Earlier today Edinburgh’s Lord Provost, The Rt Hon Donald Wilson, declared the brand new totem pole at Wester Hailes well and truly open for business. But what exactly is it there to do? Well, the totem pole is covered in QR codes. These Quick Response codes are recognisable by smart phones, or mobile devices with a camera, and can then direct the phone (or iPad) user to a specific place on the web to impart news to them. The QR codes are intended for use by passers-by to enable them to access information about the area they are standing in.

In our video you can listen to Alison Reeves from WHALE Arts Agency explain the background to this project. Alison Reeves is the Creative Director at the community arts organisation, WHALE Arts Agency which is situated in Wester Hailes and where a lot of the preparatory work for the totem pole has been carried out.

The totem pole will be another way of communicating social history stories to anyone out for a walk in the area, who might already be using the pocket sized booklet outlining short local history walks which have been designed by Wester Hailes Health Agency. That booklet also uses QR codes to tell you more about where you are walking, and you can leave your comments by text audio or video on the Tales of Things website, or you may download their app.   The social history of the area is also regularly reported on the From Here to There blog which is run by Prospect Community Housing who manage some of the rented houses in the area, and uses some of the content from the old Sentinel too.

You can add your own thoughts here to the Digital Sentinel website as to what you might like to see when you scan one of the codes, but you can only access the community noticeboard by scanning one of the QR codes on the totem pole.