I have worked in the arts for over 20 years, as a producer, programmer, facilitator, musician, writer, commissioning editor, PR consultant, and occasional theatre-maker, among other things. I grew up in Cumbria, in the north of England, but have lived in Scotland for the whole of my adult life. I now have two places I call home, Edinburgh and the Isle of Lewis, where I recently founded a new arts organisation, sruth-mara, with support from Creative Scotland and my local community.
I am currently arts lead for the Mental Health Foundation, supporting artists of various kinds who want to explore mental health issues, and programming new work for the annual Scottish Mental Health Arts Festival. My work for SMHAF includes commissioning and co-producing One Thinks of it All as a Dream by Alan Bissett, and developing Hysteria! (a theatre show and research project by Julia Taudevin) and I Am (a book created in partnership with the National Theatre of Scotland’s Adam World Choir). I have also supported the early development of Turntable by MJ McCarthy, Fisk by Tortoise in a Nutshell, and Amy Conway’s Super Awesome World, among numerous other projects. As part of the Mental Health Foundation’s year-round programme I have led on programming The Dust of Everyday Life, a popular annual conference on the arts and mental health, and Declaration, a festival about health and human rights, and produced gala shows and founded a new Mental Health Fringe Award at the Edinburgh festival.
Launching the tenth Scottish Mental Health Arts and Film Festival, September 2016. Photo: Eoin Carey
While this is my main job (apart from being a parent) I also freelance in various capacities; since 2014 I have worked with Take One Action!, HippFest, Imaginate, Luminate, the Touring Network, Fire Exit, Macrobert Arts Centre, Plutot la Vie, and the Work Room, among others.
Until the end of 2013 I was group arts editor for the Scotsman and Scotland on Sunday, where I worked for 13 years. I was previously arts editor for the Big Issue in Scotland. I continue to freelance for Scotsman Publications as Edinburgh festivals editor each summer, running the most comprehensive print coverage of the biggest arts festival in the world, producing the Scotsman Fringe Awards, the biggest awards ceremony at the Edinburgh Fringe, and overseeing the Scotsman’s world famous Fringe First new writing prizes.
While not doing all this I have released five albums as a musician (two as a member of Swimmer One, three as Seafieldroad), created a series of theatre installations at venues including the Arches and Summerhall, and co-founded and produced a ‘virtual festival’ for Edinburgh called (g)Host City (dreamed up by my wife Laura Cameron-Lewis). I was one of the core creative team (with Cora Bissett, David Greig and my Swimmer One bandmates) on award-winning multi-artform project Whatever Gets You Through The Night, and was later part of the creative team on David’s Edinburgh Fringe show and podcast All Back to Bowie’s.
Whatever Gets You Through The Night curtain call, 2012, with RM Hubbert, Ricky Ross, Withered Hand, and Emma Pollock
I mostly use the blog on this site for longer, more personal pieces of writing that I wouldn’t necessarily pitch to newspapers or magazines (although some have reached a wider audience via Bella Caledonia). If you’re looking for more typical examples of my published writing, just search for my name online and you’ll find loads (or go here for some links to my work for Scotsman Publications).
If you’d like to work with me, or just have a chat, get in touch.