Edinburgh Art Festival, Citadel Arts Group and Port of Leith Housing Association book launch of Women at Work: Stories and Memories from the Women of Leith

Some of the tenants of Port of Leith Housing Association have created a new book with memories of their working lives.

The stories in the book have been shared by 11 women who have lived in Leith for most of their lives. They are written in their own words and show how Leith itself has changed over the years.

Women at Work has been created in a partnership with Edinburgh Art Festival and Citadel Arts Group along with graphic designer Rumana Sayed.

It was the Edinburgh Art Festival who co-commissioned the Dazzle Ship which has been on display in Leith Docks until today.

A series of workshops after the installation of MV Fingal helped the memories to be shared and then edited for the book.

The book was launched at a recent event attended by all involved and pupils from the local Gaelic school Taobh na Pàirce who presented each of the women with a piece of art inspired by their story.

Norah McKenna, one of the women involved in the Women at Work project, said: “It was a wonderful experience to be involved in the Living Memories project. The other ladies and I greatly enjoyed getting together to share our memories with one another.

“Looking back over the years, I was reminded of all the ways Leith has changed since I was young, and it is lovely to think that I and the other ladies were a part of it.”


Sorcha Carey, Director of Edinburgh Art Festival, said: “We are delighted to have been able to work with so many project partners to bring Dazzle Ship Scotland to life. Working with local people of all ages has been key to the project, and a critical part of Edinburgh Art Festival’s year-round learning and engagement programme.

“In calling her artwork for the Dazzle Ship, Every Woman, Ciara Phillips wanted to remind us of the unsung contributions of women to the First World War and throughout history – the stories of the women of Leith that are collected together in ‘Women at Work’ makes an incredibly fitting tribute and a wonderful addition to the legacy of the Dazzle Ship in Leith.”

Joyce Cuthbert, Housing Manager at PoLHA said: “It was great to welcome all the Women at Work collaborators back to Jameson Place to celebrate the launch of this collection of fascinating, first-hand, stories about the working lives of women in Leith.

“I’d like to thank all the residents and staff who have contributed to the creation of this book, which will serve as a fantastic celebration of Leith, its residents past and future and the wider community.”

Photos Greg Macvean t 07971 826 457