Edinburgh’s West End Character Project: major exhibition project launched

1st – 31st August, Coates Crescent (Shandwick Place) Edinburgh, free of charge

This August, Edinburgh’s West End will stage a brand new photography exhibition, the West End Character Project, featuring the people and places that shape Edinburgh’s West End.

Derek Anderson photographer has whittled down the selection of images to just 90

Photographer, Derek Anderson has visually documented the people who live, work and visit this colourful quarter of Scotland’s capital for almost a year. The result is 90 images which will form an on-street exhibition. This is a unique collection of striking images that gives the viewer a true insight into the character of this unique area of town. 

The West End Character Project was brought together in four parts : 

  • images which show the unique collection of businesses that operate in Edinburgh’s West End, as well as the personalities behind them; 
  • a visual documentary of the people who live in the area and shape  its character in their often  homes;
  • an exploration of the day-to-day goings-on in the area and the people who often frequent it; 
  • shots of the public taken in a pop-up studio set within some of the busiest areas of Edinburgh’s West End.
The Quinns

The resulting photographs are striking but can also be humorous representations of people, giving us an inkling into their personalities, interests and the West End. The images will be attached to large-scale outdoor structures on Coates Crescent, designed by Old School Fabrications, that will catch the eye of pedestrians and those passing through Shandwick Place.

Photographer Derek Anderson said: “This project has been my dream job in many ways: it’s brought together a unique group of people and allowed me behind the scenes access to some very special places.  With this in mind, the photographs could hardly fail to be characterful and the quirky nature shines through!”

Magnus Llewellin Editor – Scotland, The Times

Operations manager of Edinburgh’s West End BID, Sunil Varu, said: “The West End BID has been ambitious in creating an artistic project that is both surprising and challenging in bringing the West End community together. There is a genuine authenticity about the project that relates directly to expressing the “personality” of Edinburgh’s West End. Edinburgh’s West End is full of hidden gems, from special places to truly characterful people and businesses. This project has truly brought this to the fore and will, I hope, encourage people to explore the area in greater depth.”

Pop up studio

Derek Anderson was born and educated in Edinburgh. He has developed his love for documentary and street photography with previous community projects based in Leith and beyond.  He will bring a three-person team to a pop up studio throughout July, which will aim to capture images of the public visiting Edinburgh’s West End.  The studio will be quirkily dressed as a domestic room and will even contain a custom made lavatory upon which people can be photographed.

In addition to Edinburgh’s West End Character Project, new walking tours will be launched running daily from outside the Waldorf Astoria around the West End free of charge. These will run throughout August and will provide an insight into the history, happenings and characters of the area.   

​More information on Edinburgh’s West End Character Project can be found at

 Twitter: @EdinWestEnd_


Instagram: EdinWestEnd

Edinburgh attracts nearly 4 million visitors annually and has been the recipient of more than 12 UK best city awards in the last nine years alone.  But although Edinburgh is well known, one of the city’s most striking areas is still something of a secret to visitors and locals alike.  To address this, Edinburgh’s West End BID (Business Improvement District) was formed in 2015.  The objectives of Edinburgh’s West End BID are:

  • To increase footfall
  • To make the West End more vibrant, friendly and welcoming
  • To improve the look and feel of the West End
  • To promote the West End as a go-to destination
  • To diversify and expand leisure opportunities in the West End

Find out more by downloading Edinburgh’s West End BID business plan.