – from the Loony Dook, the Burning of the Christmas Trees to the opening of Bellfield, Brass Blast and Divali.   See how many people and friends you recognise!

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